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Kulagina, G. N. Narcissism in the Russian Culture of the Early XXth Century as the Expression of the Destructive Beginning of the World

Published in journal "Philology: scientific researches", 2014-2 in rubric "Myth and mythemes", pages 181-186.

Resume: Dominating role of psychology made Russian philosophers and writers of the early 20th century become interest in existential topics. Rehabilitation of life was the main topic for Russian writers of the early 20th century. Certain efforts and super-super narrative are necessary in order to think about that life. The idea of life became the main topic for writers and the main metaphor of the creative act. Philosophizing turned into the ‘universal mission of the humankind’ and the style of life. However, that philosophizing acquired a rather tragic nature. The loss of the meaning of life created by Nietzsche’s statement about the death of God led to the growing interest towards occult sciences and myths. Not only psychiatrists studied different mental disorders and narcisstic neuroses. Catastrophic nature of being has resulted in people fragmenting their life, thinking and action. Moreover, fragmentation has encouraged a man to think about himself as the main person. Researchers share rather ambivalent attitudes to the definition of narcissism. For some researchers narcissism was inevitably connected with the fragmentation of culture and estrangement of the human. Researchers stated that the humanity had very unhealthy relations with their own ‘selves’. However, Christopher Lash had a completely different opinion on the matter. For him ‘narcissism’ was an essential tool of socialization. Researchers define intellectual, esthetic, erotic, political, legal and other forms of narcissism and describe narcissism as the element of poetics and etc. There are culturological, sociological, psychological and other interpretations of the myth. At each stage of the historical development researchers gave their own definition of the myth about Narcissuses. The beginning of the 20th century can be called the ‘epoch of narcissism’. In the Russian culture of the early 20th century narcissism was something more than just an artistic device. In some way narcissism was a response to the nihilism of the epoch. It was the symbol of instability, direction in thinking and a form of existence in the world. and it had antinomies of the Silver Age such as reality and illusion, integration and fragmentation, life and death, subject and object, superficies and depth, activity and passivity, feminine beginning and male beginning, spirituality and physicality, common sense and mental disorder and etc. Narcissism of the epoch had an impact and on the form of artwork, too. Modernism was characterized by narcisstic interest towards language, metaphors, epigrammatism, radical disturbances of the linear pattern of the narrative and the tendency towards subjective distortions. The main feature of the present research is that it is interdiscursive, i.e. open for interactions between philosophy and literature, psychoanalysis, history and art. The dialectic method used in the research is inseparable from the culturalhistorical, comparative-historical and historical-philosophical research methods. The historical-philosophical method is used to analyze artwork in order to reconstruct spiritual and social concepts. Therefore, in the Russian culture of the early 20th century narcissism was something more than just an artistic device. It was the symbol of instability, direction in thinking or a form of existence in the world. We can define intellectual, esthetic, erotic, political, legal and other forms of narcissism and describe narcissism as the element of poetics and etc.

Keywords: narcissus, narcissism, the God complex, Fyodor Sologub, beauty, Salome, Christopher Lash, Zinaida Gippius, Lev Tolstoy, Andreev.

DOI: 10.7256/2305-6177.2014.2.12082

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