Yuri Mikhailovich Lotman was a prominent literary scholar and cultural historian, who worked at the University of Tartu. He was a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, he was the founder of the Tartu–Moscow Semiotic School. The number of his printed works exceeds 800 titles, his archive which includes his correspondence with a number of Russian intellectuals, is immense. Yuri Lotman was born in the Jewish intellectual family of lawyer Mikhail Lotman and Sorbonne-educated dentist Aleksandra Lotman in Petrograd, Russia, his elder sister Inna Obraztsova graduated from Leningrad Conservatory and became a composer and lecturer of musical theory, his younger sister Victoria Lotman was a prominent cardiologist, his third sister Lidia Lotman was a scholar of Russian literature of the second half of the 19th century on staff at the Institute for Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Science. Lotman graduated from secondary school in 1939 with excellent marks and was admitted to Leningrad State University without having to pass any exams.
There he studied philology, a choice he made due to Lidia Lotman's university friends. His professors at university were the renowned lecturers and academicians – Gukovsky, Azadovsky and Propp, he was drafted during World War II served as a radio operator in the artillery. Demobilized from the army in 1946, he returned to his studies in the university and received his diploma with distinction in 1950, his first published research papers focused on Russian literary and social thought of the 18th and 19th century. Unable to find an academic position in Leningrad due to anti-Semitism, Lotman went to Estonia in 1950 and from 1954 began his work as a lecturer at the Department of Russian language and literature of Tartu University and became head of the department. In the early'60s Lotman established academic contacts with a group of structuralist linguists in Moscow, invited them in the first Summer School on Secondary Modeling Systems, that took place in Kääriku from 19th to 29 August 1964; the group gathered at the first summer school developed into what is now known as the Tartu–Moscow Semiotic School.
Among participants of the summer school, members of the Tartu–Moscow school, were such names as Boris Uspensky, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Vladimir Toporov, Mikhail Gasparov, Alexander Piatigorsky, Isaak I. Revzin and Georgii Lesskis; as a result of their collective work, they established a theoretical framework around the semiotics of culture. This school is known for its journal Sign Systems Studies, published by Tartu University Press and the oldest semiotics journal in the world. Lotman studied the theory of culture, Russian literature, history and semiology, semiotics of cinema, literature, etc. In these fields, Lotman has been one of the most cited authors, his major study in Russian literature was dedicated to Pushkin. In 1984, Lotman coined the term semiosphere. In 1991 he received the Gold Medal of the highest award for a philological scholar. Yuri Lotman's wife Zara Mints was a well-known scholar of Russian literature and Tartu professor, they have three sons: Mihhail Lotman is professor of semiotics and literary theory at Tallinn University, is active in politics and has served as a member of the Riigikogu as a member of the conservative Res Publica Party.
Grigori Lotman is an artist. Aleksei Lotman is a biologist, since 2006 he has been a politician and a member of parliament for the Estonian Greens party. 1975. Lotman Jurij M.. A.. V.. N. and Pjatigorskij, A. M. 1975. "Theses on the Semiotic Study of Cultures". In: Sebeok Thomas A; the Tell-Tale Sign: A Survey of Semiotics. Lisse: Peter de Ridder, 57–84. ISBN 978-90-316-0030-4 1976. Analysis of the Poetic Text. Ann Arbor: Ardis. ISBN 978-0-88233-106-5 1976. "The content and structure of the concept of "literature". PTL: A Journal for Descriptive Poetics and Theory of Literature 1: 339-356. 1976. Semiotics of Cinema. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, Семиотика кино и проблемы киноэстетики ISBN 978-0-930042-13-4 1977; the Structure of the Artistic Text. Translated from the Russian by Gail Lenhoff and Ronald Vroon. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. ISBN 978-0-930042-15-8 1979. "The origin of plot in the light of typology". Poetics Today 1, 161–184. 1990. Universe of the Mind: A Semiotic Theory of Culture.
London & New York: I. B. Tauris & Co Ltd. xiii+288 p. ISBN 978-1-85043-375-0 2005. "On the semiosphere". Sign Systems Studies, 33: 205–229. 2009. Culture and Explosion. Translated by Wilma Clark, edited by Marina Grishakova. De Gruyter Mouton. ISBN 978-3-11-021845-9 2014. Non-Memoirs. Translated and annotated by Caroline Le
Vyacheslav Ivanov (philologist)
Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov was a prominent Soviet/Russian philologist and Indo-Europeanist best known for his glottalic theory of Indo-European consonantism and for placing the Indo-European urheimat in the area of the Armenian Highlands and Lake Urmia. Vyacheslav Ivanov's father was Vsevolod one of the most prominent Soviet writers, his mother was an actress. His childhood was clouded by disease and war in Tashkent. Ivanov was educated at Moscow University and worked there until 1958, when he was fired on account of his sympathy with Boris Pasternak and Roman Jakobson. By that time, he had made some important contributions to Indo-European studies and became one of the leading authorities on Hittite language. 1959–1961 — head of the Research Group for Machine Translation at the Institute of ComputerTechnology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow 1963–1989 — head of the Structural Typology Sector of the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow 1989–1993 — director of the All-Union Library of Foreign Literature in Moscow 1989–1995 — chair of the Department of Theory and History of World Culture of the Philosophical Faculty of Moscow State University 1992–2017 — founding director of Moscow State University's Institute of World Culture 2003–2017 — founding director of the Russian Anthropological School at the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow from November 1991 — professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Program of Indo-European Studies at University of California — Los Angeles.
In 1989 he was elected to the Supreme Soviet of Russia, but left for the United States soon thereafter. During the early 1960s, Ivanov was one of the first Soviet scholars to take a keen interest in the development of semiotics, he worked with Vladimir Toporov including an outline of Sanskrit. In 1962 he joined Juri Lotman in establishing the Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School. In the 1980s Ivanov worked with Tamaz Gamkrelidze on a new theory of Indo-European migrations, most advocated by them in Indo-European and Indo-Europeans. In 1965 Vyacheslav Ivanov edited, wrote extensive scholarly comments, published the first Russian edition of unpublished "Psychology of Art" by Lev Vygotsky; the second and corrected edition of the book came out in 1968 and included another Vygotsky's unpublished work, his treatise on Shakespeare's Hamlet. The first edition of the book was subsequently translated into English by Scripta Technica Inc. and released by MIT Press in 1971. Apart from his scholarly pursuits, Vyacheslav Ivanov wrote poetry.
He published several books of memoirs, including two on his acquaintances with Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova. Sanskrit. Moscow: Nauka Pub. House, Central Dept. of Oriental Literature, 1968. Borozdy i mezhi. Letchworth: Bradda Books, 1971. 351 p. with Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze, Indoevropjskij jazyk i indoevropejcy: Rekonstrukcija i istoriko-tipologieskij analiz prajazyka i protokultury. Tiflis: Tiflis University Press 1984. Xcvi + 1328 p. English translation: Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A reconstruction and historical analysis of a proto-language and a proto-culture. 2 vols. Trans. J. Nichols. Berlin–New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1: 1994, 2: 1995 with T. V. Gamkrelidze, “The ancient Near East and the Indo-European question: Temporal and territorial characteristics of Proto-Indo-European based on linguistic and historico-cultural data”, Journal of Indo-European Studies vol. 13, no. 1–2: 3–48. With T. V. Gamkrelidze, “The migrations of tribes speaking Indo-European dialects from their original homeland in the Near East to their historical habitations in Eurasia”, Journal of Indo-European Studies vol.
13, no. 1–2: 9–91. Vyacheslav V. Ivanov and Thomas Gamkrelidze, “The Early History of Indo-European Languages”, Scientific American vol. 262, no. 3: 110-116. The archives of the Russian Orthodox Church of Alaska and Kuril Islands: An attempt at a multisemiotic society. Washington, 1996; the Russian orthodox church of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands and its relation to native American traditions — an attempt at a multicultural society, 1794—1912. Washington, D. C.: Library of Congress. S. G. P. O. 1997. With Ilia Verkholantseva, eds. Speculum Slaviae Orientalis: Muscovy and Lithuania in the late Middle Ages. Moscow: Novoe izdatel'stvo, 2005. Issledovaniia po tipologii slavianskikh, baltiĭskikh i balkanskikh iazykov: preimushchestvenno v svete iazykovykh kontaktov. St. Petersburg: Aleteĭia, 2013. With V. N. Toporov, Mifologiia: statʹi dlia mifologicheskikh ėntsiklopediĭ. Moscow: IASK, Iazyki slavianskikh kulʹtur, 2014. Faculty Profile at UCLA Biography Biography Velmezova, Ekaterina. Interview with Vyacheslav V. Ivanov about semiotics, the languages of the brain and history of ideas.
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Augusto Ponzio is an Italian semiologist and philosopher. Since 1980 is Full Professor of Philosophy of Language at Bari University and since 2015 is Professor Emeritus at the same University, he has made a significant contribution as editor and translator to the dissemination of the ideas of Pietro Ispano, Mikhail Bakhtin, Emmanuel Lévinas, Karl Marx, Ferruccio Rossi-Landi, Adam Schaff and Thomas Albert Sebeok, in Italy and abroad. Augusto Ponzio has authored the first monographs at a world level on each of Emmanuel Lévinas, Mikhail Bakhtin and Adam Schaff: La relation interpersonal, 1967, dedicated to Levinas, Michail Bachtin. Alle origini della semiotic sovietica, 1980, Persona umana, linguaggio e conoscenza in Adam Schaff, 1977; each of these monographs has been translated and reworked over the years and presented in new enlarged editions. He has promoted the Italian translation of numerous works by Mikhail Bakhtin and members of the Bakhtin Circle, including Valentin N. Voloshinov and Pavel N. Medvedev, but the biologist I. I.
Kanaev. Augusto Ponzio has contributed to Karl Marx studies in Italy and in 1975 published the Italian edition of his Mathematical Manuscripts. Moreover, Ponzio has contributed to the dissemination of Thomas Sebeok's work in Italy and of his global semiotics in particular, he has promoted the Italian translation of most of his books and has authored two monographs dedicated to his thought: Sebeok and the Signs of Life, published in 2001, I segni e la vita. La semiotic globale di Thomas A. Sebeok, 2002. Among Italian scholars Ponzio has focused on the work of his master Giuseppe Semerari, on the semiotician Ferruccio Rossi-Landi and philosopher of language Giovanni Vailati. At Bari University Ponzio has been teaching: Theoretical Philosophy and Moral Philosophy since 1966. From 1999 to 2005 he acted as Head of the Department of Linguistic Practices and Text Analysis, which he founded in 1999, he directs the Doctoral Program in Language Theory and Sign Sciences, which he inaugurated in 1988. With Claude Gandelman, in 1989 he founded the annual book series Athanor.
Arte, Semiotica, Filosofia of which now he directs the new series inaugurated with Meltemi publishers in Rome, in 1998. Athanor: this Arabic word evokes the alchemist in the laboratory mixing and transforming the elements. From these authors I have developed what they share in spite of their differences, that is, the idea that the life of the human individual in his/her concrete singularity, whatever the object of study, however specialized the analysis, cannot prescind from involvement without alibis in the destiny of others, his principal research areas include philosophy of language, general linguistics and theory of literature. The expression "philosophy of language" conveys the scope and orientation of his research as he addresses problems of semiotics from the perspective of philosophy of language, updated with references to the latest developments in the sign sciences, from linguistics to biosemiotics; as such his approach may be more properly described as pertaining to general semiotics.
Nonetheless, Ponzio practices general semiotics in terms of critique and the search for foundations, which derives from his work in philosophy of language. As critique of semiotics Ponzio's general semiotics overcomes the delusory separation between the humanities, on the one hand, the logico-mathematical and the natural sciences, on the other, his semiotic research relates to different disciplines proposing an approach, transversal and interdisciplinary, or better, as he prefers to say, an approach, ‘undisciplined’. Moreover, general semiotics as conceived by Ponzio against such a background continues its philosophical search for sense; this perspective evidences the interconnectedness of the sciences. And most the problem of their sense for the human being is addressed; the following texts are in Italian. Official website
Paul-Michel Foucault known as Michel Foucault, was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, literary critic. Foucault's theories address the relationship between power and knowledge, how they are used as a form of social control through societal institutions. Though cited as a post-structuralist and postmodernist, Foucault rejected these labels, preferring to present his thought as a critical history of modernity, his thought has influenced academics those working in communication studies, cultural studies, literary theory and critical theory. Activist groups have found his theories compelling. Born in Poitiers, into an upper-middle-class family, Foucault was educated at the Lycée Henri-IV, at the École Normale Supérieure, where he developed an interest in philosophy and came under the influence of his tutors Jean Hyppolite and Louis Althusser, at the University of Paris, where he earned degrees in philosophy and psychology. After several years as a cultural diplomat abroad, he returned to France and published his first major book, The History of Madness.
After obtaining work between 1960 and 1966 at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, he produced The Birth of the Clinic and The Order of Things, publications which displayed his increasing involvement with structuralism, from which he distanced himself. These first three histories exemplified a historiographical technique Foucault was developing called "archaeology". From 1966 to 1968, Foucault lectured at the University of Tunis before returning to France, where he became head of the philosophy department at the new experimental university of Paris VIII. Foucault subsequently published The Archaeology of Knowledge. In 1970, Foucault was admitted to a membership he retained until his death, he became active in a number of left-wing groups involved in campaigns against racism and human rights abuses and for penal reform. Foucault published Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality, in which he developed archaeological and genealogical methods which emphasized the role that power plays in society.
Foucault died in Paris of neurological problems compounded by HIV/AIDS. His partner Daniel Defert founded the AIDES charity in his memory. Paul-Michel Foucault was born on 15 October 1926 in the city of Poitiers, west-central France, as the second of three children in a prosperous and conservative upper-middle-class family. Family tradition prescribed naming him after his father, Paul Foucault, but his mother insisted on the addition of "Michel", his father, a successful local surgeon born in Fontainebleau, moved to Poitiers, where he set up his own practice and married local woman Anne Malapert. She was the daughter of prosperous surgeon Dr. Prosper Malapert, who owned a private practice and taught anatomy at the University of Poitiers' School of Medicine. Paul Foucault took over his father-in-law's medical practice, while his wife took charge of their large mid-19th-century house, Le Piroir, in the village of Vendeuvre-du-Poitou. Together the couple had three children – a girl named Francine and two boys, Paul-Michel and Denys – who all shared the same fair hair and bright blue eyes.
The children were raised to be nominal Roman Catholics, attending mass at the Church of Saint-Porchair, while Michel became an altar boy, none of the family were devout. In life, Foucault would reveal little about his childhood. Describing himself as a "juvenile delinquent", he claimed his father was a "bully" who would sternly punish him. In 1930 Foucault began his schooling, two years early, at the local Lycée Henry-IV. Here he undertook two years of elementary education before entering the main lycée, where he stayed until 1936, he undertook his first four years of secondary education at the same establishment, excelling in French, Greek and history but doing poorly at arithmetic and mathematics. In 1939 the Second World War broke out and in 1940 Nazi Germany occupied France. In 1940 Foucault's mother enrolled him in the Collège Saint-Stanislas, a strict Roman Catholic institution run by the Jesuits. Lonely, he described his years there as an "ordeal", but he excelled academically in philosophy and literature.
In 1942 he entered his final year, the terminale, where he focused on the study of philosophy, earning his baccalauréat in 1943. Returning to the local Lycée Henry-IV, he studied history and philosophy for a year, aided by a personal tutor, the philosopher Louis Girard. Rejecting his father's wishes that he become a surgeon, in 1945 Foucault went to Paris, where he enrolled in one of the country's most prestigious secondary schools, known as the Lycée Henri-IV. Here he studied under the philosopher Jean Hyppolite, an existentialist and expert on the work of 19th-century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hyppolite had devoted himself to uniting existentialist theories with the dialectical theories of Hegel and Karl Marx; these ideas influenced Foucault, who adopted Hyppolite's conviction that philosophy must develop through a study of history. Attaining excellent results, in autumn 1946 Foucault was admitted to the élite École Normale Supérieure. Of the hundred students entering the ENS, Foucault ranked fourth based
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German philosopher and mathematician. He is understood by many to be the father of analytic philosophy, concentrating on the philosophy of language and mathematics. Though ignored during his lifetime, Giuseppe Peano and Bertrand Russell introduced his work to generations of logicians and philosophers, his contributions include the development of modern logic in the Begriffsschrift and work in the foundations of mathematics. His book the Foundations of Arithmetic is the seminal text of the logicist project, is cited by Michael Dummett as where to pinpoint the linguistic turn, his philosophical papers "On Sense and Reference" and "The Thought" are cited. Frege was born in 1848 in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, his father Carl Alexander Frege was the co-founder and headmaster of a girls' high school until his death. After Carl's death, the school was led by Frege's mother Auguste Wilhelmine Sophie Frege. In childhood, Frege encountered philosophies. For example, his father wrote a textbook on the German language for children aged 9–13, entitled Hülfsbuch zum Unterrichte in der deutschen Sprache für Kinder von 9 bis 13 Jahren, the first section of which dealt with the structure and logic of language.
Frege studied at a grammar school in Wismar and graduated in 1869. His teacher Gustav Adolf Leo Sachse, a poet, played the most important role in determining Frege's future scientific career, encouraging him to continue his studies at the University of Jena. Frege matriculated at the University of Jena in the spring of 1869 as a citizen of the North German Confederation. In the four semesters of his studies he attended twenty courses of lectures, most of them on mathematics and physics, his most important teacher was Ernst Karl Abbe. Abbe gave lectures on theory of gravity and electrodynamics, complex analysis theory of functions of a complex variable, applications of physics, selected divisions of mechanics, mechanics of solids. Abbe was more than a teacher to Frege: he was a trusted friend, and, as director of the optical manufacturer Carl Zeiss AG, he was in a position to advance Frege's career. After Frege's graduation, they came into closer correspondence, his other notable university teachers were Christian Philipp Karl Snell.
Starting in 1871, Frege continued his studies in Göttingen, the leading university in mathematics in German-speaking territories, where he attended the lectures of Rudolf Friedrich Alfred Clebsch, Ernst Christian Julius Schering, Wilhelm Eduard Weber, Eduard Riecke, Hermann Lotze. Many of the philosophical doctrines of the mature Frege have parallels in Lotze. In 1873, Frege attained his doctorate under Ernst Christian Julius Schering, with a dissertation under the title of "Ueber eine geometrische Darstellung der imaginären Gebilde in der Ebene", in which he aimed to solve such fundamental problems in geometry as the mathematical interpretation of projective geometry's infinitely distant points. Frege married Margarete Katharina Sophia Anna Lieseberg on 14 March 1887. Though his education and early mathematical work focused on geometry, Frege's work soon turned to logic, his Begriffsschrift, eine der arithmetischen nachgebildete Formelsprache des reinen Denkens, Halle a/S: Verlag von Louis Nebert, 1879 marked a turning point in the history of logic.
The Begriffsschrift broke new ground, including a rigorous treatment of the ideas of functions and variables. Frege's goal was to show that mathematics grows out of logic, in so doing, he devised techniques that took him far beyond the Aristotelian syllogistic and Stoic propositional logic that had come down to him in the logical tradition. In effect, Frege invented axiomatic predicate logic, in large part thanks to his invention of quantified variables, which became ubiquitous in mathematics and logic, which solved the problem of multiple generality. Previous logic had dealt with the logical constants and, or, if... then... not, some and all, but iterations of these operations "some" and "all", were little understood: the distinction between a sentence like "every boy loves some girl" and "some girl is loved by every boy" could be represented only artificially, whereas Frege's formalism had no diffic
Roland Gérard Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher and semiotician. Barthes' ideas explored a diverse range of fields and he influenced the development of many schools of theory, including structuralism, social theory, design theory and post-structuralism. Roland Barthes was born on 12 November in the town of Cherbourg in Normandy, his father, naval officer Louis Barthes, was killed in a battle during World War I in the North Sea before Barthes' first birthday. His mother, Henriette Barthes, his aunt and grandmother raised him in the village of Urt and the city of Bayonne; when Barthes was eleven, his family moved to Paris, though his attachment to his provincial roots would remain strong throughout his life. Barthes showed great promise as a student and spent the period from 1935 to 1939 at the Sorbonne, where he earned a licence in classical literature, he was plagued by ill health throughout this period, suffering from tuberculosis, which had to be treated in the isolation of sanatoria.
His repeated physical breakdowns disrupted his academic career, affecting his studies and his ability to take qualifying examinations. They exempted him from military service during World War II, his life from 1939 to 1948 was spent obtaining a licence in grammar and philology, publishing his first papers, taking part in a medical study, continuing to struggle with his health. He received a diplôme d'études supérieures from the University of Paris in 1941 for his work in Greek tragedy. In 1948, he returned to purely academic work, gaining numerous short-term positions at institutes in France and Egypt. During this time, he contributed to the leftist Parisian paper Combat, out of which grew his first full-length work, Writing Degree Zero. In 1952, Barthes settled at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, where he studied lexicology and sociology. During his seven-year period there, he began to write a popular series of bi-monthly essays for the magazine Les Lettres Nouvelles, in which he dismantled myths of popular culture.
Consisting of fifty-four short essays written between 1954–1956, Mythologies were acute reflections of French popular culture ranging from an analysis on soap detergents to a dissection of popular wrestling. Knowing little English, Barthes taught at Middlebury College in 1957 and befriended the future English translator of much of his work, Richard Howard, that summer in New York City. Barthes spent the early 1960s exploring the fields of semiology and structuralism, chairing various faculty positions around France, continuing to produce more full-length studies. Many of his works challenged traditional academic views of literary criticism and of renowned figures of literature, his unorthodox thinking led to a conflict with a well-known Sorbonne professor of literature, Raymond Picard, who attacked the French New Criticism for its obscurity and lack of respect towards France's literary roots. Barthes' rebuttal in Criticism and Truth accused the old, bourgeois criticism of a lack of concern with the finer points of language and of selective ignorance towards challenging theories, such as Marxism.
By the late 1960s, Barthes had established a reputation for himself. He traveled to the Japan, delivering a presentation at Johns Hopkins University. During this time, he wrote his best-known work, the 1967 essay "The Death of the Author," which, in light of the growing influence of Jacques Derrida's deconstruction, would prove to be a transitional piece in its investigation of the logical ends of structuralist thought. Barthes continued to contribute with Philippe Sollers to the avant-garde literary magazine Tel Quel, developing similar kinds of theoretical inquiry to that pursued in Barthes' writings. In 1970, Barthes produced what many consider to be his most prodigious work, the dense, critical reading of Balzac's Sarrasine entitled S/Z. Throughout the 1970s, Barthes continued to develop his literary criticism. In 1971, he served as visiting professor at the University of Geneva. In 1975 he wrote an autobiography titled Roland Barthes and in 1977 he was elected to the chair of Sémiologie Littéraire at the Collège de France.
In the same year, his mother, Henriette Barthes, to whom he had been devoted, aged 85. They had lived together for 60 years; the loss of the woman who had raised and cared for him was a serious blow to Barthes. His last major work, Camera Lucida, is an essay about the nature of photography and a meditation on photographs of his mother; the book contains many reproductions of photographs. On 25 February 1980, Roland Barthes was knocked down by a laundry van while walking home through the streets of Paris. One month on March 26, he died from the chest injuries he sustained in that collision. Barthes' earliest ideas reacted to the trend of existentialist philosophy, prominent in France during the 1940s to the figurehead of existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre's What Is Literature? Expresses a disenchantment both with established forms of writing and more experimental, avant-garde forms, which he feels alienate readers. Barthes’ response was to try to discover that which may be considered unique and original in writing.
In Writing Degree Zero, Barthes argues that conventions inform both language and style, rendering neither purely creative. Instead, form, or what Barthes calls "writing" (the specific way an individual chooses to manipulate conventions of
Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin was a Russian philosopher, literary critic and scholar who worked on literary theory and the philosophy of language. His writings, on a variety of subjects, inspired scholars working in a number of different traditions and in disciplines as diverse as literary criticism, philosophy, sociology and psychology. Although Bakhtin was active in the debates on aesthetics and literature that took place in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, his distinctive position did not become well known until he was rediscovered by Russian scholars in the 1960s. Bakhtin was born in Russia, to an old family of the nobility, his father worked in several cities. For this reason Bakhtin spent his early childhood years in Oryol, in Vilnius, in Odessa, where in 1913 he joined the historical and philological faculty at the local university. Katerina Clark and Michael Holquist write: "Odessa... Like Vilnius, was an appropriate setting for a chapter in the life of a man, to become the philosopher of heteroglossia and carnival.
The same sense of fun and irreverence that gave birth to Babel's Rabelaisian gangster or to the tricks and deceptions of Ostap Bender, the picaro created by Ilf and Petrov, left its mark on Bakhtin." He transferred to Petrograd Imperial University to join his brother Nikolai. It is here that Bakhtin was influenced by the classicist F. F. Zelinsky, whose works contain the beginnings of concepts elaborated by Bakhtin. Bakhtin completed his studies in 1918, he moved to a small city in western Russia, where he worked as a schoolteacher for two years. It was at that time; the group consisted of intellectuals with varying interests, but all shared a love for the discussion of literary and political topics. Included in this group were Valentin Voloshinov and P. N. Medvedev, who joined the group in Vitebsk. Vitebsk was “a cultural centre of the region” the perfect place for Bakhtin “and other intellectuals lectures and concerts." German philosophy was the topic talked about most and, from this point forward, Bakhtin considered himself more a philosopher than a literary scholar.
It was in Nevel that Bakhtin worked tirelessly on a large work concerning moral philosophy, never published in its entirety. However, in 1919, a short section of this work was published and given the title "Art and Responsibility"; this piece constitutes Bakhtin's first published work. Bakhtin relocated to Vitebsk in 1920, it was here, in 1921. In 1923, Bakhtin was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a bone disease that led to the amputation of his leg in 1938; this illness rendered him an invalid. In 1924, Bakhtin moved to Leningrad, where he assumed a position at the Historical Institute and provided consulting services for the State Publishing House, it is at this time that Bakhtin decided to share his work with the public, but just before "On the Question of the Methodology of Aesthetics in Written Works" was to be published, the journal in which it was to appear stopped publication. This work was published 51 years later; the repression and misplacement of his manuscripts was something that would plague Bakhtin throughout his career.
In 1929, "Problems of Dostoevsky’s Art", Bakhtin's first major work, was published. It is here. However, just as this book was introduced, on 8 December 1928, right before Voskresenie's 10th anniversary, Bakhtin and a number of others associated with Voskresenie were apprehended by the Soviet secret police, the OGPU, the leaders being sentenced up to ten years in labor camps of Solovki, though after an appeal to consider the state of his health his sentence was commuted to exile to Kazakhstan, where he and his wife spent six years in Kustanai, after which in 1936 they moved to Saransk where he taught at the Mordovian Pedagogical Institute. During the six years he spent working as a book-keeper in the town of Kustanai he wrote several important essays, including "Discourse in the Novel". In 1936, living in Saransk, he became an obscure figure in a provincial college, dropping out of view and teaching only occasionally. In 1937, Bakhtin moved to a town located one hundred kilometers from Moscow.
Here, Bakhtin completed work on a book concerning the 18th-century German novel, subsequently accepted by the Sovetskii Pisatel' Publishing House. However, the only copy of the manuscript disappeared during the upheaval caused by the German invasion. After the amputation of his leg in 1938, Bakhtin's health improved and he became more prolific. In 1940, until the end of World War II, Bakhtin lived in Moscow, where he submitted a dissertation on François Rabelais to the Gorky Institute of World Literature to obtain a postgraduate title, a dissertation that could not be defended until the war ended. In 1946 and 1949, the defense of this dissertation divided the scholars of Moscow into two groups: those official opponents guiding the defense, who accepted the original and unorthodox manuscript, those other professors who were against the manuscript's acceptance; the book's earthy, anarchic topic was the cause of many arguments that ceased only when the government intervened. Bakhtin was denied a higher doctoral degree (Doctor of