"...täällä et hallitse sinä, vaan Proserpina"

"... you do not rule here, Proserpina does." - An introduction to the theme of death

The article discusses the motif of death in the urban semantics of St Petersburg. In an artificial process of westernisation, the city did violence to the popular Russian psyche. Examples from the history, architecture and literature of the city show how the motifs of the absurd and grotesque, of alienation, death and destruction dominate the spiritual and historical reality of the city. Osip Mandelstam's poem from the year 1916 reveals the way in which the cultural nostalgia of St Petersburg as a bygone world, a paradise lost, is connected with the Greek myth of Persephone. Thanatology, the study of death in civilisation, is an original and novel philosophical movement in St Petersburg, with the macabre style of necrorealism as its youthful parallel. Aleksander Demitshev, a major thanatologist philosopher, discusses the aesthetics of the new St Petersburgian necro-films, where death as "the Other", an explosion in the proper Nietzschean spirit, undoes conventional logic and routine. In its furious dangerousness it, paradoxically, brings the weary and false civilisation back to life.

Login Form