Maria Manteuffel letters from the period 1844–1859 offer invaluable insights into the life of Polish gentry in the former Polish Livonia (Infl anty Polskie), incorporated into the Vitebsk Governorate of the Russian Empire. These letters of mother to her son Gustaw Manteuffel, student at the University of Dorpat (now Tartu, Estonia) who was to become one of great Polish historiographers of late 19th century, are an important historical source. Although they deal mainly with family matters, the mundane is interspersed with notes and comments which throw light on the Russian tax burdens and the social life of the aristocracy and the local gentry. An eye-catching feature of that correspondence is a string of Latvian (Latgalian) words and phrases which are interspersed into Maria Manteuffel’s sentences. There is not much we know about her life. Born in Wielony in 1811, she was heiress to the Drycany estate. In 1828 she married baron Jakub Manteuffel. Of their children only four sons survived to adulthood. Born into a Polish-Livonian family, Maria Manteuffel became a Polish patriot, patroness and sponsor of various patriotic initiatives. When the Drycany estate was sequestrated by the Russian authorities after the 1863 January Uprising, she moved to Lesno and later to Riga where she died in 1874. She was buried at Drycany beside her husband; in 1916 her son was buried in the same family vault.
This article combines a general introduction to the crime fi ction of Walery Przyborowski with a study of the structure of the plot of his novels. The analyses of ten of his novels conclude with a typology of their narrative schemes, shown in the context of certain invariant patterns and the conventions of related literary genres. While the main objective of this study is to outline the structure of crime story and the social issues depicted in Przyborowski’s crime fi ction, it also pays some attention to the ways in which it refl ects his concerns about contemporary life and the condition of Poland under foreign rule. Basically, Przyborowski’s formula is to make use of the staples of the genre – mystery, adventure, romance – and the techniques of the popular novel. Moreover, his novels, like all of the 19th-century crime fi ctions, are clearly indebted to the conventions of the historical novel.
This article takes up Adam Dziadek’s somatic approach to literature to explore the theme of erotic experience in two poems by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘L’amour Cosaque’ and ‘Amore profane’. With the help of inputs from gender studies and the contemporary theories of the subject it has been possible to profi le the ‘I’ of the poems as a deeply fragmented and sexually ambiguous subject, and, upon the evidence of the elusive autobiographical details woven into the text, as a subject suspended in a liminal space, between the real and the fi ctive world. After analyzing the body represented in the text, both perfect and decrepit, as well as traces of the poet’s carnality that interfere with the text and the reader’s sense of his own soma the article arrives at the following conclusion: in Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz’s lyrics the body seems to project its impressions and experiences onto reality, thus blurring the border between the inside and the outside.
In this article Maurycy Mochnacki’s martyrological and messianic declarations in the Preface to the Uprising of the Polish Nation in 1830–1831 are examined in the context of the martyrological discourse in the literature of the Great Emigration. Such an affirmation may appear puzzling given Mochnacki’s rejection of martyrological interpretations of Poland’s history or messianic readings of his political philosophy, let alone his reputation of being radically opposed to Adam Mickiewicz’s idea of the sacrifi cial victimhood of the Polish nation. In this study the ideological and rhetorical aspects of their statements are compared and analysed. There can be little doubt that in the Preface Mochnacki’s phrasing is steeped in patriotic pathos which seems to be at odds with the tone of his other writings. This article claims that it was a tactical move on his part: he chose the familiar martyrological loci merely as a means to enlist the readers’ support for his own pragmatic programme of restoring Poland’s independence. A general conclusion to be drawn from this apparent inconsistency is that already at that stage (The Uprising was published in Paris in 1834) the logosphere of the Great Emigration had become so dominated by the martyrological discourse that Mochnacki could not afford to ignore it.
Whereas Wincenty Pol’s topographical verse has usually been viewed as an expression of a ‘sentimental geography’, this article proposes a new reading of a well-known poem A Song about Our Land by Wincenty Pol in terms of ‘imagined geography’, a key term of an approach inspired by geopoetics and postcolonial studies. ‘Imagined geography’ refers to a poetic map, i.e. travelogue laced with motifs from the repository of national heritage. Its images, reshaped by the writer’s imagination, form an ideologically charged whole in which an emotive sense of place or scenery (‘touching the heart’) uncovers a complex cultural stratigraphy of the ‘imagined geography’. In the light of this approach, based on the insights of geopoetics, Wincenty Pol’s poem can be treated as textual representation of a map of the real and the symbolic territory of Poland.
In post-humanist studies of identity, otherness and exclusion – conducted within the de-anthropocentrism of the humanities – questions arise about the condition of non-human subjects (animals, plants, things) that gain the cultural and social status of Others. As non-human entities, they have a socializing value, cement interpersonal relations, attract people to certain places. They have performative, integrative and co-creating abilities. The posthumanistic “turn towards things” opens the room for the construction of their social (auto) biographies, a development which already has been taking place in contemporary children’s literature. The problem of the creation of (auto)biographies of non-human subjects is presented in this article on the example of the picture book Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear by Tomi Ungerer. The artist gives the non-anthropomorphized plush toy the status of a non-human subject and an active actor of social life as a medium of unoffi cial memory of the Holocaust. Ungerer consciously and innovatively uses the key determinants of the posthuman discourse, including intimate childhood experiences.
The problem of Hungarian identity is one of the themes of Stanisław Vincenz’s essays written at the time of the Second World War. Inspired by Wincenty Pol’s thinking about relationship between the sense of geographical place and literature, he decided to explore the ‘general impact of landscape’ and in particular identify the place that would convey the essence of ‘Hungarianness’. The article looks at various aspects of this problem in Vincenz’s essay ‘Landscape – the background of history’ in the context of his other essays in which the idea of place is discussed. In effect, the article lays down a theoretical formula of indeterminate spots in modern literature. The indeterminate spot possesses six constitutive features: changeability and transmutability; fuzzy borders; shifty positioning between utopia and atopia; great semantic potential; the experience of place is involved in irreducible inconsistencies but rests on a solid ideological foundation.