2016. № 1 (7), 592-606

Kazimierz Wielki University

Orel State University


The article regards the pragmatics of semiosis according to the semiotic tradition of Charles Peirce and Umberto Eco as a cooperation of the reader and the author on the basis of interpretative strategy expressed in the sign structure of the text.

The poem «A man falling asleep alone» by Josef Brodsky (1965) describes a man who suffers due to separation with his beloved. The analysis regards the text of the poem as postmodern, having rhizomatic branching structure and non-linear narrative. It is characterized by a possibility of coexistence of alternative worlds, transgressiveness of events and places. The main technique for the world’s model in the poem is a figure of chiasmus, intersection and fork, which is realized at all levels of the text — at actant, narrative and rethoric levels in particular. Thus, the gender exchange masquerade which characterizes the behavior of the man and his table acts as an interprenant of undersupply compensation through the art of poetry. And the interpretant, a sign of the second degree — a sign of a sign, is to be found not only in this text, but in the intertext (Tzvetaeva, Pasternak) also in the form of the autointertext, that is in the corpus of Brodsky’s poems of the Sixties.

The storyline of the hero’s separation with his beloved results in autopoiesis: selfbuilding of the hero, in this case — the transformation from the man who is just in love into a poet and a creator who is inspired by the Muse, and a creator who looks up to the «high trees». The potencies of the possibility of such an auto re-creation are demonstrated in the poem’s structure through a chiasmus as a figure of double invagination, double fork, defining open and undetermined choices of further behavior. This figure is significant for other characters too. Thus, a «rooster» and a «ghost» are binomial in the Brodsky’s text. If the «ghost» is a metaphor for jealousy, the «rooster» is an amulet of the persona. They appear in pair and are positioned in parallel — direct and cross chiasmic.

The interpretational dominant idea of the poem is the possibility to overcome the separation and sufferings with the help of the poetry, but it is complicated with the philosophical category of the Brodsky’s world model : the time.