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Brilliant Schizophrenics Of The Soviet Union. Part 2 - Great And Terrible
Brilliant Schizophrenics Of The Soviet Union. Part 2 - Great And Terrible

Video: Brilliant Schizophrenics Of The Soviet Union. Part 2 - Great And Terrible

Video: Brilliant Schizophrenics Of The Soviet Union. Part 2 - Great And Terrible
Video: Stigma, Mental Health, and Families 2023, June

We are publishing the second part of a pathographic article about famous Soviet poets and writers of the 20th century who suffered from schizophrenia. This time we will talk about Velimir Khlebnikov, Daniil Kharms and Daniil Andreev. How has such a severe mental disorder influenced the work of these ingenious creators in such a positive way?

Velimir Khlebnikov

Velimir Khlebnikov
Velimir Khlebnikov

Velimir Khlebnikov (1885–1922) - Soviet poet and prose writer, the founder of Russian futurism; organizer of the "Presidents of the Globe" Society.

In the gymnasium, Velimir did not shine with success, as he "ruined" all his answers with a craving for unusual expressions. And he himself later admitted: "I was called blessed in the gymnasium" (OS Samorodova, 1972).

Since 1911, Khlebnikov led the life of a literary bohemian. But unlike others, he suffered from dromomania, an impulsive desire to change places, and constantly felt “space hunger” (Starkina S. V., 2007). “Khlebnikov traveled very often. Neither the reasons nor the timing of his trips could be understood "(Mayakovsky V. V., 1978). At the same time, he took with him a pillowcase filled with handwritten leaflets. And if one of the friends did not have time to get them out for publication, then all the written manuscripts on the way disappeared along with the “pillow”.

Description of Khlebnikov's appearance is typical for a mentally ill person: “When we met, for some reason, I saluted. His eyes often flickered with an expression of fright, like an anxious animal. This was especially noticeable during sudden meetings. No matter what they put on, everything in two days came into such a chaotic form that it became unrecognizable”(OS Samorodova, 1972).

His everyday habits were also peculiar. It is appropriate to quote the lines of one of his contemporaries, the poet Vadim Shershenevich. “Khlebnikov's washing should have been demonstrated to children in schools so that they know how not to wash. He poured water with great apprehension on perfectly straightened palms and could watch the water flow back for hours … Finally, he resolutely scooped up water, brought it to his face and at the last moment unclenched his hands, so that the water poured back without touching his face. Khlebnikov rubbed it for a long time with a towel, and if it was not there, then what horrible dry face. Sometimes he even combed his hair …”(Shershenevich V. G., 1990). It is very similar to the inappropriate behavior of the patient, immersed in his delusional experiences.

See also: Brilliant schizophrenics of the Soviet Union. Part 1

People around him were struck by "moral deafness" in Khlebnikov, or what psychiatrists call "emotional dullness." There is a well-known recollection of the writer Dmitry Petrovsky about how Khlebnikov calmly left him in a grave condition in the steppe, and later, upon meeting, said: “I found that the steppe will sing better than people.” And he added: “Compassion, in your opinion, and in my opinion, is an unnecessary thing””(S. Kalmykov, 1979). This is a typical deficit of compassion and empathy in schizophrenic patients.

Contemporaries noted the poet's "insane absent-mindedness." But the poet Ivan Gruzinov believed that this was "something more: indifference to everything and everyone … This is a genuine and complete withdrawal of a person from the world of reality into the world of thought and dream" (IV Gruzinov, 1990). The futurist poet Aleksey Kruchenykh recalled that Velimir “generally avoided the cultural and urban: all his life he was hostile to the telephone, preferred to sleep on straw or on a bare mattress, and threw the sheets on the floor” (Kruchenykh AE, 2006).

Psychiatrist Vladimir Anfimov in 1935 described in detail his acquaintance with the poet, which took place in 1919 in the Kharkov psychiatric hospital, where Khlebnikov was brought for a military psychiatric examination. The professor's conclusion sounded like this: "For me, there was no doubt that in V. Khlebnikov a violation of the norm, the so-called schizophrenic circle, in the form of splitting - disharmony of neuropsychic processes is developing" (Anfimov V. Ya., 1935).

All Khlebnikov's work is permeated with formalistic experimentation with the word. In fact, he began his activity with what he made out of “old words” and started constructing his own words and unusual phrases. In 1908, Khlebnikov published his first "brilliantly crazy" (the expression of the poet Mikhail Kuzmin) poems, saturated with neologisms:

Winging with gold writing of the

Thinest Veins, the

Grasshopper put a

lot of grasses and verses in the back of the coastal belly.

- Pin, pin, pin! - rattled the zinziver.

- Oh, swan!

- Oh, light up!

An example of the realization of a pointless neologism is Khlebnikov's Song of Miryaz: “There are peaceful shores at the omer. Myreens grew here and there through the crow's nests. The bottom is overgrown with sadness. The mortal-browed black grouse never tired of gagging, taking off on the morina. " According to the philologist Alexander Garbuz, “in terms of the psychology of creativity, we have a typical case of autistic thinking” (A. Garbuz, 2007).

In Khlebnikov's work, mental disorders are woven into a work of art, creating a kind of literary phenomenon. Thinking, changed according to the schizophrenic type, provided the poet with a "win" in cases of poetic word creation, manifesting itself in rare imagery and unexpected associations, but "such a change in the processes of perception entails a significant" loss "in most ordinary life situations" (Polyakov Yu. F., 1972).

Khlebnikov remained poorly understood for readers to the extent that everyone with schizophrenia is incomprehensible to those around him. The logic of his poems is too far from the generally accepted logic of versification and was based on the convergence of phenomena that are usually not related to each other.

Khlebnikov's course of illness was continuous, in other words, he was constantly ill. Therefore, we can assume that he has a schizophrenic process, as evidenced by: autistic thinking with symbolisms, neologisms, fantastic delirium of reformism; behavior disorders, eccentricity; volitional decline with inadequacy and mental infantilism (Shuvalov A. V., 1995).

The presence of schizophrenia brought a lot of new and original features to Velimir Khlebnikov's work, allowing him to leave a unique trace in young Soviet poetry

Daniil Kharms

Daniel Harms
Daniel Harms

Daniil Kharms (Yuvachev) (1906–1942) - Soviet poet and writer, member of the OBERIU literary group.

A talented child learned to read at the age of five, had an ear for music and was good at drawing. “Already in Petershul, Daniil Yuvachev's passion for theatrical hoaxes, for extravagant tricks was manifested … During his short life, Kharms created a system of behavior thought out to the smallest detail - from clothes and his own alphabet to poetic spells and pseudonym masks” (A. Aleksandrov, 1991).

His studies always remained in second place, and he had to finish his studies in another school, since Daniel “lived in his own world, there was some kind of inner work in it,” which had nothing to do with the school. The same story was repeated after entering the Leningrad technical school. “Already at the end of the first academic year, in June 1925, the following entry appeared in his notebook:“I do not fit the class physiologically”. In February 1926 he was expelled (Shubinsky V. I., 2015).

Because of his fancy clothes, he looked so unusual that Kharms was sometimes mistaken for a spy and his friends had to prove his identity several times at the police station (Kobrinsky A. A., Ustinov A. B., 1991). The customs and fashion of the late twenties of the last century, of course, differed from modern ones. Perhaps, in our time, Kharms's "outfit" would not seem very defiant. But against the background of that time, "its strangeness was especially noticeable" (Glotser V. I., 2015). Among other members of the literary group of "Oberiuts" "Kharms in a long plaid coat and a round hat struck with exquisite politeness, which was even more emphasized by the green dog depicted on his left cheek …" (Volgin I. L., 1985).

His relationship with children and women was very strange. The sense of absurdity inherent in Kharms was closer to the children, but the paradox was that the writer, who made a living with children's poetry and successfully performed in front of children, did not like them. According to the testimony of his wife, Marina Malich, he "all his life … could not stand children, he simply could not bear them … His dislike for children reached the point of hatred."

Relations with women were not quite usual either. Harms had an incredible number of mistresses. “He was in an intimate relationship even with his own wife’s half-sister” (Galperina I. G., Stuchinskaya A. A., 2008). The latter recalled: “He, in my opinion, had something wrong with sex. And I slept with this one, and this one … It was, I think, even somehow senseless, abnormal … We already had such a relationship that when, for example, I returned from work, I did not immediately enter - I came and knocked on a door. I just knew that he had someone there, and in order not to create a scandal, I knocked before entering. " (Glotser V. I., 2015). This fact indicates an emotional decline and a pathological lack of a sense of elementary tact in Kharms.

Among his friends were dominated by people who possessed illogical thinking and whose creative power was awakened by a mental disorder. “All these were people with a madness” (Petrov VN, 1990). This fact is quite expected, since it was easier for Kharms to get closer to people like himself. In addition, he was still extremely superstitious: “he got off the tram if the ticket had the number 6, or he returned home when he met a hunchback. A man with freckles meant good luck. I drank milk at the dacha only if all doors and windows were closed tightly”(Kobrinsky A. A., 2009). These are already signs of a paranoid syndrome.

In December 1931, the poet was arrested by members of the OGPU. The "Resolution on the performance of the search and detention of the suspect" stated: Kharms is suspected of being "a member of an anti-Soviet illegal group of writers." A trial followed and exile to Kursk.

From a letter to the writer A. I. Panteleev dated July 23, 1932: ““Kursk is a very unpleasant city … Here, among all local residents, I have a reputation for an idiot. On the street, they always tell me something afterwards”. … Kharms and in Kursk, apparently, did not refuse to wear unusual clothes”(Kobrinsky A. A., 2009). He lived on money sent by his relatives. The creative mechanism stalled, although Samuil Marshak offered him a job in children's magazines. “This mental paralysis, this inability to perform any kind of activity needs an explanation. Yes, Daniil Ivanovich was in exile, was ill, nervously exhausted … But after all, Mandelstam in Voronezh was in exactly the same position three years later - and it was there that his greatest poems were born”(V. I. Shubinsky, 2015). There can be only one explanation for this - psychopathological.

In 1939, Kharms began to show interest in psychiatry textbooks, and in September he went for treatment at a "neuropsychiatric dispensary." Was discharged from him with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some biographers believe that the poet deliberately simulated the symptoms of this disease. And the doctors testified in him: "crazy ideas of invention, relationships and persecution, considers his thoughts" open and external "if he does not wear bandages or ribbons around his head … Showed fear of people, had obsessive movements and repeated what he heard." Some believed that now he provided himself with excellent protection from political accusations (Kobrinsky A. A., 2009).

However, the "protection" was unreliable. On August 20, 1941, “the NKVD operative … came to the conclusion that“Yuvachev-Kharms DI, Ph. D. [counterrevolutionary] disposed, circulates in his circle K.-R. slanderous and defeatist sentiments””.

On August 23, 1941, an arrest followed, but as a result of a forensic psychiatric examination, Kharms was released from criminal responsibility and sent for compulsory treatment to the psychiatric department of the hospital at the transit prison. A council of doctors with the participation of Professor N. I. Ozeretsky established: “schizophrenia,“a long-standing disease, an unfavorable prediction … in the act incriminated to him is irresponsible, that is, insane …”” (V. I. Shubinsky, 2015). If we assume that Kharms was able to successfully simulate mental illness, then he extended his life by less than six months.

By the age of 35–40, psychopathic individuals usually adapt to life, find their social niche. Kharms did not have such an adaptation. Therefore, we can agree with the doctors who examined the writer that in this case it was a schizophrenic process. Moreover, it would be difficult to simulate schizophrenia twice, and even in a situation of wartime forensic psychiatric examination (Shuvalov A. V., 1996).

Kharms throughout his life showed himself as a mentally abnormal person. Some modern psychiatrists suggest that we could talk about the deliberate intensification of their psychotic symptoms by a sick person (Eryshev O. F., Sprints A. M., 2015). And this is a very real option, called aggravation by psychiatrists.

The poetry of Daniil Kharms consists of separate, sometimes unrelated phrases, which, nevertheless, create an atmosphere of a certain mood. And his neologisms fill the entire possible semantic spectrum: from understandable words to onomatopoeic letter combinations. The neologisms of Kharms have their own peculiarity: they are infantile and resemble words distorted by a child (Shuvalov A. V., 1996). In an anecdotal form, Kharms compares things and phenomena that are not comparable in the generally accepted logic of thinking.

The peculiarities of Kharms's creative thinking contributed to the fact that he became the founder of the literature of the absurd not only in Russia, but also in the world. We are once again convinced that literary creativity, original and peculiar in its content and form of expression, is created either by a mentally ill person or by a mentally abnormal person

Daniil Andreev

Daniil Andreev
Daniil Andreev

Daniil Andreev (1906-1959) - Soviet poet and writer, mystic philosopher.

The behavior of the son of the writer Leonid Andreev from an early age is already of interest, at least for a psychologist. The boy was told that his deceased mother and grandmother were in heaven. A six-year-old who grew up in a religious family “Danya decided to drown himself in order to meet his mother and grandmother, he was accidentally rescued at the moment when he was ready to jump into the river from the bridge” (Skorokhod N. S., 2013).

His room is also far from the banal design: on the wall "hung a map of the hemispheres of the planet he invented … The history of the states of this planet was written, and the walls were hung with portraits of emperors and politicians of these states", which were painted by Daniel himself (Morozova T. I., 1997). This fact testifies to the outstanding imagination of the future poet.

During his studies at the gymnasium, he begins to feel “the experience of a different reality,” which psychiatrists regard as a symptom of derealization. An example of this is the “vision of the Heavenly Kremlin over the Earthly Kremlin” and later “the experience of world history as a single mystical stream” (Andreeva A. A., 1993).

After graduating from high school, Andreev continues his studies at the Literary and Art Institute, but does not finish it. Since 1937, he has been experiencing "breakthroughs in cosmic consciousness" that can be viewed as another disturbance of consciousness - depersonalization. Weird behavior has appeared. He begins to walk barefoot in any weather, even in the snow. When passers-by began to look at him, Andreev put on slippers, having previously cut out the sole in them.

Working all his life, not counting wartime, as an artist-designer, Andreev constantly composed something. “Being the deepest mystic, he knew how to find the right words even for the almost inexpressible. And where everything that is visible, conceivable and expressed by familiar concepts ends … he himself created new concepts, new words, new names”(Usova IV, 1997).

In April 1947 - the occasion was another novel - Andreev was arrested in connection with charges of "anti-Soviet agitation" and "terrorist intentions." At the same time, relatives and friends were arrested, and all previously written compositions were destroyed.

Desperate wife asks her husband to conduct a forensic psychiatric examination. Doctors at the Institute. VP Serbsky came to the vague conclusion that Andreev suffers from a "labile psyche." The philosopher remains in a prison cell, where he continues his creative work.

Despite the conditions of imprisonment, Andreev's “breakthroughs” of the “other world” into the real world continued. His wife recalled: “In prison, these breakthroughs became frequent, and gradually a system of the Universe arose in front of him and a categorical demand: to devote his poetic gift to news about this system … works: “Rose of the World”, “Russian Gods”, “Iron Mystery” … Vasily Vasilyevich Parin, Soviet academician, physiologist, atheist, who became very friendly with Daniel in prison, told me with surprise: “There was such an impression that he did not write, in the sense of 'composing', and barely has time to record what is pouring on him”” (Andreeva AA, 1993). At night, Andreev plunged into a state of extreme concentration and "embarked on transphysical wanderings"while experiencing pseudo-hallucinations, when the patient hears voices not from the side, but inside his head.

Some biographers believe that the conditions of detention helped Andreyev “expand his mystical experience. Deprived of contact with the outside world, he learned to consciously manage the “transphysical wanderings of the soul” in sleep and in a state of wakefulness … Based on these revelations, Andreev began to write “The Rose of the World” - a grandiose treatise about the innermost structure of the Universe, about the mystical background of the entire history of earthly civilization and about the future destinies of mankind”(Vanderhill E., 1998).

The above descriptions are similar to psychotic attacks in schizophrenia, which, according to psychiatrists, “in their own way helped the creativity of … Daniil Andreev” (Volkov P. V., 2000).

A mentally normal person will hardly be able to understand the reasoning of Daniil Andreev, “when he, referring to his knowledge obtained with the help of pseudo-hallucinations, writes something like:“And then finally the third witsraor gave up his ghost”. Philosopher Vadim Rudnev believes that Daniil Andreev's psychotic concept of metahistory is "a philosophical manifestation of clinical autistic psychotic thinking with a denial of reality in favor of delusional ideas" (Rudnev V. P., 2002).

Thus, Andreev's famous book "The Rose of the World" can serve as an example of a combination of systematized delirium and philosophical insight. The sources of this mystical masterpiece were "visions" and auditory pseudo-hallucinations. In the book "Rose of the World" "deep and extremely sound reasoning about Pushkin, Lermontov or Dostoevsky … side by side with absolutely fantastic descriptions of metahistorical collisions, which have obvious features of a schizophrenic worldview." Among other things, “the text of Daniil Andreev surprises with a huge number of ridiculous words with“extranormal phonetics”” (Rudnev V. P., 2007; 2010).

The conclusion suggests itself: the psychotic concept of "metahistory" by Daniil Andreev is a delusional construction of a patient with schizophrenia

The general conclusion that could be drawn on the basis of the above articles is as follows: the thinking of patients with schizophrenia is defective and at the same time much more complicated than that of a healthy person. Paradoxical, but true


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