Issue 1/2011

Pamiętnik Literacki 1 / 2011

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Romantic Elegiac Awareness. Kazimierz Brodziński’s Treatise “On Elegy”

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The paper aims to present Kazimierz Brodziński’s views on the elegy. The author of On Classicism and Romanticism  (publ. 1818) and On Idyll from a Moral Point of View (publ. 1823) is commonly regarded as a main theoretician and defender of idyll writing. Nonetheless, a careful reading of the two treatises, combined with an analysis of his thesis On Elegy (publ. 1822) reveals “other” Brodziński who not only doubts into the idyll’s life span at the beginning of 19th c. and also becomes an eulogist of elegiac sensitivity. In reference to the elegiac subject’s unique emotional state (the experience of instability of the world and one’s own transitoriness), the latter is defined by Brodziński’s attitude to time (connected with metaphors of vanity and melancholic consciousness of loss) and to space (which is a sensual equivalent of the subject’s emotions and attests his emptiness and loneliness in the world). Brodziński’s observations were contrasted with Friedrich Schiller’s treatise On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry (publ. 1800), which was Polish writer’s important source of inspiration, and with the tradition of “sweet melancholy” present especially in French art and literature. It might be concluded that the idyll in Brodziński’s considerations is a metaphor of vanished order and harmony whilst the elegy gives the fullest description of emotional and historical situation of the then man.

Mickiewicz – a Literary Historian in Paris Lectures

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The article views Adam Mickiewicz’s Paris lectures as a literary history. It shows the lecturer’s understanding of a literary work (categories that allow to conceptualize literature, i.e. “national literature,” “literary genetics,” “process of creation,” “literary process”), hermeneutics (analytical and interpretative activities) adopted by the creator, the methods of literary axiology, Mickiewicz’s project of literature, and the presentation of literary issues in the lectures in question.

“Salomea’s Silver Dream” as a Parade of Hybrids

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The essay offers a rereading of Juliusz Słowacki’s puzzling and semantically complex masterwork Salomea’s Silver Dream (1843) in the light of postcolonial theory. The author applies Edward Said’s concept of orientalism and Homi Bhabha’s notions of hybridity, ambivalence, and mimicry to the study of representation of Polish and Ukrainian literary characters and their interactions in the drama against the historical and cultural background of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Polish Romanticism. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Słowacki did not subscribe to the discourse of orientalisation of Ukraine as Poland’s “Other,” that dominated Polish writings of his era. The paper concludes that although Salomea’s Silver Dream was written by a Polish Romantic poet, it succeeded in transcending the limitations of the European political and literary ideas by offering a unique postcolonial perspective on Polish-Ukrainian relations, one in which the Polish presence in Ukraine was problematized, the Ukrainian agency was mobilized, and Ukrainian self-esteem was boosted.

Over the Abyss of History. Catastrophist Elements in the Rhetoric of Polish Messianism

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The present article is a reconsideration of the role of a well known but still quite ambiguous phenomenon of Polish cultural history: Catastrophism is understood here as a necessary by-product of 19th century Polish messianism. Since its very beginning messianistic thought has made use of a catastrophist mode of discourse: Historical events and political tendencies which are not compatible with the ideas of messianistic historiosophy are described as germs of future catastrophes and consigned to the realm of evil. The rhetoric of catastrophe is a means to manage the incommensurabilities between messianistic thought and historical reality. Often though, figures of exclusion and defensive struggle gain predominance, thus transforming the messianist utopia into a system of control and/or aggressive missionarism, as illustrated here on the basis of the writings of Józef Maria Hoene-Wroński and Jerzy Braun.

Romantic Memories in Charles Gounod’s “Shakespearian” Opera “Romeo and Juliet”

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Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet is subject to two overlapping tendencies. The first is the influence of the melodrama and pièce bien faite, the effect of which is the characters’ conventionality, pompousness, loftiness based on astonishment, and theatre effect flagrancy. On the other hand, Gounod’s work is the evidence of preservation of some notions peculiar to romanticism (harmony of antithetic elements, belief in eternal existence of love, opennes to infinity) and certifies the strenght of features typical of French romantic drama. Gounod’s opera libretto structural similarity to Hugo’s works (who rooted the theory of his drama in the analysis of Shakespeare’s accomplishment) highlights the link between the opera Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare’s romantic reception. As a result, Gounod’s work proves to be an interpretation of Shakespeare’s drama subordinated to romantic clarification and set within the framework of French melodrama and “well-made play.”

“Ariadna’s Tears.” Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz’s Poetic Cycle as an Affirmation of Existing in Nothingness

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The article concerns Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz’s Four Poems for a Dead Goddess (from the 2006 volume Good bye rooks) seen as a cycle and set against the poet’s other achievements. Founded on this, the author formulates a thesis that cyclicality is key feature of  Rymkiewicz’s creativity seen an a discourse displaying the paradox of disparity and repetition.  The cyclicality in question consists in the writer’s establishing among his texts the various relationships, links them into series, determines the proper idiom for them, and takes up the concept of eternal return. The interpretation of Four Poems effects in formulating a conclusion that Rymkiewicz transforms a myth to display Dionysian vision of the worls and to make poetry affirmation of existing in nothingness. The cycle dedicated to Ariadna performs the destiny of the goddess, it is an act of transgression and benefaction, and at the same time a literary event which induces performative reading.

Wielkopolska (Great Poland) in Franciszek Morawski’s Literary Interpretations. On the Poet’s Regional Interests after the November Uprising

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The article deals with Franciszek Morawski’s literary creativity devoted to Wielkopolska (Great Poland), the writer’s homeland. Regional motives relevant to us come to voice in his literary output relatively late, when Morawski returned to Poland in 1834 after a two-year exile in Russia, caused by his participation in the November uprising. The invaders made him settle in an estate in Lubonia, which he inherited from his father, far from the cultural centres of the country.

The poet for all his life cultivated classicist writing. He belonged to the leading representatives of the later phase of the Enlightenment epoch in Poland. He was characterized by a far-reaching aesthetic liberalism. Morawski showed a deep understanding of the Romantics. His  views in this respect manifest fully in the regional texts dealt with in the article.

On the one hand, those views consist of the works corresponding to romantic ballads, based on the beliefs of the Wielkopolska (Great Poland) people (yet, brought up by the rationalistic salons, Morawski tried to tame the fantastic motives embedded in him). On the other hand, the poet presents the land of his youth in the classicistic poems, in which he glorifies the culture of the nobility. This aesthetic dualism is in Polish literature of the first half of the 19th century an interesting experiment.

From a Lime Cradle to “New Moon Silver Cot”. Remarks on the Language of the Lullaby

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The article focuses on the changes of language and style in the different realisations of the lullaby. In a broad sense, the genre in question is understood as a category with blurred borderlines and encompasses traditional folk lullabies, lyrical lullabies for children, as well as poetic pieces that conform to the pattern. The analysis includes the style of lullabies of all aforementioned types, but primarily the literary ones. Literary lullabies (lullabies poems and lyrics refering to traditional lullabies) are, on the one hand, presented as recurring features stereotypically matched with the genre and, on the other hand, pieces that move away from the model and characterised by stylistic polyphony and employing contrast on a large scale.

An Unknown Poem by Adam Mickiewicz “[In Prince Golicyn’s Album]”?

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The article is devoted to a three stanzas version of so far unknown poem [In Prince Golicyn’s Album] found in the collections of The Library of the Poznań Society of Friends of Science and ascribed to Adam Mickiewicz. To date the poem was known only from copies in a one stanza version. The discovered poem is also a copy. In the article the author publishes the entire poem that was found and once again critically looks into the reports on the poem’s composition and the situation in which it was published. The second part of the paper is devoted to the poem’s addressee. To the alledged addressees recalled in the state of research, i.e. Prince Dmitri Golicyn and Alexander Golicyn, she adds the figure of Sergey Golicyn of the Starawieś near Warsaw, thus explaining the existence of the poem self-publishing in Warsaw and broader – in the Kingdom of Poland. The author ceases to settle Mickiewicz’s authorship of the poem; this issue can only be determined by the autograph.

Two Editings of Juliusz Słowacki’s “Future National Holidays”

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The articles contains a transliteration of the two existing handwritten accounts (two autpgraphs and a copy) of Juliusz Słowacki’s Future National Holidays, presents an editorial history of the “mistic calendar” and attempts to settle the relationship between its two versions. Finally, as a result of the analyses, it gives a new (different in detail form those to date) editing of the two versions of the calendar.

Mortkowicz, Pigoń, and Goliński Publish “Wind from the Sea”

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Jakub Motrkowicz published Wind from the Sea seven times in the years 1922–1939, Stanisław Pigoń – three times (in 1949, 1957, and 1967), and Zbigniew Goliński prepared a new edition of the text before 1997 (we have a 180 pages printout of Editor’s Notes and Variants of the Text designed for the series Collected Works). Textological problems, which refer to so-called sea trilogy under consideration, relate to the fact that the first edition of Wind from the Sea contained about 300 minor (typos) or major (omissions of words or sentences) errors. The typesetter, for example, mixed the font “ź” with the font “ż” 70 times. Żeromski’s text brings a number of archaisms, which in 1922 were disfigured, thus the editors’ task is to restore them, which is not always quite obvious. In the present paper the author introduces the term “philological indeterminate” to refer to the fragments of the text which might display a number of parallel or equivalent readings. A further research in the problems are to be found in the author’s sketch Compositor’s type case, scrabbler’s chart, and philologist’s workshop. On the attempts to establish the text of “Wind from the Sea” available on the Internet (e.g. Slaskiescrabble).

On the First Edition of Stefan Żeromski’s “Faithful River”

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The issue of the first editions of Stefan Żeromski’s novel Faithful River has not been settled unambiguously and undisputably to date.  In his analysis of the remaining copies and source texts, the author of the article shows that the first publication of Faithful River dated December 1912 in the total edition of ten thousand copies consisted of two mutations (i.e. full and censored version). The second publication (dated 1913) in the amount of six thousand copies also involved the full and censored version. As a result of such far-fetching censorhip intervention, Żeromski negatively estimated those versions which were designed for the readerhip under Russian partition. In the years 1913–1914 the editions met their expectations, since most readers lived under Russian partition and the role of book smuggling was not pivotal. The censored edition of Faithful River is in the Polish subject matter literature an exceptional and drastic example of Russian censorship intervention.

Adam Mickiewicz – a Romantic and a European
Review: Roman Koropeckyj, Adam Mickiewicz. The Life of a Romantic. Ithaca–London 2008

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The review contains a discussion on selcted aspects of Roman Koropeckyj’s book Adam Mickiewicz. The Life of a Romantic. The presentation of the most crucial advantages of the book, as well as some of the doubts it may raise, is accompanied by a reflection on the way Mickiewicz is perceived by foreigners and Poles.

An Important Book on “Forefathers’ Eve”, History and Romanticism
Review: Bolesław Oleksowicz, „Dziady”, historia, romantyzm. Studia i szkice. (Gdańsk 2008)

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The review discusses Bolesław Oleksowicz’s book on the various contexts of Adam Mickiewicz’s Forefathers’ Eve: biography, history, customs, and literary matters. The main subject of the book in question are constantly essential figures of Mickiewicz’s generation and their history shown against the epoch and in comparison to literature. Oleksowicz’s use of the category of generation and legend decides about the book’s methodological coherence.

Tracing the Entirety. Tradition and Culture in Mickiewicz’s Creativity
Review: Michał Kuziak, Wielka całość. Dyskursy kulturowe Mickiewicza. Słupsk 2006

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The review discusses Michał Kuziak’s book in which the author touches Mickiewicz’s attitude to tradition and culture. Kuziak’s main thesis refers to Mickiewicz’s comprehensive project of culture which consisted in reconstructing the sense of durability of the tradition of the epoch before the Enlightenment in order to retie the man with the surrounding world.

Mickiewicz: Between Speech and Silence
Review: Małgorzata Burta, Reszta prawd. „Zdania i uwagi” Adama Mickiewicza. Warszawa 2005

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Małgorzata Burta’s book is a monograph on Mickiewicz’s Notes and Remarks which combines a philological, comparative, and philosophical perspective. The author analyses the problems of Mickiewicz’s misticism in the context of his “caving into silence.”

Socialist Realism: Synchrony, Diachrony, and Comparative Studies
Review: Anna Artwińska, Poeta w służbie polityki. O Mickiewiczu w PRL i Goethem w NRD. Poznań 2009

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The review discusses a book on the functioning of the most important literary traditions in totalitarian countries (in PPR – the Polish People’s Republic, Pol. PRL, and GDR – German Democratic Republic, Pol. NRD) and on the use of national poets as means of propaganda (when introducing the system). Thus, the text describes socialist realism and its attutude to so-called progressive tradition (of Weimar Classicism and Polish Romanticism), and about Mickiewicz and Goethe, who were both purely instrumental in the PRL and NRD for years. An advantage of the book is not only a comparative view on the problems in question, but also a presentation of the disparities in the development of socialist doctrine elements in the two neighbouring Easter Bloc countries.

Norwidian Chronology
Review: Zofia Trojanowiczowa, Zofia Dambek, przy współudziale Jolanty Czarnomorskiej, Kalendarz życia i twórczości Cypriana Norwida. T. 1: 1821–1860. – Zofia Trojanowiczowa, Elżbieta Lijewska, przy współudziale Małgorzaty Pluty, Kalendarz życia i twórczości Cypriana Norwida. T. 2: 1861–1883. – Zofia Trojanowiczowa, Zofia Dambek, Iwona Grzeszczak, Kalendarz życia i twórczości Cypriana Norwida. T. 3: Aneks. – Bibliografia. – Indeksy. Poznań 2007

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The review puts the volumes of the Chronology under consideration into the perspective of the research in Norwid’s life and literary creativity to date. It emphasises the assidousness in reconstructing the facts in Norwid’s biography supported by present state of research, as well as verifies the unconfirmed and repeated assumptions and hypotheses found in many research papers. An attempt was also made to situate the publication into the field of the present-day knowledge on 19th century and contemporary humanities – no doubt the book in question fills the substantial gap in Polish literature and culture studies.

Mallarmé and Norwid – a Comparative View
Review: Piotr Śniedziewski, Mallarmé – Norwid. Milczenie i poetycki modernizm we Francji oraz w Polsce. Poznań 2008. „Kolekcja Europejska”. „Filologia Polska”. Nr 104

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The review discusses Piotr Śniedziewski’s book which offers methods of comparative studies of Norwid and Mallarmé’s literary creativity conceptualisation, the rules of hermeneutic analysis adopted by the author, the reconstruction of rhetorics of silence and silence world view characteristic of the two poets.

Polish Literature against the Experience of Modernity
Review: Maria Delaperrière, La littérature polonaise à l’épreuve de la modernité. Paris 2008

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The theme of Maria Delaperrière’s book is Polish 19th and 20th c. literature viewed from the perspective of modernity experience. The seminal lines and directions of changes of the literature in question are considered here in contrast with the phenomena of European (mailnly French) culture.

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