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Literature Review: Mikhail Bakhtin - Rabelais and His World

As I am beginning to write the first tentative words of my Masters’ Dissertation, I am leaning heavily on my core source text, Mikhail Bakhtin’s Rabelais and His World;[1] a literary critique of much earlier work by Fran├žois Rabelais, a French Renaissance writer. 

The text, despite being weighty and seemingly rather niche, has lent us phrases and ideas which exist today, such as the terms ‘Rabelaisian’ and ‘Bakhtinian’; and an analysis of the political potential of the carnivalesque.
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Michael Holquist in his prologue to the edition writes that ‘carnival was a kind of safety valve for passions the common people might otherwise direct to revolution […] Bakhtin’s carnival […] is not only not an impediment to revolutionary change, it is revolution itself.’[2] This is one of the main underlying ideas that I am choosing to explore through my own research, and one that I find fascinating.
The foreword, written by Krystyna Pomorska, also provides one of the intere…

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