Fall 2006, 36:4, pages 355-376
Architectonics, Rhetoric, and Poetics in the Bakhtin School's Early Phenomenological and Sociological Texts
Abstract: Bakhtin's work from the late 1920s and 1930s on the novel has been the principal source for critical discussion of his views of rhetoric and poetics-a discussion in which both arts are deprecated-but his early phenomenological work on architectonics and Voloshinov's early sociological work provide alternative sources that offer fresh terms for rethinking these discursive practices. The phenomenological works permit us to reconceptualize rhetoric as the primary discourse of active evaluative being-in-the-world and poetry as an imitation of that discourse that makes it available for aesthetic contemplation. The sociological work preserves the relation of speaker/agent to the other that the phenomenological work emphasizes and adds to it a relation of speaker to listener. The translation of the phenomenological terms to a sociological register brings the theory closer to life and history.