Blok and Freud: A Figure of Melancholy

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Izabella Malej

Abstract

The early period of Alexander Blok’s work (from the period of the thesis) is a testimony to the experience of one’s own “I” combined with a journey to the unconscious. It is accompanied by a feeling of melancholy, a reaction to the opposition to reality, in which the poet’s powerlessness to cope with all that is external has sought shelter. The origin of melancholic states is a dream about the ideal of femininity, situating the poetic “I” on the boundary of reality and dream. Blok’s fi rst volume, containing Verses About the Beautiful Lady, shows that melancholy, as Sigmund Freud wanted, is a kind of spiritual crisis, manifesting itself primarily as a problem of the individual with others and with himself. In Freud’s mindset, melancholy becomes a central fi gure
in the perception of man, not so much as a mental illness, but a way of referring ego to himself and the outside world through confrontation. Blok emerges from this situation defeated: sadness and longing become two poles between which there exists the poet’s ego, stretched to the mental pain. The inseparable unity with the beloved object (the real person was the wife Lyubov Mendeleeva, while the mystical one is the Beautiful Lady) makes the Russian symbolist in a state of mental disharmony. The loss of the ideal leads him to the limits of nothingness. The world he feels is fragmented, heterogeneous, chaotic, and fi nally alien, and yet it is the only point of reference for the ego. Blok feeling part of the world, is at the same time alienated from it, his only
companion is himself – his lookalike.

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Section
Literary studies