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Persistent FormsExplorations in Historical Poetics$
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Ilya Kliger and Boris Maslov

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264858

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264858.001.0001

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Schematics and Models of Genre

Schematics and Models of Genre

Bakhtin and Soviet Satire

(p.429) Chapter 16 Schematics and Models of Genre
Persistent Forms

Robert Bird

Fordham University Press

This chapter calls for a Historical Poetics that would construe and construct genre not as a schema, to which a given text may conform, but as a model of engaging with the reality, a model that would affect the audience. As Bird suggests, such a theory of genre would seek not only an empiricist description of literary-historical evolution but a forward-looking account that participates in the molding of the future. Such an approach, opposed to the Aristotelian or neoclassicist notion of genre as well as to the transhistorical theories of genre (e.g., Northrop Frye’s), is well established within Historical Poetics. Bird’s particular focus is on the mercurial and ill-defined genre of satire and on Bakhtin’s theorization of this genre in the Soviet late 1930s. In a historicist turn, Bird demonstrates that Bakhtin’s own interest in satire is part and parcel of a cultural obsession with satirical representation. The notion of genre that Bakhtin puts forward proved so powerful precisely because it was a response to the cultural politics of his day, an attempt, by a scholar, to meet a new sociocultural demand.

Keywords:   Mikhail Bakhtin, film, satire, Soviet culture, Jonathan Swift

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