Among the tasks the literary historian undertakes is a multi-faceted analysis of the image of the city contained in the Polish Enlightenment writing. Raising it as a subject of interest which is different from the scrutinised variant of the motive based on the anti-urbanistic rhetoric, and connected with urban life criticism, is possible, inter alia, due to applicability of the newest findings of research in the fields of humanistic geography and memory studies. The article suggests an expansion of the research field and employing less known literary studies tools to pinpoint and describe the various components of the conceptual model of the city profiled by the writers of the epoch.
Remarks on a Winding Way of Return
Józef Elsner’s and Józef Franciszek Królikowski’s literary theoretical statements about the reciprocal relationships between poetry and music form the subject of the article. Marking the numerous convergences in the aesthetic views expressed by the two figures, the author of the paper also concentrates on the polemical threads. She first and foremost focuses on such aspects of Królikowski’s thought that allow to view him as an opponent of perceiving the music-literature relationship through the prism of strict conformity between the arts, and she points at Elsner as at an advocate of those views. In this approach, the reflection of Warsaw pseudo-classicist authors concentrated mainly on the modes of forming “poems for singing” not only precedes the modern discourse on the Polish syllabic-accentual verse, but also commences a Polish discussion on the “musicality” of poetry understood in the context of close analogies and correspondance des arts.
Contrary to publishing a few crucial papers in the poetry of Polish Freemason poetry of the 18th c. and beginning of 19th c. (until circa 1831), the issue of Masonic religious verse has so far been discussed only marginally. It is uncertain whether, in general, we can use the term Masonic “religious” poetry, though it seems that, facing the continuously reappearing issues and a plethora of sacral motifs found in the pieces used in Freemasonic practice, we can resort to such category. The analysis is performed on a few collections of Masonic poetry from the beginning of the 19th c., namely by Józef Elsner (1811), Feliks Gawdzicki (1814), Tadeusz Wolański (1817 and 1818), Franciszek Budziszewski (circa 1820) and other. The analysed threads and motifs indicate that the Masonic circle naturally applied characteristic phraseology, explicitly differentiating brethren from laymen, and a set of special Masonic songs connected with the rite; additionally they used the commonly known literary pieces that primarily reflected the attitudes to all forms of transcendence that were peculiar to the 18th c. Enlightenment poetry. They eagerly resorted to Ignacy Krasicki’s songs, and the Mason stylistics proved to have much in common with clusters or words as well as with formulas of poetry typical of both Classicism and Sentimentalism. Condemnation of fanatism, ignorance, and superstition, accusations of grand institutions for unpardonable overuse in the past went parallel to a positive programme, a symptom of the 18th c. humanitarianism and strive to enlighten wide social groups, as well as led to sacralisation of such categories as Charity, Virtue, Friendship, Education, and also Homeland.
Landscape presentations in Ignacy Krasicki’s creativity are neither lengthy nor occupy the leading role. Since one finds them in both poetry and in prose, they deserve examination. The analysis of Krasicki’s landscapes is meant to reveal the way they are built, the function they perform and also the mode the writer made references to the landscapes he was familiar with.
The article refers to those problems in two collections of Krasicki’s poems, namely Wiersze różne (Various Poems) and Wiersze z listami (Poems with Letters). Images of landscapes are found in minority of the pieces from the collections and form no pattern. To produce them, Krasicki first and foremost employs the Arcadian topoi, often modified. The landscape in majority of instances has no separate meaning, but is used in considerations typical of Krasicki’s poetic reflection. Most developed and complex functions of recalling the landscape are found in List imieniem brata do siostry (Brother’s Letter to His Sister) (a local landscape of Lidzbark and bishop Krasicki’s mansion) and in Opisanie podróży z Warszawy do Biłgoraja (An Account of a Journey from Warsaw to Bilgoray) in which he uses elements of a play (also autobiographical) with the conventions of journey descriptions.
Or How to Read “Monachomachia” and “Antymonachomachia” (“Antimonachomachia”)
The paper suggests such a reading of Ignacy Krasicki’s two mock heroic poems, namely Monachomachia and Antymonachomachia (Antimonachomachia) that, probably in accordance with the poet’s intention, moves the pieces’ allegedly satirical meaning in reference to the monk society to the background, and exhibits their artistic mastery, still vivid comedy, complexity of communicative and intertextual relationships. The author of the article shows the similarities and differences between the pieces, marking that the first piece and its reception is the theme of the second. Above all, however, attention is focused on the present in the poems attitude of the poet to the world which reveals manifold feeling of disagreement, e.g. between language and reality, cause/intention and effect, oftentimes also the absurdity and unsurpassed ridiculousness of human stances. The key factor here is also, especially in the case of Antymonachomachia, variously conceived truth.
“Spór rymotwórski” (“A Rhyme-Forming Dispute”) of Krasicki and Naruszewicz
The article discusses a 1780 polemics between two most outstanding representatives of Stanisław August Poniatowski’s times, namely Ignacy Krasicki and Adam Naruszewicz. The author of the article argues that against the background of the seemingly trivial dispute about the superiority of one alcoholic beverage over some other, one discerns a more crucial issue connected with the choice of the tradition on which the feeling of collective nationality within the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania should be built—also the reason of forming a point of reference for the future prospects put forward to the general public. An analysis of the pieces composing the brochure Spór rymotwórski między chwalcami miodu i wina (A Rhyme-forming Dispute between the Eulogists of Mead and Wine) leads to a reconstruction of the differences that, in reference to the problem, exist between the two poets who belonged to the closest co-workers of King Stanisław August.
The author of the article focuses on the artistic shape and the functions of the elements’ metaphorical images in the poems by Franciszek Dionizy Kniaźnin, one of the most important lyrist of the Polish Enlightenment. Employing the means of expression discussed in the paper, the poet attempted to fathom the difficult reality he was surrounded by, but also confirmed his connections with specific people and occurrences. An analysis of the metaphorical images of the elements in Kniaźnin’s pieces reveals his deliberate and intentional use of the representations, mainly of fire and air, devoiding them of their ordinary phraseology. The analysed metaphors well support the view of Kniaźnin’s creative imagination, its creative aspects, as well as his spiritual and emotional sensitivity, alongside of the dynamic character of the reality he perceived around him.
The article refers to Potocki’s relation with distinguished society. The author of the sketch attempts to present the relations extensively, namely from the perspectives of the various roles (aristocrat, man of the world, scholar, man of letters, traveller, the Orient expert and admirer) that Potocki approved and internalised.
A man who accepted the salon was Potocki an aristocrat: his noble origin equipped him with the set of ideas and conventions consistent with the salon societé expectations. On the one hand, as a man of the world, Potocki was able to be liked, had several social values that ensured success. On the other hand, he was eccentric which put him to conflict with the accepted rules of behaviour. The other rules mentioned above first and foremost spoiled his contacts with the grand monde. The rules suggested the axiology that was different from that of the salon, equipped him with extensive experience and sound knowledge which easily surpassed the image of the great world. Erudition, traveller’s achievement and literary talent yet brought him respect and esteem. Thus, Potocki’s attitude to the grand monde is complex. The société saw him as an original figure, an effect of the complexity.
Hypotheses on Attribution and Cultural Circulation of an Italian Song Popular in the Age of Enlightenment
The article discusses the circumstances accompanying the dissemination of one of the most popular European 18th c. theatre melodies that, as so-called “Venetian song,” was known to Warsaw audience from the year 1790 when, as Dominic’s song was heard in Taczka occiarza (The Vinegar Maker’s Wheelbarrow), a play translated and adapted to the Polish audience by Wojciech Bogusławski.
The paper also reveals the mechanisms that impede recognition of the melody’s Italian original, namely the aria La mia crudel tiranna (The Maid of Lordi), from the year 1749 inserted into many European comic operas, and at the turn of the 18th and 19th c. was popular in salon music performances of various nature (from occasional, satirical songs of political character to freemasonic ballads).
The evidence of the strong presence of the “Venetian song” in the 18th and 19th c. music culture is found in many documents of the epoch, both in musical prints and in French, English, Irish, and American songbooks. The sources acknowledge the many variation transformations of the melody and its contrafact usage.
On Cyprian Godebski’s “Grenadier-Filozof” (“Grenadier the Philosopher”). Introductory Remarks
The primary goal of the sketch is an attempt at grasping the modes of protagonist presentation in Godebski’s piece Grenadier-filozof (Grenadier the Philosopher). Special attention is paid to such parts of the text that refer to appearance, behaviours, and emotional states of the protagonists, all being key parts which, in a broader perspective, allow to answer the question about the ways of manifesting the self in the analysed piece and the connections of the mentioned ways with the modernity crystallising in the Enlightenment. Among the modes of protagonist presentation of which Godebski took advantage we may find, inter alia, influence of sentimentalism, the literary trend that favoured searching for new ways of expressing the subject which were also crucial from the perspective of the subsequent transformations in the sphere of identity that took place at the turn of the 18th and 19th c. The strategies under scrutiny induce to consider the influence of authenticity ideal, which finds its implementations in the thoughts of the leading representatives of the Age of Reason, on the desired patterns of behaviours and interhuman relations presented in Grenadier the Philosopher.
The paper analyses the tradition of exempla in Anna Mostowska’s novel Matylda i Daniło (Matylda and Danilo) (1809). To effectuate this task, it recalls the narrations from two collections, namely Joannes Major’s Wielkie zwierciadło przykładów (Great Mirror of Examples) (Polish translation by Szymon Wysocki from the year 1612) and Michał Jurkowski’s Historyje świeże i niezwyczajne (Fresh and Unusual Stories) (the first part of the 18th c.). The article reveals the ‘long-lasting’ of certain fictional schemes and motifs (a penitent ghost, attitude to monastic life, suffering of a purgatory soul, or the redemption of sins and salvation of an individual) present both in the preacher’s examples and in the novel in question. The patterns of Western European horror novel are in Mostowska’s piece modified through the conventions of applied texts—exempla.
Remarks on the Reception of Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz’s Creativity in the Polish People’s Republic
The article presents Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, a figure of the literary and political life of the end of the 18th c. and the first half of the 19th c. The writer’s rich creativity in its full form has only recently arisen interest of literary historians. The belated academic reception has its source in the specific approach to the reading of Niemcewicz’s works in the Polish Peopole’s Republic when Powrót posła (Return of the Deputy) was introduced into the school canon and published in mass edition, thus consigning the remaining pieces to oblivion. Niemcewicz was included into the group of so-called progressive writers, and welcome in the post-Yalta realities. His later works, written after the year 1795 by an authority who produced socially-committed literature (anti-Russian tones), did not undergo such manipulation. Interest in Niemcewicz’s entire creativity increased when researchers restored the year 1795 as a turning point, and that took place at the decline of the Polish People’s Republic.
Remarks on the Margin of Leon Koźmiński’s Book
In Leon Koźmiński’s book Voltaire finansista (Voltaire the Financier), Voltaire is presented from an unknown side—not as a philosopher or a poet, but as a businessman. The author of the paper considers the possible aspects of Voltaire’s entrepreneurship that may raise interest of historical sociology scholars. He also pays attention to the merging of the social roles of the entrepreneur and the philosopher, and Voltaire’s mingling into the then political establishment, to the differences between the social and economical landscape of such cities as London, Amsterdam, or Paris, and those of the central Vistula. Impossibility of dealing with money or investments of the Polish nobility contrasted to Voltaire’s activity proves interesting. In Poland at that time a nobleman was to manage a farm or serve the army, while financial activity was given to the Jews, which brought about multiple and long-lasting consequences.
From the point of view of historical sociology, it is vital to discern the crucial influence of the state’s central power on the economic activity of the individuals, as well as the ways the then power transferred message to its people, including the entrepreneurs. The author is interested in the forms of activity that were seen as acceptable when making economical decisions. The image of the modern, according to the criteria of its time, farmstead sketched by Voltaire is worthy of attention.
A separate issue, also of interest to the historian researching the sociological borderline, is the use of Voltaire’s correspondence in the analysed study. As it is obvious that we lack social opinion material of the old days, employing pieces of information from letters is especially advantageous in spite of the many difficulties that this source poses to its readers.
Review: Rolf Fieguth, „Sobie wielki”. O pięciu zbiorach lirycznych Franciszka Dionizego Kniaźnina. Warszawa 2018
Rolf Fieguth’s book about Franciszek Dionizy Kniaźnin’s poetry is the first so extensive monograph from the time of Teresa Kostnkiewiczowa’s study publication Kniaźnin jako poeta liryczny (Kniaźnin as a Lyric Poet, 1971), and it is viewed as an attempt at a comprehensive reading of his poetry. Fieguth analyses the collections of Kniaźnin’s poems in a chronological order: Erotyki (Erotic Poems, 1779), Carmina (1781), Wiersze (Poems, 1783), Poezyje (Poetry, 1787) and pieces from Rękopis Puławski (Manuscript of Puławy, 1794–1796). The researcher points at numerous connections between the individual pieces, examines the modes of grouping them into lyrical cycles, discusses the functions of lyrical subject, intertextual relations, references to ancient literature, and, first and foremost, to Jan Kochanowski (especially his Treny <Laments> and Muza <The Muse> both of which Kniaźnin translated into the Latin language). Fieguth’s most crucial achievement is viewing Kniaźnin’s Polish and Latin output as a whole independent of language (Polish and Latin) and having common features, but also intermingling in many ways. Fieguth appreciates both the Latin volume of Kniaźnin as well as Poems from the year 1783 that include the first editing of Żale Orfeusza nad Eurydyką (Laments of Orpheus for Eurydice), the cycle that from that moment became most vital part of composing subsequent editions of Kniaźnin’s poetry until the last one written down at the twilight of the poet’s conscious life. Important observations are also included in reference to the two last collections, namely Poezyje (Poetry) and poems from the Manuscript of Puławy.
Review: Tomasz Chachulski, Edytorstwo jako historia literatury i inne studia o poezji XVIII wieku. Warszawa 2019
The review discusses Tomaaz Chachulski’s book on the editing of the texts of the Enlightenment. It consists of 14 essays referring to the 18th century literary culture and poetry and are arranged into three thematic parts, namely Szukanie kształtu (Looking for shape), Szukanie sensów (Looking for sense), and Szukanie źródeł (Looking for source). In the reviewer’s assessment, analysing the history of individual piece editions, Chachulski proves that not only in theory, but also in practice, editing may be presently understood as a literary history.
Review: Bożena Mazurkowa, Z potrzeby chwili i ku pamięci... Studia o poezji i prozie oświecenia. Warszawa 2019. „Rozprawy Literackie”. Nr 92
The review discusses Bożena Mazurkowa’s book Z potrzeby chwili i ku pamięci… (For the needs of the moment and in memory of…, Warsaw 2019) that includes eight studies in the poetry and prose of the Enlightenment. The studies refer to occasional, occasional-social and applied pieces by, inter alia, Ignacy Krasicki, Stanisłąw Trembecki, Franciszek Dionizy Kniaźnin, also by less known authors, poets supported by patrons, and anonymous writers, as well as papers in epistolography, adventure literature, and the Kabbalah. The reviewer points at the source, fact-collecting, and analytical changes referring to the first editions of the studies; accentuates the revealing aspects of the studies, new recognitions for the state of research in the Polish Enlightenment, and inclusion into the examination of prophetic texts of amusement character. Attention is also paid to the diversity of the author’s workshop, the methods of analysis she uses, and abundance of texts she uses in her investigations.
The paper is a remembrance text about professor Józef Tomasz Pokrzywniak, a distinguished scholar specialising in the Polish Enlightenment literature, especially in Ignacy Krasicki’s and Jan Gorczyczewski’s creativity, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań employee, Dean of the Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań. Professor Józef Tomasz Pokrzywniak was a member of many institutions that linked scholars and Polish teaching organisers all along Poland.
The remembrance is devoted to professor Mieczysław Inglot, an outstanding specialist in Polish Romantic literature and its meritorious populariser, researcher mainly in Juliusz Słowacki’s and Aleksander Fredro’s creativity, and editor of their output. The professor’s field of interest also included so-called minor authors’ home literature 1832—1863. His great achievements are also found in the methodology of Polish literature teaching. He supervised many masters of arts and doctors of philosophy in the field of humanities.
Professor Inglot died aged 88.
The remembrance is devoted to professor Halina Krukowska, Romantic literature researcher, her entire academic life affiliated to the Białystok philological centre. A Maria Janion disciple, Krukowska’s interest were the motif of the night in 19th century literature and the Black Romanticism trend in the Polish and European literature.