This paper addresses the “regressive” temporality of melancholic memory that developed cross-culturally within the modern, predominantly progress-oriented time-consciousness. Outlining the theoretical—Freudian and post-Freudian—perspective on melancholia, this essay continues with a case study of a text that embodies a particularly “regressive” response to a personal loss, Bruno Schulz's short story “Sanatorium pod klepsydrą” [Sanatorium under the sign of the hourglass, 1937]. My reading of this short story will be structured around the narrator's “trick” of turning back time, motivated by his willingness to keep the memory of his lost loved one, his father, alive. For Freud, such a “trick” indicates the failure to mourn, which results in the pathologic condition of melancholia. I will argue, however, that the narrator deliberately refuses to “work through” his grief because it is precisely through this circular and infinite regression that he explores his creative abilities and shapes his fluid modernist self. My analysis is particularly focused on the dynamic boundaries between the “real” and imaginary spaces that the narrator constructs, balancing and at the same time de-stabilizing the notions of separation and encounter, distance and immersion, determinacy and freedom. As I will show, through this process the narrator finds himself in between two realities, in a point of suspension, which becomes the only possible position or, rather, condition for modernist, hyper-reflexive writing.

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