Download PDF:
For citation:

Yudin A.A. The Notion of Aesthetic Imperative in the Early Bakhtin. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 3, pp. 10–25. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-3-10-25

Author: Alexander A. Yudin
Information about the author:

Alexander A. Yudin, DSc in Philology, Associate Professor, National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, Turgenevskaya 8/14, 01054 Kiev, Ukraine.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: January 16, 2018
Published: September 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №3
Department: Literary Theory
Pages: 10-25

UDK: 821.0
BBK: 83 + 87.8
Keywords: author-creator, transcendental philosophy, transcendental author, phenomenological method, aesthetic consummation, surplus of vision, aesthetic love, aesthetic ought, hermeneutical ought


The article deals with the aesthetics of the early Bakhtin as manifested in the work Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity. The essay primarily points out a methodological discrepancy between Bakhtin’s early philosophy and his aesthetics as variations of phenomenology. The former implies unmediated description while the latter is always mediated by the text albeit ignoring the difference between the author and the subject of description as two different centers of responsibility. The key notions of Bakhtin’s aesthetics such as “consummation” and “aesthetic love” are borrowed from Hermann Cohen yet reconsidered from a different metaphysical standpoint. Aesthetic activity appears as analogous to religious salvation and as expression of the aesthetic ought. But the notion of the ought, according to Bakhtin’s early philosophy, relates to the event of being which cannot be grasped theoretically but can be achieved only through participative thinking. This means reattribution of the reader’s activity of consummation to the author. Consequently, the notion of the author-creator appears as the undifferentiated combination of the author as transcendental subjectivity and the researcher’s own activity of consummation guided by religious-aesthetic ideal and described in the tones of aesthetic ought. The essay argues that early Bakhtin’s aesthetics (and philosophy) had transitional character as partially successful surpassing of philosophical transcendentalism. It also proposes reconsidering the notion of the aesthetic ought as the hermeneutical ought.


1 Bakhtin M. M. Sobranie sochinenii: v 7 t. [Collected works: in 7 vols.] Moscow, Izdatel’stvo russkie slovari; Iazyki slavianskoi kul’tury Publ., 2003. Vol. 1: Filosofskaia estetika 1920-kh godov [Philosophic aesthetics of the 1920s]. 960 p. (In Russ.)

2 Bocharov S.G. Siuzhety russkoi literatury [Plots of Russian literature]. Moscow, Iazyki russkoi kul’tury Publ., 1999. 632 p. (In Russ.)

3 Domashchenko A.V. Porozhdaiushchee lono poezii [The begetting womb of poetry]. Literaturovedcheskii sbornik [Collection of literary criticism]. Donetsk, DonNU Publ., 2006. Issue 25: Problema avtora: ontologiia, tipologiia, dialog [The problem of the author: onthology, typology, dialogue], рр. 32–48. (In Russ.)

4 Isupov K.G. Apofatika M.M. Bakhtina [M.M. Bakhtin’s apophatics]. Dialog, karnaval, khronotop [Dialogue, carnival, chronotope], 1997, no 3, pp. 19–31. (In Russ.)

5 Isupov K.G. O filosofskoi antropologii M.M. Bakhtina [On M.M. Bakhtin’s philosophical anthropology]. Bakhtinskii sbornik [Bakhtin’s collection]. Moscow, Prometei Publ., 1990. Issue I: Collection of articles, pp. 30–46. (In Russ.)

6 Isupov K.G. Sud’by klassicheskogo naslediia i filosofsko-esteticheskaia kul’tura Serebrianogo veka [The fates of classical legacy and philosophic and aesthetic culture of Silver age]. St. Petersburg, Russkaia khristianskaia gumanitarnaia akademiia Publ., 2010. 592 p. (In Russ.)

7 Сlark K., Holquist M. Arkhitektonika otvetstvennosti [Architectonics of answerability]. M.M. Bakhtin: pro i contra. Tvorchestvo i naslediie M.M. Bakhtina v kontekste mirovoi kultury [M.M. Bakhtin: pro and contra. M.M. Bakhtin’s work and heritage in the context of world culture]. St. Petersburg, Russkaia khristianskaia gumanitarnaia akademiia Publ., 2002, vol. II, pp. 32–71. (In Russ.)

8 Compagnon A. Demon teorii. Literatura i zdravyi smysl [The demon of theory. Literature and common sense]. Moscow, Izdatel’stvo im. Sabashnikovykh Publ., 2001. 336 p. (In Russ.)

9 Fraize M. Posle izgnaniia avtora: Literaturovedenie v tupike? [After the expulsion of the author: Literary criticism in a dead end?] Avtor i tekst [Author and text]. Collection of articles. Edited by V.M. Markovich and V. Shmid. St. Petersburg, Izdatel’stvo S.-Peterburgskogo universiteta Publ., 1996, pp. 25–32. (In Russ.)

10 Fridman I.N. Nezavershennaia sud’ba estetiki zaversheniia [Incomplete fate of the aesthetics of consummation]. M.M. Bakhtin kak filosof [M.M. Bakhtin as a philosopher]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1992, pp. 51–67. (In Russ.)

11 Brandist C. The Bakhtin Circle: Philosophy, Culture and Politics. London, Pluto Press, 2002. 221 p. (In English)

12 Coates R. Christianity in Bakhtin: God and the Exiled Author (Cambridge Studies in Russian Literature). Cambridge University Press, 1999. XIV, 204 p. (In English)

13 Cohen H. System der Philosophie. Berlin, Cassirer, 1912. T. 3: Ästhetik des reinen Gefühls. Bd. 1. XIV, 402 S. (In German)

14 Intention and Interpretation, edited by Gary Iseminger. Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1995. 272 p. (In English)