Antihumanism without reserve: the function of jokes and the  dimension of destruction in the recent poetry of (:)kivisildnik Cover Image

Antihumanism ilma reservita: nalja funktsioon ja hävituse mõõtmed (:)kivisildniku viimase aja luules
Antihumanism without reserve: the function of jokes and the dimension of destruction in the recent poetry of (:)kivisildnik

Author(s): Neeme Lopp
Subject(s): Estonian Literature
Published by: SA Kultuurileht
Keywords: Estonian poetry; 21st century; antihumanism; ideology; humour; poetics; psychoanalysis;

Summary/Abstract: In keeping with Kivisildnik’s disposition of construing poetry, which opposes any socially or culturally dominant value or meaning, his poetry of the first half of the current decade – especially in the collections Liivlased ja saurused („Livonians and dinosaurs”, 2011), (:)soari evangeelium („The Gospel of (:)soar”, 2012) published in collaboration with Navitrolla, and Inimsööja taksojuht („The man-eating taxi-driver”, 2013), but also Enne sõda ja kõike seda („Before the war and all this”, 2012) – strikes the eye with some antihumanist traits. Although Kivisildnik’s palette of literary devices had always implicitly spoken of antihumanist ideas („machine poetry”), the above collections mark a transition from implicit antihumanist pathos to a nearly explicit programme, which could as well be called an antihumanist counter-ideology. The mission of Kivisildnik’s antihumanist counter-ideology is to reveal the biologist and commercial foundation of the humanist illusion, i.e. to unfold the covert cynical core of humanism. To achieve this aim, Kivisildnik uses the reversal technique, creating a comical effect. The fun, however, is not innocent, as it enjoys seeing its object as small, low and despicable by exchanging an ideological hyperbole for a litotes, thus performing a symbolic neutering of the object. With the same purpose in mind the author is trying to neuter the humanist image of man, the core of which is human free will. However, this leads us to Kivisildnik’s paradox: the condition of the possibility of his vision is also the condition of its impossibility. As long as there are readers of that poetry the realisation of Kivisildnik’s vision of total destruction must be still a little away. Yet, with no more readers around the prophecy must have been realised. Thus, the poetry referred to above manifests itself as a kind of text of warning, with a constantly haunting menacing potential on its limits.

  • Issue Year: LIX/2016
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 770-785
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Estonian