Irina Schulzki deposited Жестовость в романе Михаила Шишкина / Gesture in Mikhail Shishkin’s Novel “Taking Izmail” in the group Autofiction on Humanities Commons 4 years, 1 month ago
The article focuses on aspects of gesture in Mikhail Shishkin’s novel “Taking Izmail” (“Vziatie Izmaila”, 1999). The concept of gesture is frequently evoked in search of an alternative to speaking and rational meaning, since gesture, as a figure of muteness by itself, signals the nonsensical in the text and its production problematising the very possibility of verbal expression. Analyses of gestures in literature are faced with the same methodological conundrum as literary texts: how to verbalise the mute body. The article outlines possible directions of a gesturological criticism in Shishkin’s prose and grapples with gestures in Taking Izmail with respect to the motifs, the narrative structure, and the language expression. The recourse to the category of gesture is aimed at hidden potentials of the text and offers a different optics, or perception, of language. Gesture underlies the title of the novel (taking), the figures of authorial intervention (a grasping and punishing hand), the narratological metalepsis, and the organisation of the text as a system of convergences (flows) and divergences (series) intersected by a paradoxical element; finally, gesture is revealed in the temporal dimension (aion) articulated by the metaphors of a crack, a pendulum, and the circling Easter procession. Following the logic of the genesis of sense (Deleuze), gesture is defined as a formal medial element within the text structure occurring at the point of intersection and shift between body and language.