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Name: The Russian Acropolis – About logocentrism between symbolism and avant-garde

Authors: A. А. Hansen-Löve


Issue 2, 2017Pages 52-72
UDK: 82.0DOI:

Abstract: The article deals with the traditions of logocentrism in Russian culture, especially the cult of the written text and the «living word», proceeding from Mandelstam’s statement, that the acropolis of the Russians is constituted by the «word» («On the nature of the word») and not by the architecture of buildings. This particular type of «nominalism» (in fact it would be a verbal «realism» in the sense of the classical philosophy of language) is to be found in the poetics of Gogol, esp. in his groteque stories «The Nose» and the «Overcoat », whre the names of the heroes figures not merely as attributes but rather as the semantic essence of their verbal nature. Gogol generates a mythopoetics of the «name», from which the art of the word is developing from the seed of the word into texts and fictional characters, incarnating their proper names. In combination with the concepts of «Kratylism» (Platon) and the Humboldt tradition (Potebnya) of Language philosophy this concept strongly influenced mythopoetics of Russian Symbolism (A. Vyacheslav Ivanov, Andrey Bely) as well as the philosophy of imjaslavie, developed by P. Florensky, and the onomatopoetics of Velimir Khlebnikov. A detailed confrontation of Florensky’s and Kh lebnikov’s «onomato-poetics» constitutes the center of the article. On the one hand we have the metphysics of the religious phil osophy (Florensky), on the other hand the mythopoetics of Khl ebnikov and his archaic thinking. Proceeding from his neoprimitivist poetics Roman Jakobson generalized his structural poetics (in his «the Newest Russian Poetry», 1921) and on the whole the international movement of «structuralism». the main idea in Jakobsons «linguistic turn» is the acceptance of the verbal reality of the poetic text, analogous to the «psychic reality» in Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of the verbal precesses in the unconscious. In both cases the sphere of realistic probability (pravdopodobie, ad Jakobson has formulated it in his article on the nature of realism, «O художественном реализме») is presented.

Keywords: logocentrism, mythopoetics, Gogol, Russian Symbolism, imyaslavie, philosophy of the name, P. Florensky, onomatopoetics, V. Khlebnikov, R. Jakobson


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