Communication and Rhetorical Studies
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
aesthetics, authority, Bakhtin, dialogue, incarnation, personality
M.M. Bakhtin's fundamental claim in his seminal essay "Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity" situates verbal action as the most essential constituent of human personality. A careful reading of this text reveals important truths about the relationship between free individual personhood and the nature of the speech utterance. Bakhtin connects the human experience of speech to the life and person of Jesus Christ emphasizing the incarnation and the Trinitarian view of God as essential principles for understanding the creative power of the word and consequent liabilities. Bakhtin develops these theological and philosophical coordinates around a discussion of the author-hero relationship in the novel asserting that the verbal utterance is creatively involved in building and sustaining the inner personhood of those it addresses. Bakhtin's critical conclusion substantiates that from whom a word is received, and to whom the spoken word appeals has weighty influence on the type and character of human personality, and that personality's relationship to authority.
Ward, J. (2013). Authority and Personality in M.M. Bakhtin's "Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity" (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1339