Twentieth-century historians of Polish literature (e.g. Henryk Markiewicz and Grażyna Borkowska) unanimously agree that Waleria Marrené-Morzkowska was at best a second-rank writer. It seems that such negative opinions are founded, fi rst of all, on the critics’ low view of her favourite genre, the popular romance; and secondly on a critical survey of her work written in 1966 by Irena Wyczańska for a multivolume Guide to Polish Literature of the 19th and 20th Century (Obraz literatury polskiej XIX i XX wieku). This article attempts to revise the established view of her fiction by analyzing some of works, i.e. two novels, Leonora’s Husband (Mąż Leonory, 1883) and The Little Blue Book (Błękitna książeczka, 1876), and the short story A Duplex Woman (Dwoista, 1889). This reappraisal draws on the favourable assessments of her work of the first generation of her readers, among them writer Teodor Jeske-Choiński, literary historian Henryk Galle and Piotr Chmielowski, a leading literary scholar of the late 19th century. In their view her work rose above the level of run-of-the-mill romances and didactic fi ction thanks to her skill in combining the conventions of the realist novel with plots of popular romance.
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.
This article presents a comparative analysis of two poems, Stéphane Mallarmé’s ‘Soupir’ (1866) and Wacław Rolicz-Lieder’s ‘To My Sister’s Smile’, published in 1891. ‘Soupir’ is one of Mallarmé’s early poems, yet in many respects, as this analysis demonstrates, looks forward to the French poet’s mature phase and foreshadows the poetics of Wacław Rolicz-Lieder. Chief among the similarities are the autothematic focus and the intent to convey feelings of emptiness and longing for an ideal in poems refined to the point of préciosité. However, for all their preoccupation with the craft of poetry, either poet believed that inspiration was absolutely vital for creativity. This article argues that Mallarmé’s poetics, especially his ideas of inspiration and originality, was taken over by Wacław Rolicz-Lieder, who adapted it to suit his own poetic project.
This article examines Henryk Sienkiewicz’s proto-racist distinction between the gentry and the commoners in his novel With Fire and Sword (1883–1884). This division, which is believed to be part of the divine world order, credits the commoners with an inferior humanity. It is founded on a set of essentialist beliefs – that social class is inherited, that ‘noble blood’ confers superiority, and that physiognomy bespeaks high birth (you can tell a noblemen or noblewoman by their physical appearance). As the article claims, Sienkiewicz allows no room for a voice questioning those beliefs, let alone exposing their class-bound arbitrariness.
This article examines Słowacki’s preoccupation with eroticism in some of his works and in his correspondence. The first part focuses on his poem ‘In Switzerland’ in which the relationship between the characters is shrouded in ambiguity and the sexual theme is treated in an elliptical manner. Beatrix Cenci, a Romantic drama showing the fi lthy, predatory aspects of sexuality and eroticism, is analysed in the second part of the article. It is followed by a discussion of Słowacki’s correspondence with Leonard Niedźwiecki, conducted in French. The article examines the ways in which the choice of the French language appears to have infl uenced the poet’s articulation of his intimate experiences and desires.
This article outlines the approach adopted by Władysław Syrokomla (the pen name of Ludwik Kondratowicz) in his translation of Latin verse and examines, by analyzing some of the poems he translated into Polish, how it worked in practice. He believed that the translator should strive for an empathic attunement to the writers voice (Einfühlung) while ‘remaining oneself’ and that abandoning ‘slavish imitation’ was the best way to animate a poem (an approach much criticized by philological authorities). These ideas are discussed in the fi rst part of the article; the second part contains analyses of his translations of Latin odes written by Maciej Sarbiewski, i.e. Ode I 19 (Ad caelestem adspirat patriam), II 3 (Ad suam testudinem), and IV 12 (Ad Ianum Libinium. Solitudinem suam excusat). Syrokomla does not engage in any intertextual games with the ancients; instead, he adapts the original to the formal and stylistic conventions of his time, most notably the Romantic concept of the poem as a projection of a poetic consciousness (‘ego’). In effect, Sarbiewski’s (neo) classical poetic personas become versions of the Romantic hero, most conspicuously in the case of Ode IV 12.
This article is a critical reappraisal of Juliusz Słowacki’s translation of Calderón’s El príncipe constant (1843), which acquired a place of its own in Słowacki’s oeuvre and continued to attract a lot of interest throughout the 20th century. Its lasting appeal is due to its extraordinary unity of tone, dramatic construction and stylized language, which in effect, as some critics have said, out-Baroques Calderón’s Baroque original. This article analyzes this contention in detail and tries to answer the question what were the sources and reasons of Słowacki’s fascination with the 17-th century Spanish poet and playwright. The second part of the article deals with two of the 20th-century stage productions of the drama and the adapters’ handling of Słowacki’s text. The summary includes a brief survey of the treatment Calderón’s heirs accorded to his key trope perigrinatio vitae (‘life is pilgrimage’).
The article examines the relationship between the lyrics and prose of Mieczysław Romanowski, the most talented poet of the last generation of the Romantics, and the work of other contributors of the weekly magazine Dziennik Literacki, published in Lwów between 1852 and 1870. Although their concerns and poetics have a lot in common, the high tone of Romanowski’s patriotic art is distinctly his own. In this article the analysis of his poetry is complemented by an examination of his essays and other writings which contain his views on contemporary social issues.
The article analizes Stanisław Pigoń’s essay ‘Some Golden Thoughts on the Chair of Polish Literature’ written to commemorate the 600th jubilee of the Jagiellonian University. Stanisław Pigoń (1885-1968), Distinguished Profesor of Polish Literature, had it published in the Cracow weekly Życie Literackie in May 1964; its expanded version was published two years later in a volume of essays Drzewiej i wczoraj [In the Old Days and Yesterday] in 1966. Both versions were published again in a a bibliophile volume in December 2018 (the manuscript and the printed versions). At the heart of Pigoń’s essay are the twin ideas of freedom and the ‘spiritual life of the nation’, borrowed from Juliusz Słowacki’s epic poem The Spirit King. The article examines Pigoń’s key theme and the manner in which, as he saw it, it shaped the lectures of the most eminent professors of Polish literature in the 19th and 20th century (Michał Wiszniewski, Karol Mecherzyński, Stanisław Tarnowski, Ignacy Chrzanowski). Pigoń’s survey ends in 1910, but, as the author of the article observes, by that time the ideas he so strongly believed in were as relevant as ever.
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.
The article attempts to outline Adam Mickiewicz’s concept of subjectivity. He introduces it in his visionary poetic drama Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve) where a radically ambivalent situation is presented through the duality of the main character Gustaw/Konrad. The article describes this duality in terms of Paul Ricoeur’s distinction between cogito exalté and cogito brisé. In Dziady Mickiewicz dramatizes the transition from exaltation to dejection, the condition of cogito brisé (living with a wound). His romantic subject cannot throw away his past, but because he is acutely aware of his failings and his inadequacy he is able to free himself from delusions of grandeur and self-centered pride. The condition of uncertainty, inadequacy and chronic insatiability is like a gaping wound or a lack which may lead the ‘I’ to open up and seek the Other. It is a vision of man who knows he is deeply flawed but capable of pursuing a noble desire; vulnerable and fallible, beset by ‘endless error’ and yet able to act and get his act together; self-centered and yet, because of the relational nature of the human identity, capable of redirecting his emancipatory energy to Others. It can be summed up the concept of homo capax (homme capable) which, as this article argues, provides the key to Mickiewicz’s anthropology.
After moving to Italy in 1856, Teofil Lenartowicz, inspired by the great Italian art and supported by the best Florentine artists of the time Giovanni Dupré and Enrico Pazzi, began studying sculpture. Lenartowicz’s sculptures were always connected with literature: his work shows howone influenced the other. It is no accident that his style as a sculptor has been called ‘poetic’ by the critics. The Polish immigrant was fascinated by the Italian Renaissance, and especially by the art of Lorenzo Ghiberti. At the same time, he never forgot about Polish folklore, which played a significant role in his artistic vision. One of the most impressive examples of this intersection of influences is the bas-relief The Holy Workers, complemented by a poem bearing the same name.