Rabelais and His World Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is Bakhtin's general idea about the purpose of art?

Art is oriented toward communication, and the form of art expresses a set of values. "Form" thus becomes part of the message art intends to send.

2. How does Bakhtin get around the prohibition of certain kinds of satire and irony in his own time?

Bakhtin does so by cultivating laughter and making others aware of its status as uniquely and characteristically human. By the very fact of writing about Rabelais, Bakhtin affirms the power and cultural necessity of laughter.

3. How is Bakhtin's book "double-voiced," as Michael Holquist asserts it is?

The book not only interprets Rabelais' world but also Bakhtin's own time and culture. Bakhtin's experience of the Russian Revolution parallels the social, political, and cultural upheavals that Rabelais saw in Renaissance France.

4. What was Bakhtin's relationship with the Russian Union of Writers?

Bakhtin did not conform to its precepts of Socialist Realism. He directly and indirectly challenged the official view, which resulted in his book nearly not being published.

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