The fourteen essays collected in this volume, notwithstanding their diversity of subject matter and approach, share a concern with the contexts to which we need to refer in order to understand not only the origins, but also the potential of Mikhail Bakhtin's thought: contexts both immediate and oblique, personal and impersonal, intellectual and theoretical. Five of the essays are by well-known Russian scholars whose work on Bakhtin has not previously been translated in English; the other nine papers are by established and emerging Bakhtin specialists in North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
David Shepherd is professor of Russian and director of the Bakhtin Centre at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of Beyond Metafiction: Self-Consciousness in Soviet Literature (1992); editor of Bakhtin: Carnival, and Other Subjects (1993); co-editor with Ken Hirschkop of Bakhtin and Cultural Theory (1989, 1998) and co-editor with Catriona Kelly of Constructing Russian Culture in the Age of Revolution (1998) and Russian Cultural Studies: An Introduction (1998). His current research is focused on the intellectual contexts of the Bakhtin Circle.