Irina Schulzki deposited Психопоэтика меланхолии в романе Михаила Шишкина “Записки Ларионова” [Psychopoetics of Melancholy in Mikhail Shishkin’s Novel ‘Notes of Larionov’] in the group Autofiction on Humanities Commons 1 year, 6 months ago
Сommenting on “Notes of Larionov”, Mikhail Shishkin defined his own authorial role in it as follows: «A novel is a means of finding the way to that very primordial love. The author for the characters is similar to God». One can extrapolate this by saying that the author is not only and not as much God to the fictional characters as a psychoanalyst, although under certain circumstances these positions prove to be the same. This article offers a psychoanalytic reading of Shishkin’s debut novel, which tells a story of betrayal and guilt that the protagonist seems to suppress. However, Larionov’s memoir reveals — counter to his intentions — that the trauma manifests both in the plot and motifs — in the narration of sicknesses and other ailing states, and on the level of utterance — in speech breaks, memory lapses, negations, repetitions, elements of nonsense, and figures of speech. The text thus becomes a symptom. This essay demonstrates how void, abjection, failure, phantasm, the loss of and mourning an unreal object, as well as ambivalent relations with the Other play out in Larionov’s narrative. This complex of concepts, associated with the melancholic discourse, not only refers to the novel’s plot and motifs but also corresponds to the function of the floating signifier. The psychoanalytic instrumentarium allows to describe the novel’s literary exploration of the unconscious, and, on the metanarrative level, to define Shishkin’s reconstruction of the language and topoi of the prose of the XIX century as an act of melancholic appropriation.