The Physiology of Symbolic Language; Language and Ego, Language and Madness Cover Image
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Физиология на символистичния език; Език и Аз, език и лудост
The Physiology of Symbolic Language; Language and Ego, Language and Madness

Author(s): Plamen Antov
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Институт за литература - BAN
Keywords: Symbolic Language

Summary/Abstract: The article starts with the reception of symbolic poetry by its contemporaries (Vazov, P. P. Slaveykov, St. Mladenov), a reception which uses a distinct medical, clinical figurativeness, and studies the issue of the references of symbolic language and its relations to ordinary logic. Symbolic language is examined as a particular language area where laws which are not subordinate to communicative functionality function, an area bordering on nonsense, madness and the psychopathological. This destroyed referential is termed “hypertrophy of symbolic language”. It happens at the expense of the concrete psycho-biographical Ego, confessions available in the text, an Ego which the critics of symbolic poetry misunderstand. The study investigates the rupture between the poetic abstract Language and the concrete, biographical, socio-historical and psychological entity, the poet’s Soul. The purpose is to prove that what is usually considered a “metaphysical soul” is actually a strict language construct. It corrects the generally used notion that Modernism sets the Ego in the pivotal point of the creative act. Actually, Modernism operates with language, not with the Ego. It examines the ontological loss of the Ego in the collective element of the Language understood as a “structural and cultural unconscious” (Ricoeur), a loss which Symbolism realizes. The study postulates that the Language not the Ego is the absolutedominant in symbolic poetry. The Language is an only event. Poetry is reduced to its own physiology. The process is followed mainly through moments from the works of P. K. Yavorov, D. Debelyanov and T. Trayanov. The special role of heterogeneous phenomena as humour and wars (1913–1918) for the opening of symbolic language to the reality in Bulgarian poetry is examined too. The article discusses the symbolic language in Bulgarian poetry as a central, transitory stage between the traditional type of reflective lyrical poetry and the avant-garde, a stage when an important rupture between World and Language happens. Symbolic language is presented as a mirror which radiates an image, but does not reflect it. Therefore, the Madness of the symbolists is Culture, Language, not Nature. The madness of symbolic language and the madness in expressionism are differentiated: the former is the madness of Language, while the latter is the madness of the consciousness which the poetic language articulates.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 120-144
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: Bulgarian