August 11, 2022
Carnivalization is a concept introduced into literary criticism by Mikhail Bakhtin and means the result of the influence of the traditions of the medieval carnival on the culture and thinking of the New Age. The concept of carnivalization is interdisciplinary and, in addition to historical poetics proper, is used within such disciplines as philosophical aesthetics, theoretical poetics, philosophical and cultural anthropology, etiology, semiotics, and so on. Bakhtin presented his theory of carnival in The Works of François Rabelais and the Folk Culture of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (first published in 1965) and Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics (1963). In the first book, Bakhtin shows the direct impact of the carnival tradition on the works of Francois Rabelais. In the second book, the use of the concept of carnivalization allowed him to comprehend as a whole such previously inexplicable features of Dostoevsky's poetics as the combination of the confessional with the fantastic and the serious with the "laughable". The carnival, according to Bakhtin, is opposed to the tragic and the epic. When a certain artistic or (first of all) life phenomenon is carnivalized, this means its modernization, "familiar contact" with this phenomenon. As the second sign of a carnivalized phenomenon, Bakhtin singled out its ambivalence - simultaneous involvement both in the embodied finiteness and in the embodied incompleteness of everything that exists, death and resurrection, the combination of parody, which carries the charge of debunking, with the potential for renewal. The third sign of carnivalization is "joyful relativity": a discrepancy between the external and internal, the conditions and conventions of the present, and the anticipation of a possible other world order, lurking behind the facade of things, roles, behaviors and language.