Theses Doctoral

Bakhtin and Nabokov: The Dialogue that Never Was.

Picon, Francisco Javier

Although nothing in either the theorist’s or the author’s oeuvre indicates one’s direct awareness of the other, Bakhtin and Nabokov both displayed a surprisingly similar concern for the interrelationship between ethics and literary aesthetics. This shared concern was no doubt shaped by Bakhtin and Nabokov’s common Silver Age background, which was rife with political, artistic and theological discourses regarding the nature of artistic creation, the created nature of man, and man’s ability to continue the process of self-creation. Both Bakhtin and Nabokov thus elaborated on the ethical dynamic between self and other within a commonly held, deeply aestheticized view of life that regards perception and representation of the other as the artistic creation of that other. Bakhtin and Nabokov’s conceptual parallel is further extended by the fact that both of their elaborations of this dynamic are specific responses to the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky. The purpose of this dissertation is, then, to explore further the conceptual convergences and antagonisms inherent in the seemingly similar aestheticized ethics of Bakhtin and Nabokov. Particular attention is paid to the author and theorist’s intellectual influences, especially with regards to Nabokov, since only a proper intellectual contextualization of Bakhtin and Nabokov’s allusively language will allow us a meaningful interpretation of their accounts of aesthetics and ethics.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Slavic Languages
Thesis Advisors
Gasparov, Boris
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 29, 2015