Issue 1/2007

Pamiętnik Literacki 1 / 2007

Positivism: Between Modernity and Modernism

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Positivism is an epoch and a cultural phenomenon vastly important to understand the socio-cultural modernity and the origin of Polish artistic modernism. Positivist thinking is involved into Enlightenment dialectics – a socio-psychological mechanism described by M. Horkheimer and Th. W. Adorno in their Dialectics of Enlightenment (Dialektik der Aufklärung, 1947). This mechanism, penetrating the modern mentality, leads to the formation of artistic modernism in Europe. The dialectics of Polish positivism (variously treated by Teodor Jeske-Choiński, Zygmunt Szweykowski, and Henryk Markiewicz), analogous to dialectics of Enlightenment, leads to instrumental treatment of reason, reification of a man, and wasting of all sense. Thus, modernism constitute different artistic and ideological reactions to the crisis of positivist rationalism, such as decadence, worship of art, symbolism, utopia, interest in primitive cultures, nationalism, conservatism. The reactions in question appear also in writing and in the thought of the representatives of Polish positivism.

The Truth of Fear and Traps of Anxiety. Young Poland’s World Perception

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The author characterizes the functions of fear (anxiety) in Young Poland’s vividness and perception of the world. Omnipresent and various forms of anxiety strengthened the characteristic of the epoch pessimism, and also proved to be, as in the case of Tadeusz Miciński’s poetry, an existential challenge. The richest repertoire of anxiety neuroses is observed in Stanisław Przybyszewski’s writings, in which one can distinguish between three types of an alarmed man. The first is a searcher of liberation from the hell of fears (in prose poems), the second – an ambivalent slave to anxiety and a discoverer (due to his experience of fear) of the real being (in the novels on an artist), and the third, a perverse creator of a total terror which stimulates the protagonist’s imagination and also destroys him (in Satanist novels).

Brzozowski’s Nietzsche. A Reconnaissance

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The focus in Brzozowski’s Nietzsche. A Reconnaissance is the presentation of the relationships between philosophical-critical papers by Stanisław Brzozowski and Friedrich Nietzsche’s intellectual potential. For the Polish critic, the philosophy of the author of Unfashionable Observations becomes the problem of philosophical and aesthetic awareness whose influence voices on the level of ideology and style throughout his entire writings, though in an evolving manner. The text is not a systematic analysis of the relationships between the texts of the two philosophers in question; rather Nietzsche’s texts were treated selectively and synchronically and associations with Brzozowski seen here are of various kinds (from acceptance through keeping a distance to negation). Their power, which is of crucial importance, is proved by the degree of appropriation, interiorisation and reading of Nietzschean investigations in the perspective of Brzozowski’s own interests and reflections.

Dionysian Antinomies in Tadeusz Miciński’s “In the Dusk of a Golden Palace, or Bazilissa Teofanu”

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The main figure of Tadeusz Miciński’s drama In the Dusk of a Golden Palace, or Bazilissa Teofanu is a 10th century Byzantine empress. In the drama she appears for the first time in the church of Myriandrion – presented as a synthesis of Byzantine sacred art, Byzantine theology and liturgy. Bazilissa’s aim is reintegration of the reality contaminated with artificiality. Teofanu believes that she is an embodiment of the Word, of the primeval, and of a myth. She is portrayed with the use of magic spells, due to which sensations are given a universal character, and she is situated between vitalism and death, between the sacred and the profane. As Dionysus and Christ, Aphrodite and Persephone, Teofanu is a carrier of ideal forms which cause yearning. Her life reminds of a subtle ritual into which basic human experience and transcending moral barriers such as promiscuity, violence, ability to homicide are plotted. Revealing the basic instincts, she builds a pre-picture of a man that is not honored with primary divinity. The key-word of the drama is the proper name Dionysus: Teofanu personifies the unfinished story of Dionysus, without a perspective of being reborn and the possibility of reconstructing the ideal universe. Her proclaiming of a god-man power fails to lead to the change of reality. Byzantium remains a figure of axiological devastation while bazilissa embodies imperfection, unappreciation, and destruction.

Following the Cortege. On Young Poland Through Funeral Motives

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The text analyses funeral motives used in Young Poland and understood as meaningful elements of burial ceremony. The sources of investigations here are literary texts and social life events (Adam Mickiewicz’s funeral at Wawel). Funeral motives prove to appear in majority of Young Poland’s vital contexts. A sketch of the romantic model of reading the funeral motives (e.g. the motive of Homeland-graveyard) leads to presentation of their Young Poland’s reinterpretations (Wyspiański, Lange). The next stage is loosening the ties between funeral motives and patriotic subject matter. Excluded from this context, funeral motives actualize the theme of “beautiful death” (Tetmajer, Wincenty Korab Brzozowski and Stanisław Korab Brzozowski), supplemented with new explanations, or serve to express a rebellion against death. In sum, the text presents a shift from cultural-historical context of funeral motives to a universal question concerning the type of language to speak about death.

The Other Man, Foreign Matter, Own Type… On Zofia Nałkowska’s Personological Dictionary

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The article attempts at reviewing of the terminology connected with literary character referring to Nałkowska’s novels, diary, and journalistic papers. Nałkowska’s composing the personological dictionary is for the author one of the most vital element of a man’s philosophy which the writer gradually develops. An important aspect of this dictionary is the writer’s marked interrelation between the literary-critical and psychological terminology. As a result, the author analyses Nałkowska’s use of the terms of “matter”, “type”, “character”, investigates the frequency of the characters’ names, and the specific use of the word “man” as an element of aphorisms inserted into novels and diary.

The final part of the article refers to the terminology of Nałkowska’s literary workshop with created by Narcissa’s author expressions of “reality of writing”, “experienced reality”, “authenticity”.

In the concluding paragraph, the author notices the specifically understood expansion of Nałkowska’s dictionary. An expression of its power is pervading of Nałkowska’s terminology into the dictionary of her commentators, which proves the pertinence and autonomy of personalistic language greatly influencing Nałkowska’s portraying her characters.

In Aleksander Wat’s Archive
Review: Józef Bachórz, Jak pachnie na Litwie Mickiewicza i inne studia o romantyzmie. (Gdańsk 2003)
Review: Cezary Zalewski, Powracająca fala. Mityczne konteksty wybranych powieści Bolesława Prusa i Elizy Orzeszkowej. Kraków (2005)
Review: Bolesław Prus. Pisarz – publicysta – myśliciel. Redakcja Maria Woźniakiewicz-Dziadosz i Stanisław Fita. Lublin 2003. „Obrazy Kultury Polskiej”
Review: Wojciech Gutowski, Wprowadzenie do Xięgi Tajemnej. Studia o twórczości Tadeusza Micińskiego. Bydgoszcz 2002
Review: Dariusz Skórczewski, Spory o krytykę literacką w Dwudziestoleciu międzywojennym. Kraków (2002)
Review: Aleksander Fiut, W stronę Miłosza. (Kraków 2003)
Review: Marcin Całbecki, Miasta Józefa Czechowicza. Topografia wyobraźni. Lublin 2004
Review: Józef Czechowicz. Od awangardy do nowoczesności. Pod redakcją Jerzego Święcha. Lublin 2004
Review: Daria Mazur, Między Wschodem a Zachodem. Horyzonty aksjologiczne literatury europejskiej w lekturze Józefa Czapskiego. Kraków (2004). „Modernizm w Polsce”. Studia nad nowoczesną polską literaturą, sztuką, kulturą i myślą humanistyczną. [T.] 8
Review: Ewa Graczyk, Przed wybuchem wstrząsnąć. O twórczości Witolda Gombrowicza w okresie międzywojennym. Gdańsk 2004. – Janusz Margański, Geografia pragnień. Opowieść o Gombrowiczu. Kraków 2005. – Małgorzata Klentak-Zabłocka, Słabość i bunt. O twórczości Franza Kafki w świetle Gombrowiczowskiej koncepcji „niedojrzałości”. Toruń 2005. – Klementyna Suchanow, Argentyńskie przygody Gombrowicza. Kraków 2005
Review: Michał Siewkowski, Poetyckie światy Stanisława Swena Czachorowskiego. Toruń 2004
Review: Jacek Gutorow, Niepodległość głosu. Szkice o poezji polskiej po 1968 roku. (Kraków) 2003
Review: Logos i mythos w kulturze XX wieku. Pod redakcją Seweryny Wysłouch, Bogumiły Kaniewskiej i Moniki Brzóstowicz-Klajn. Poznań 2003. „Biblioteka Literacka »Poznańskich Studiów Polonistycznych«”. T. 35
Obituary: Zdzisław Piasecki (September 16th, 1932 – October 3rd, 2006)
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