Issue 2/2007

Pamiętnik Literacki 2 / 2007

Who Is Cid? History – Literature – Translation

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The article discusses the historical and literary origin of Cid – a Castilian knight of the times of the re-conquest – who in an oral form through Latin and Arabian chronicles and written in Spain epic poems and lyrical songs entered the world literature to become one of its most vital theme.

At the source of Cid’s popularity, in Spanish writing, compared only to the figure of don Juan, lies the value of the first literary creation of the protagonist – 13th century Song of Cid, as well as the stage version of a young Cid’s endeavors by Guillén de Castro. The latter inspired Pierre Corneille to composing the famous drama Le Cid, which became the source text of the congenial translation into Polish by Jan Andrzej Morsztyn.

A review of the most important literary creation of Cid is here connected with the analyses of its Polish translations.

E. T. A. Hoffmann’s “Undine”: at Source of Romantic Opera and Dramma

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Hoffmann’s Undine (1816) constitutes an archetype of European romantic drama, and is viewed by the appearance of the elements ty pical of early romanticism: fantasy, miracle and magic of nature. In this context, the opera’s relationships with early romantic fable and German ballad prove important. The presentation of the real world and the fantasy world in Undine shows how the convention to which dramatic-musical theatre of the turn of 18th and 19th  century was subjected reveal a close connection to a convention of romantic fable. Furthermore, mythologisation of the natural forces makes it possible to regard Undine as a heir of so-called Goethe’s Naturmagische Ballade. Undine can be interestingly situated within the theory of romantic drama development, and especially within A. W. Schlegel’s theses. Connections to the fable and the ballad, fantasy and miracle, coexistence of dramatic, lyric, and epic elements in one work and music element – all this allows for a formulation of a statement that the theoreticians’ dream of a “new” theatre came true in Hoffmann’s opera. Moreover, undine’s popularity on European stages reflected not only on the opera, but also within the framework of other theatre genres: magical dramas, feeries, and ballets.

Antiquity in Rilke’s and Iwaszkiewicz’s Poetry. An Attempt at Comparison

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The theme of the paper is the presence of the motives of antiquity in R. M. Rilke’s and J. Iwaszkiewicz’s poetry. A discussion on Rilke’s competence in classical languages is followed by an analysis of his “poetics of things”, as this method played the most important role in the creating of the poems devoted to motives of antiquity. Most of the poems in question come from the volume New Poems, and their interpretation takes the most space in the body of the paper. The author concentrates also on the connections with antiquity as seen in Sonnets to Orpheus. The final part of the article refers to the traces of antiquity in Iwaszkiewicz’s Sicilian Sonnets. The main aim of the paper is to indicate that Rilke’s “antiquity” and Iwaszkiewicz’s “antiquity” should not be regarded as a set of simple and direct reference to a reservoir of ancient culture, but are an effect of a complicated hermeneutic process, in which the respective authors reveal antiquity as necessary for their own creative reasons, and in doing so they follow numbers of intermediary levels of cultural memory.

The Golem Myth in Bruno Schulz

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This essay outlines elements of the golem myth, both in the stricter, kabbalistic sense, and in the broader, popularised sense in Bruno Schulz. Rather than recreate a monolithic version of the ancient Jewish legend, he mixes in elements of more modern, western European literature, such as Meyrink’s Der Golem. In the figure of Father, we find as well as the fasting and meditation of Jewish Mysticism allusions to spontaneous adoration of later Hasidism. The basic concepts of creation laid down in the stories are kabbalistic, and characters such as Edzio, Dodo and Hieronim as well as the waxwork dummies in Wiosna are recognisable as golems. Being the creations of – however pious – imperfect man, they too are characterised by shortcomings and defects. Furthermore, as in the kabbala, their purpose is to demonstrate the creative power of the word, rather than perform useful actions.

George Herbert, Christian Poetry and the Twentieth Century

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The article investigates the reception of the seventeenth-century poet George Herbert, mainly in the context of British poetry. Although the Christian content of Herbert’s work is now outside the experience and even knowledge of many readers and poets, there has been a new recognition in the past half-century of elements in his poetry that accord with the contemporary climate. In the post-Adorno day, his questioning of the adequacy of language strikes a sympathetic note. The article examines some contemporary poetic responses to Herbert, many of them polemical, which show that even poets who do not share Herbert’s Christian belief have been fascinated by his use of language and formal inventiveness.  Particular attention is given to Herbert’s importance for R. S. Thomas, who takes up many of Herbert’s religious concerns in poetry permeated by yearning for an apparently absent God.

Poetics of a Dream in The Novels by Tadeusz Nowak “When You Are a King or a Torturer” and by Miodrag Bulatović “Hero on the Ass”

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The Polish writer Tadeusz Nowak and the Serbian one of Montenegrin origin Miodrag Bulatović are linked by the same generation, interest in war subjects, aspect of visual prose immense sensibility, and a surrealistic type of imagination, and also the creation of the world according to the pattern of a dream logic.

Though Nowak and Bulatović employ similar approaches in their dream techniques, such as smoothness, transparency, objectification, and animation, one may speak about two different poles of the same phenomena. The temperamental Serbian writer in Hero on the Ass shocks with “wild imagination”, while Nowak in When You Are a King or a Torturer makes a poetic-arcadian vision of a village. Common to both writers issue of war and love was depicted differently: Nowak focused on moral dilemmas, whereas Bulatović presents war as a hell in which nothing can survive.

Haiku in Polish. Stereotypes – Visualisations – Polemics

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The article discusses some of the functional aspects of haiku in Polish literature and in Polish critical awareness. The author delineates most important determinants of this literary form, paying special attention to the problems connected with visualizations (uses here cognitive categories and refers to Ezra Pound’s imagism). Śniecikowska questions the stereotypes of haiku perception that function in Polish; she distinguishes between three large groups of Polish texts inspired by oriental genre: “polemical haiku”, “genre-oriented” haiku, and “quasi-haiku”. The perspective of picture schemata allows for a detailed description and a comparison of two utmost different forms of haiku in Polish literature – the last Stanisław Grochowiak’s Haiku images collection, and Dariusz “Brzóska” Brzoskiewicz’s ones (volume Haiku or Haiku “Brzóski” published in “Przekrój”).

Between Orality and Writing. Some Remarks on Old Polish “Legend of Saint Alexis”

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Pronounced features of the Polish account of Legend of Saint Alexis spring out from economy of orality, suitable methods of its composition; one observes here the dominating oral habits of thinking and expressing. Legend of Saint Alexis constitutes a system of reciprocally connected interactions between the conscious and the unconscious oral forms and modes of expressions related to writing. In its written form, it is a stable oral account primarily “rooted” in Latin, and directly in high middle German, and – presumably – in old Czech. Orality coexists here with writing in the remembered text of a relatively stable form, and subsequently the text is written. Formularity of language, narration construction with the standard thematic structures, frequent repetitions, “errors” are striking here. Absence of the characters’ introspections and analytic abilities in understanding of  a character position, no interest in the will as such and lastly – the  lack of the sense of differentiating between present and past point out at the rich oral residuum in Legend of Saint Alexis in the text as well.

Surprises of the Nobility’s Bilingualism: Pasek as an Orator

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Unlike in stereotypical characteristics that regard Pasek as a representative of old-Polish duniwassals, the author of the paper sees in him a noble knight, aware of his membership to the community of Western Culture, which is evidenced by a gentiluomo-worthy literary education.

Against the up to the present research tradition, the author focuses not on the Diaries “story-telling” elements, but on the regarded as uninteresting rhetorical fragments, replete with Latin interpolations. On the basis of one of the speeches quoted in Diaries the author proves that the interpolations in question, being an element of a mixed-language nobility speech, allow to link the temporary situation to a system of values rooted in antiquity to unite all members of “political nation” of the Polish Republic.

Rec.: François Rosset, Dominique Triaire, Jean Potocki. Biographie. Paris 2004
Review: Juliusz Słowacki. Wyobraźnia i egzystencja. Pod redakcją Michała Kuziaka. Słupsk 2002
Review: Piotr Sobolczyk, Tadeusza Micińskiego podróż do Hiszpanii. (Toruń 2005)
Review: Katarzyna Kuczyńska-Koschany, Rilke poetów polskich. Wrocław 2004. „Monografie Fundacji na rzecz Nauki Polskiej”
Review: Gombrowicz i tłumacze. Pod redakcją Elżbiety Skibińskiej. Łask 2004
Obituary: Zofia Wołoszyńska (February 22nd, 1930 – May 20th, 2006)
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