Mikhail Bakhtin
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Mikhail Bakhtin

The Duvakin Interviews, 1973

Mikhail Bakhtin, Slav N Gratchev,Margarita Marinova

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eBook - ePub

Mikhail Bakhtin

The Duvakin Interviews, 1973

Mikhail Bakhtin, Slav N Gratchev,Margarita Marinova

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Anteprima del libro
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Informazioni sul libro

Whenever Bakhtin, in his final decade, was queried about writing his memoirs, he shrugged it off. Unlike many of his Symbolist generation, Bakhtin was not fascinated by his own self-image. This reticence to tell his own story was the point of access for Viktor Duvakin, Mayakovsky scholar, fellow academic, and head of an oral history project, who in 1973 taped six interviews with Bakhtin over twelve hours. They remain our primary source of Bakhtin's personal views: on formative moments in his education and exile, his reaction to the Revolution, his impressions of political, intellectual, and theatrical figures during the first two decades of the twentieth century, and his non-conformist opinions on Russian and Soviet poets and musicians. Bakhtin's passion for poetic language and his insights into music also come as a surprise to readers of his essays on the novel. One remarkable thread running through the conversations is Bakhtin's love of poetry, masses of which he knew by heart in several languages. Mikhail Bakhtin: The Duvakin Interviews, 1973, translated and annotated here from the complete transcript of the tapes, offers a fuller, more flexible image of Bakhtin than we could have imagined beneath his now famous texts.Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide byRutgers University Press.

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Interview Two
March 1, 1973
Length of the interview: 167 minutes
DUVAKIN: Well, Mikhail Mikhailovich, we ended our conversation last Thursday talking about Odessa. We had to stop there. You were talking about the vulgarity of the locals. Would you like to finish with that, perhaps? The people of Odessa are not all unrefined, right? After all, there are some decent people among them …
BAKHTIN: Yes, of course, there are.
D: There’s the Odessa Theater … 1
B: I think we talked about that last time. The Odessa Theater was wonderful. Back then they always seemed to host visiting troupes, from our leading theaters, and also from various European countries. Always. In that respect the people of Odessa knew Western European art as well as the northerners, or perhaps even better!
D: Better than the citizens of Moscow and Petersburg. Were you able to hear any of the important singers who came to Odessa?
B: Of course I did, of course I did. It’s just that I can’t remember right now if I saw them perform there, in Odessa, or somewhere else, later. Let’s see, I heard Chaliapin there.2 But the first time I listened to him was before Odessa. In Vilnius. He came there.
D: Let’s move to the next period in your life then: Petersburg.
B: OK. Maybe I can start by telling you about the movement, the circle formed in Petersburg back in 1911–12.
D: Was it already there when you arrived?
B: Yes, it was in full swing. I had already visited them before I moved to Petersburg.… Once I relocated there, I joined their circle. Its leader was my brother, Nikolay Mikhailovich Bakhtin. The circle, by the way, didn’t have a rigid organization. There was no formal membership. It was a group of friends, similar to Pushkin’s circle: they were people connected through common interests and the university, which they all either attended then or used to attend in the past; they were all close friends. The circle was called “Omphalos.”
D: What does that mean?
B: It means “belly button,” “omphalos.”
D: From the Greek?
B: Yes, Greek. I should mention that most participants in the circle were classicists. Yes, classicists. There were also a few Romano-Germanists. Now, let’s see, who was there? As I said, my brother Nikolay was the leader. Then … Lev Pumpyansky, who had known me and my brother since our days at the gymnasium. Another member was … Lopatto,3 but I forgot his first name and patronymic. He was then a linguist and had just finished his studies at the philology department. He studied linguistics, and later joined OPOYAZ, though he didn’t play a major role there, and his name is usually not even mentioned in connection with it. Lopatto was also a poet, but, we should note, not an important one. In 1914, or maybe it was a little later, in 1915, he published a collection of poems. I must say it was not very good. He was not a serious poet.
Let me turn next to what our circle was about, what set us apart. Lopatto was a poet, but also a literary scholar. He published several articles inspired by the early ideas of OPOYAZ. Then following the October Revolution … he stayed for the first few years, but then left. He was very rich, let me tell you. His father, right before the Revolution, had bought the famous “London” Hotel in Odessa. He was very wealthy, a millionaire, even multimillionaire.
D: Lopatto was raking it in.4
B: Raking it, very true. Yes, yes. [he chuckles] In addition, he also married (in 1916, or … that’s correct, 1916) a very rich woman, with a huge dowry, so that added to his immense wealth too. This is why, as far as I know, he is still alive and well to this day in Italy. He had a house, a proper palazzo in Florence, bought before the Revolution.
D: What is interesting about him as far as cultural contributions go?
B: He was interesting for this reason: because he had extremely broad interests and was very social, which helped unite the people around him. Well, it helped in the sense that he always had money, while most of us were pretty poor.
Other participants in the circle included the brothers Radlov, Sergey, and Nikolay. Sergey is the future film director, but at the time he was just a linguist, and nobody would have guessed he’d become a director later. He was a young scholar-linguist. His brother, Nikolay, was an artist. Not a bad one at that, and a master caricaturist. But that wasn’t the main thing for him. There were also many other members of the circle, whose names I might be able to remember later, but my memory is not what it used to be. Not at all.
So what was the circle about? They were learned jesters, pranksters, or clowns of scholarship, if you will. But we know from history that this is a pretty typical phenomenon. For example, in Poland, there was the so-called “szubrawiec” circle.… They, too, were highly educated scholars who got together to write humorous texts, mainly parodies, etc.
D: When was that?
B: The “szubrawiec krzyżówka”5 existed at the beginning of the nineteenth century. We should note that our baron Brambeus-Senkovsky came from that circle.6 He belonged to that group back in Poland, before he moved to Russia for good. There were similar societies in other countries, say, in England. There they also had a circle of people who specialized, so to speak, in mockery and ...

Indice dei contenuti

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Introduction
  6. Translator’s Introduction
  7. Interview One, February 22, 1973
  8. Interview Two, March 1, 1973
  9. Interview Three, March 8, 1973
  10. Interview Four, March 15, 1973
  11. Interview Five, March 22, 1973
  12. Interview Six, March 23, 1973
  13. Afterword: Six Interviews about the Death and Resurrection of the Word
  14. Acknowledgments
  15. Notes
  16. Bibliography
  17. Notes on Contributors
  18. Index
Stili delle citazioni per Mikhail Bakhtin

APA 6 Citation

Bakhtin, M. (2019). Mikhail Bakhtin ([edition unavailable]). Bucknell University Press. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/1259450/mikhail-bakhtin-the-duvakin-interviews-1973-pdf (Original work published 2019)

Chicago Citation

Bakhtin, Mikhail. (2019) 2019. Mikhail Bakhtin. [Edition unavailable]. Bucknell University Press. https://www.perlego.com/book/1259450/mikhail-bakhtin-the-duvakin-interviews-1973-pdf.

Harvard Citation

Bakhtin, M. (2019) Mikhail Bakhtin. [edition unavailable]. Bucknell University Press. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/1259450/mikhail-bakhtin-the-duvakin-interviews-1973-pdf (Accessed: 14 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Bakhtin, Mikhail. Mikhail Bakhtin. [edition unavailable]. Bucknell University Press, 2019. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.