In reading Bakhtin, one might notice that the theorist tends to repeat himself. This should not, however, be seen as a weakness or flaw in Bakhtin's writing. As his translator, Caryl Emerson points out, "Nothing 'recurs;' the same word over again might accumulate, reinforce, perhaps parody what came before it, but it cannot be the same word if it is in a different place. Repetitiveness is not repetitiousness" (Dost. xxxv). The same translator has a less technical and more artistic answer for Bakhtin's repetitiveness: the language is analogous to musical refrains that provide a unified background.
See the Opening Remarks
Return to Individual Theorists