The I as the Eye: on Poetics of Ruins in I. Brodsky’s essay Homage to Marcus Aurelius


  • Danijela Lugarić Vukas Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Palabras clave:

Iosif Brodsky, ruins, modern subjectivity, textual “I”, Marcus Aurelius


The main aim of this paper is to offer a possible interpretation of meanings attached to ruins as image and metaphor in Brodsky’s essay writings, or, to be more precise, in Homage to Marcus Aurelius (1994), one of the essays that sets its narrative world at the ruined world that surrounds the narrator, elicit ambivalent sense of time and provoke complex thoughts of history as eternal cycle and dialectic process. Departing from the premises that ruins emancipate from social constraints, free senses and desires, enable introspection and foster creativity, I will expand the well-established thesis according to which Brodsky’s writings is structured on image of time as irretrievability and irreclaimability, which, in his writings, reverberates and re-creates an experience of continuous failure to discipline the memory, thus making any return impossible. Moreover, my aim is to show that the approach to Brodsky’s essays from the perspective of the analysis of ruins can offer us much more: for example, it can offer valuable insights into his understanding of the agency of authorial modernist voice in literature. Where, in a work of art, is the writer’s voice located? What does it mean to see and to write, and what does it mean to read? What role, in this process, is assigned to tradition, “eternal values” and cultural heritage?


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Biografía del autor/a

Danijela Lugarić Vukas, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Danijela Lugarić Vukas is Assistant Professor at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, and the Director of the Institute of Literary Studies, where she edits Biblioteka L monographs in literary criticism. Her research interests include the history of Russian literature and film, female prose writers, the culture of late Soviet socialism between myth and trauma, and Russian critical theory. Her recent publications include:  “Journeys to the Otherness: Myth, Class, and Gender in Russian Literature, Film and Popular Culture” (FF press & HSN, 2019; in Croatian); “The Cultural History of October Revolution: 100 Years Later” (ed., FF press & HSN, 2017, 2019; in Croatian), “The Future of Post-Socialism: Eastern European Perspectives” (eds., with J. F. Bailyn and D. Jelača, SUNY Press, 2018); “Myth and Its Discontents: Precarious Life of Memory and Trauma in Central and Eastern European Literature” (eds., with M. Car and G. T. Molnar, Praesens Verlag, 2017); “The Cultural Life of Capitalism in Yugoslavia: (Post)Socialism and Its Other (eds., with D. Jelača and M. Kolanović, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).




Cómo citar

Lugarić Vukas, D. (2020). The I as the Eye: on Poetics of Ruins in I. Brodsky’s essay Homage to Marcus Aurelius. Mundo Eslavo, (19), 141–152. Recuperado a partir de