What is Bakhtin's Theory of Carnivalesque?

What is the relationship between the carnivalesque and popular culture?

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    Ruth and Bakhtin’s Theory of Carnival

    Mikhail Bakhtin’s thematization of humor and the comic has

    made him popular in postmodern critical circles precisely because his

    studies expand the theory of carnival beyond a single folk event and

    identify the carnivalesque as a semiotic cultural code, signifying more

    than just texts which focus on the specific popular tradition in

    medieval Europe. Bakhtin’s theory of carnival, manifest in his

    discussions of Rabelais and “forbidden laughter” in medieval folk

    culture, argued that folk celebrations which allowed for rowdy humor

    and the parody of authority offered the oppressed lower classes relief

    from the rigidity of the feudal system and the church and an

    opportunity for expressing nonconformist, even rebellious views. The

    carnivalesque spirit, therefore, is a form of popular, “low” humor which

    celebrates the anarchic and grotesque elements of authority and of

    humanity in general and encourages the temporary “crossing of

    boundaries” where the town fool is crowned, the higher classes are

    mocked, and the differences between people are flattened as their

    shared humanity, the body, becomes subject of crude humor. Bakhtin

    saw in carnivalesque humor a social force that allowed a text to enter a

    sociopolitical discourse, while enjoying impunity, and thus bring about

    cultural transformation.

  • 4 years ago

    Carnivalesque Definition

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