“Dead Souls”: Gogol’s Interpretation of the State of Insanity
Keywords:insanity (madness), narrative optics, mental isomorphism, person-sphere, hyper-realistic format, fly, “Dead Souls”, Nikolai Gogol
Actual outline of creating the concept of literary insanity (in the aspect of poetics of dialogue, narrative, motif of duality, etc.) is overviewed. The article states that in the fiction by Nicolai Gogol a graduated sequence of various states and degrees of madness is fully represented in “The Collected Petersburg Tales”. Here, this paradigm is considered to be the principle of graduation in all levels of manner as a key suggestive genre construct of “Dead Souls”. The mental isomorphism of the paradigm meaning content, associated with the peculiarities of the religious, as well as the verbal, consciousness is emphasized in the article. The author stresses that the anthropological vector of Gogol's attention is directed towards the ordinary “despicable and stupid in the life”. The ironic example of the discursive metaphor of a pendulum of history (the philosophical background of the text) is the slip-in parable of Kif Mokievich and his son Mokii Kifovich. Both characters are at opposite sides of the proper. The world of human relations in “Dead Souls” is reflected in the most straightforward analogies with constant teeming world of different microscopic creatures. To give prominence to the human image Gogol refers to the colourful ontological metaphor, ultimately identifying and equating the person with ordinary fly, which in this text is a significant element of the whole hyper-realistic person-sphere. Conversion of large to small or small to large is the dimensioned game of the author’s strategy in the literal sense. In “Dead Souls” the denoted topic decisively grounds for the genre of the poem.
Antoshchuk L. K. Kontseptsiia i poetika bezumiia v russkoi kul'ture i literature 20–30-kh gg. XIX veka [Concept and poetics of madness in Russian culture and literature of 20-30-s years of the XIX century]. Extended abstract of PhD dissertation (Russian Literature). Tomsk State Universit. Tomsk, 1996, 18 p. (in Russian).
Voropaev V. A. Gogol' nad stranitsami dukhovnykh knig [Gogol over the pages of spiritual books]. Moscow, 2002, 208 p. (in Russian).
Havryliv T. Forma i fihura: identychnist′ u khudozhn′omu prostori [The form and figure: identity in artistic space]. Lviv, 2008, 480 p. (in Ukrainian).
Hohol′ M. V. Zibrannia tvoriv [Collection of Works]. Kyiv, 2009, vol. 5, 360 p. (in Ukrainian).
Gogol' N. V. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii i pisem [Complete Collection of Works and Letters: in 23 vol.]. Moscow, 2009, vol. 3, 1016 p. (in Russian).
Gracheva A. M. Gogolevskii kontsept krasoty i russkii modernizm [Gogol’s concept of beauty and Russian modernism]. In: Dialogi Ianusa: belletristika i klassika v russkoi literature nachala XX veka: portrety, etiudy, razyskaniia. Saint Petersburg, 2011, pp. 305–316. (in Russian).
Gracheva A. M. Dialogi Ianusa: belletristika i klassika v russkoi literature nachala XX veka: portrety, etiudy, razyskaniia [Janus’s Dialogues: fiction and classics in Russian literature of the beginning of the XX century]. Saint Petersburg, 2011, 368 p. (in Russian).
Dmitrieva E. E. Gogol' i katolichestvo: pro i contra [Gogol and Catholicism: pro and contra]. In: Poetika russkoi literatury. Moscow, 2009, pp. 345–370. (in Russian).
Zimina M. A. Diskurs bezumiia v istoricheskoi dinamike russkoi literatury ot romantizma k realizmu [Discourse of madness in the historical dynamics of Russian literature from Romanticism to Realism]. Extended abstract of PhD dissertation (Russian Literature). Altai State University. Barnaul, 2007, 22 p. (in Russian).
Ioskevich O. A. Na puti k “bezumnomu” narrativu (bezumie v russkoi proze pervoi poloviny XIX v.) [On the way to the “mad” narrative (madness in Russian prose of the first half of the XIX century)]. Grodno, 2009, 161 p. (in Russian).
Kopystians′ka N. Kh. Chas i prostir u mystetstvi slova [Time and space in the art of words]. Lviv, 2012, 344 p. (in Ukrainian).
Likhachev D., Panchenko A., Ponyrko N. Smekh v Drevnei Rusi [Laughter in Ancient Rus’]. Leningrad, 1984, 295 p. (in Russian).
Proza Sergeia Auslendera 1905–1917 gg. [Sergei Auslander's prose of 1905–1917]. In: Dialogi Ianusa: belletristika i klassika v russkoi literature nachala XX veka: portrety, etiudy, razyskaniia. Saint Petersburg, 2011, pp. 271–302. (in Russian).
Propp V. Ia. Problemy komizma i smekha [On the comic and laughter]. Moscow, 1976, 183 p. (in Russian).
Samoilenko G. Nikolai Gogol' i Nezhin [Nikolai Gogol and Nizhyn]. Nizhyn, 2008, 314 p. (in Russian).
Ianushkevich Ia. O kakom pushkinskom demone idet rech' v “Portrete” N. V. Gogolia [What kind of Pushkin demon is referred to in “Portrait” by Nikolai Gogol]. In: Poetika russkoi literatury. Moscow, 2009, pp. 345–370. (in Russian).
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2013 Olha Chervinska
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.