Alexander Chernoglazov. Sublimation as a form of metamorphosis. Vol. 3. No. 2. 2018

Publication Details

Sublimation as a form of metamorphosis
Title in the language of publication: Сублимация как форма метаморфозы
Alexander Chernoglazov
Associate Research Fellow at the Sociological institute of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Address: 25/14 7-ya Krasnoarmeyskaya str., St. Petersburg 190005, Russia.
P. 63–72.
Language: Russian
Document type: Research Article


In the present article, a new approach for the notion of sublimation is proposed. It is traditionally regarded as a changeover of libidinal energy to a non-sexual aim with addressing it to socially significant objects. Once, however, the aim is another subject, the libidinal energy remains constant, while the sublimation is provoked by him within the agent of wish via metamorphosis — a creative, sometimes sacrificial act introducing this wish into the cultural and social milieu. We can see that already in Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” (an interpretation of Daphne and Syrinx myths is given in the article) the sexual nature of instinct is not evident, for it is not the object in itself, not the body, but the subject of passion that becomes its aim, the one whose unity is established and supported by the unity of the name. The enamoured deities themselves might be unaware of that: the true nature of instinct is revealed to them only ex post facto. The sublimation could be enabled only inasmuch as the aim of instinct becomes not the object, but the subject, a vivid, name-endowed being the lover seeks to “come to agreement” with. Therefore, the sublimation is performed not by the proper efforts: it becomes reality just owing to the other, whose metamorphosis determines the form wherein the wishes could come to agreement; this metamorphosis, this creative act is quite what produces the phantasms the human culture is essentially standing upon.


Instinct, wish, sublimation, metamorphosis, libidinal aim, Ovid, Marvell, Keats, Claudel, Joyce.


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© Alexander Chernoglazov, 2018

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