A friend of mine inadvertently reminded me of one of my favorite passages from Mikhail Bakhtin, written, apparently, in his last notebook entry before his death (and published subsequently in Toward a Methodology for the Human Sciences):
“There is neither a first nor a last word and there are no limits to the dialogic context (it extends into the boundless past and the boundless future). Even past meanings, that is, those born in the dialogue of the past centuries, can never be stable (finalized, ended once and for all)–they will always change (be renewed) in the process of subsequent, future development of the dialogue. At any moment in the development of the dialogue there are immense, boundless masses of forgotten contextual meanings, but at certain moments of the dialogue’s subsequent development along the way they are recalled and invigorated in renewed form (in a next context). Nothing is absolutely dead: every meaning will have its homecoming festival. The problem of great time.” [non-italicized emphasis in original; bold added]
The context of our conversation was an attempt to remember the name of the pub where we shared drinks and lively conversation several years ago. I suspect that Bakhtin would agree that every drink and every worthy conversation will have its homecoming festival.
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