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), but in his style as well, if one may speak of a single style for one who was so concerned with "other-voicedness." Russians immediately sense this strangeness: again and again when we have gone to native speakers with questions about a peculiar usage of a familiar word or an unfamiliar coinage, the Russians have thrown up their hands or shaken their heads and smiled ruefully.Another difficulty the reader must confront is the unfamiliar shadings Bakhtin gives to West European cultural history.
It was in these years that Bakhtin wrote something on the order of nine large books on topics as major and varied as Freud, Marx and the philosophy of language.
Only one of these (the Dostoevsky book) appeared under his own name during these years.
Language in his texts works somewhat as language does in the novel, the genre that obsessed him all his life: according to Ian Watt (The Rise of the Novel), "the genre itself works by exhaustive presentation rather than by elegant concentration." The more we know about Bakhtin's life, the clearer it becomes that he was a supreme eccentric, of an order the Russians express better than we in their word cudak, which has overtones of such intense strangeness that it borders on cudo, a wonder.
And this peculiarity is reflected not only in the strange history of his texts (why, ultimately, did he publish under so many names?
Three others were published under different names (see section III of this introduction); some were partially lost during his forced moves; some disappeared when the Nazis burned down the publishing house that had accepted his large manuscript on the Erziehungsroman; some were "delayed" forty-one years in their publication when journals that had accepted manuscripts were shut down, as happened to the Russian Contemporary in 1924; others, such as the Rabelais book, were considered too aberrant for publication, due to their emphasis on sex and body functions (see section II of this introduction).
Another factor that has clouded perception of the scope of Bakhtin's activity in the anglophone world, at least, is the tradi tion in which he was working.
This translation is dedicated to those devoted Russian scholars who gave so generously of themselves to Mikhail Mikhailovich the man and to the cause of preserving dialogue. He read large parts of the first draft of this translation and if, as we hope, there were improvements in subsequent drafts, it is because we constantly had his image before us, the threat of one of his red-penciled "ughs" or "cute, but wrong, utterly wrong" in the margin.
The National Endowment for the Humanities and the University Research Institute at the University of Texas provided generous grants to support this translation.
Their devotion to Bakhtin is matched only by their generosity toward those who would study him. He did not see the final version and therefore cannot be charged with any inaccuracies, all of which are our own responsibility.
Thanks are due first of all to the Executors of the Bakhtin Archives, Vadim Koiinov and Sergej Bocorov. The high standard of scholarship as well as translation that he has established in his own work was a constant inspiration to us.