Issue: 2/2020

Pamiętnik Literacki 2 / 2020

Table of contents

Dedication to Professor Jacek Sokolski

Bibliographical Review 2/2020

File with Issue Contents

Medieval Demons: Perchta (Berchta) and Others

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Mutual relation of the culture of the intellectuals and of the folk one produced a “folkloristic culture” characteristic of the Middle Ages. The aforementioned culture was composed of pieces of both the high literate culture, and visual arts and stories transmitted orally. The world of folk imagery that remains in the sphere of common memory and, essentially, outside of the literate culture sphere is accessible to us only from cultural products and scanty written records. Preachers, inquisitors, and penitential writers focused their interest mainly on eradicating pagan beliefs and practices, thus in their descriptions failed to gain insights into them. Apart from that, pagan mythology and demonology survived only fragmentarily, due to, inter alia, inclusion of their elements into liturgical memory, Christian calendar-liturgical cycle, and also—to a greater degree—because belief in such creatures and their apotropaic rituals entered the rural folklore. In Germanic and adjacent countries a belief in the visit within the period of Twelve Days (i.e. from Christmas to Epiphany) of female demons, led by Perchta (Berchta), was spread. Perchta  was a goddess having ambivalent features: sometimes a dangerous lamia, and sometimes a good-natured woman—a witch delivering presents to obedient children. In Polish culture, scarce evidence of the customs accompanying Twelve Days is an effect of a rare cultural osmosis connected with centuries-old immigration of Germans and with the spreading of the beliefs that the Germans brought with them.

A Sixteen Century Version of the Medieval “Rozmowa Mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią” (“Master Polikarp’s Dialogue with Death”)

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In the year 2018 the Internet revealed sensational news that Wiesław Wydra discovered an unknown earlier 1542 print containing the full text of the 15th c. “Rozmowa Mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią” (“Master Polikarp’s Dialogue with Death”). In the same year the researcher published this print under the title “Śmierci z Mistrzem dwojakie gadania […]” (“Death’s Two Dialogues with Master […]”) and it proved to be only an adaptation of the original Master’s Conversation or some other lost version of the piece. The present article is an attempt to settle the direction the changes followed, what was added and omitted, how the versification shaped and, first and foremost, whether the piece gained anything as an effect of the adaptation, and who could have been its author. General conclusions point out that although “Death’s Two Dialogues with Master […]” is characterised by fair richness of details, the 15th c. original proves more concise, voluble, and lucid.

Specimen pudoris, or on the Conversation between Jacobus Piso and Lucretia in Andreas Cricius’ Epigrams

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In the paper the author analyses the New Latin epigrams by Andreas Cricius (1482–1537) connected with Lucretia and with the figure of Jacobus Piso (? –1527), a legate of the Pope Julius II, produced probably in the year 1510. The epigrams refer to the illusion of painting,  concern the painterly illustration of Lucretia’s suicide to which they assign moral-pedagogical, aesthetic, and ethic aims. Rich literary allusions of satirical character in Cricius’ epigrams are directed against Piso—they are satirical depiction of the legate’s homosexual preferences.

Description of World Matters of Bird Nation in “pole ptasze [Bird Field]” in Mikołaj Rej’s Creativity

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The article refers to the metaphorical meanings of little birds, especially the sparrow, in Mikołaj Rej’s creativity. The author pays her attention to the presence of encyclopaedic bestiary tradition in the works of old authors, to which Rej eagerly referred. The poet juxtaposes a full of traps human existence with an image of “bird field” where “an evil bird,” a jealous fortune, waits in ambush for everyone. Rej remarks that warnings and pieces of advice about a man’s everyday decisions are included into examples taken from the world of nature. Undoubtedly, instances of this kind served as a valuable material to a deeper philosophical speculation. Those instances were to act as a remedy to correct imperfect human condition. Rej willingly resorts to the presentations of birds to give the multiplicity of dangers that lurk waiting for a man, and figures of such tiny birds as sparrows, as they well suited this purpose. The birds express longing for what surpasses us and desire to free oneself from the burden of earthly limitations. In Rej’s output the symbolism of the sparrow jointly creates a full image of human soul, forming an allegorical figure of a redeemed and corrected nature of the world. Mikołaj Rej’s pieces remain within the circle of the then encyclopaedic knowledge, and skilfully combine the classical traditions with the Biblical ones. Vividly depicted images of nature, apart from allegorical meanings, gradually freed from their erudite context to gain autonomy and started living their own life.

At the Beginnings of Early Modern Reflection on Intellectual Property
François Douaren: “De plagiariis et scriptorum alienorum compilatoribus [...] epistola” (1550)

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The subject of the article is “De plagiariis et scriptorum alienorum compilatoribus […] epistola”, a letter by François Douaren (Duarein, Duarenus, 1509–1559), a French lawyer and humanist. An analysis of the letter in the context of ancient and early modern discourse on the literary theft (furtum litterarium) confirms the thesis on the growing in the Renaissance awareness of existing specific copyright in reference to intellectual property with simultaneous difficulties that the old scholars faced when defining the laws and with differentiating plagiarism from broadly understood compilation and imitation.

Jan Kochanowski’s “Zuzanna” (“Susanna”) Goes Astray to Oral Creativity

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The article contains a polemics with Dorota Vincůrková’s theses formulated in her study “Jan Kochanowski’s »Zuzanna« (“Susanna”) against the Vernacular Conventions of Hagiographic Songs” (“Literary Memoir” 20018, issue 4). Contrary to Vincůrková’s stance, the present author proves in the first part of the paper that it is hardly possible to state that the artistic means of expression employed by the Renaissance poet in his paraphrase of a fragment of “The Book of Daniel” provide for the artistry of the poem about Susanna. In the second part of the paper Krzywy undermines the validity of observations about Kochanowski’s imitating the “typically” oral means of expression which might, in the view of Vincůrková, bring the poem closer to the popular hagiographic songs and to the intellectual horizons of Elżbieta Radziwiłłowa, de domo Szydłowiecka, to whom the poem is dedicated. The author of the paper proves that with the exception of one fragment which calls the audience to hear the story, the remaining means of expression belong to a set of conventional rhetoric-literary ones. He is also convinced that too little is known about the piece addressee’s literary awareness to formulate theses about the artistic shape of “Zuzanna” (“Susanna”).

“Nos haec miramur”
Curiositas in Jan Kochanowski’s Epigrams

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Attention of the author of the paper is focused on two aspects of curiositas in Jan Kochanowski’s Polish and Latin epigrams. The pieces manifest curiosity that can be called humanistic as in its effect literature specialist and lover realises the literature’s multiple planes, mysteriousness of its imagery, personalisation and symbolism. The curiosity strengthens when the metaphor is made verbatim. In this context, the author interprets two epigrams, namely “Foricenium 45” addressed to Mikołaj Radziwiłł and “Foricenium 5” that describes Venetian girls. The second dimension of curiositas comprises the peculiar phenomena found in Kochanowski’s collections of epigrams. The trifle “Na Ślasę” (“To Mr. Ślasa”, I 95), presenting a possibility of using a monstrous nose as a sundial, is chosen as an example. The analysis also includes the source (an epigram ascribed to Trajan from “Antologia grecka” <”A Greek Anthology”>) and cultural contexts of the piece.

Gifts for Venus
On Jan Kochanowski’s Trifle “Do Miłości” (“To Love”) (III 12) and Its Orphic Traditions

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The paper refers to bloodless gifts for Venus described in Jan Kochanowski’s 16th c. poem “Do Miłości” (“To Love”) (“Triffles”, III 12), namely fragrant incense and colourful plants of strong scent (violets, lilies, marjoram, sage, roses) that may obtain graciousness of the goddess of love. Hymnic character of the piece and the expressions that it contains allow to establish connections of the trifle with the tradition of Orphic hymns that were known to the Renaissance humanists. The poem is interpreted from the perspective of its place in the collection of “Trifles” and Kochanowski’s marriage plans.

Catching the Reality
On “Flores sermonum” by Mikołaj of Wilkowiecko

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The article takes up the issue of reflecting the historical realia in the collection Flores sermonum (1579) by Mikołaj of Wilkowiecko. Source analysis proves that the descriptions, viewed by to date researchers as commentaries to social reality, were taken from the texts composed oftentimes a few centuries earlier. The individual sermons evolved in effect of intermingling excerpts from many sermons in a concise and apparently uniform manner. The metaphors of the sermon’s flowers, of the preacher as a bee, and sermons as fisherman’s fishing net confirm that Mikołaj of Wilkowiecko’s obvious purpose is conversion of sinners and calling them from worldliness to paradise. It is for that reason that historical references are for the writer of minor importance, though he considers them while selecting the sources. Recognition of how Mikołaj of Wilkowiecko in his sermons reflects the realia of his times calls for considering the complex process of their composing and further detailed source research.

Remarks on the Polish Psalm Lyric Poetry of the Second Half of the 16th Century

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The article provides a reflection about the shaping of original psalm lyric poetry in the Polish Renaissance poetry of the second half of the 16th century. The author shows its distinctness in contrast to the phenomenon of metrical psalms that served religious instructions, mnemonics, strengthening the congregation unity, all characteristic to Protestant authors. Psalm lyric poetry, in the understanding suggested here, is not a translation of psalm, but rather transcoding and updating its model in the idiom of mother tradition. Also, it refers to this model on the various levels of intertextual relations. The psalmic word in the poetry in question is subject to reconfiguration in order to become a building material of an original lyrical monologue being either individualised or adapted to a given situation (e.g. historical or private), though neither composition nor the content of Old Testament Psalm determines the structure of the piece. Growing, in part, from the experience of the paraphrase, psalm lyric poetry is not identical with it, and the factors stimulating its shaping in Old Polish poetry are Horatianism (Jan Kochanowski’s and Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński’s oeuvre) as well as spiritual Petrarchism (Sebastian Grabowiecki’s lyric poetry).

“Batrachomyomachia” in Paweł Zaborowski’s Version
Introductory Remarks

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The article acts as a presentation of Paweł Zaborowski and as an analysis of “Batrachomyomachia” in his translation published in the year 1588. Two Latin texts that could have been sources of the Polish translation, namely an anonymous line-for-line translation and a verse translation by Joachim Münsinger, are indicated. The paper discusses the original features of Zaborowski’s piece that make it different from the other 16th c. Latin translations of the text and from the Greek original, i.e. adjusting it to the reality contemporary to the poet, supplementing it with epic elements (as Homeric similes), adhering to the principles of rhetoric, didactism, as well as referencing to Roman poets.


God’s Estate (and Archangel Gabriel) in Andrzej Dębołęcki’s “Poseł niebieski” (“Heavenly Envoy”) and in Aleksander Obodziński’s “Poważna legacyja” (“The Important Mission”)

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The paper refers to the epic poems by the Polish baroque writers who took up religious themes, namely to Andrzej Dębołęcki’s “Poseł niebieski, to jest Archanioła Gabryjela nowiny z nieba do Panny czystej Maryjej o wcieleniu Syna Bożego w jej żywot sprawującego” (“Message of Heavenly Envoy Archangel Gabriel to Holy Mary, Pure Virgin, about the Incarnation of the Son of God into Her Life”) (Toruń 1633) and Aleksander Obodziński’s “Poważna legacyja w Konsystorzu Trójce Przenaświętszej” (“The Important Mission in the Consistory of the Holy Trinity”) (Kraków [1640]). The authors, referring to Jacopo Sannazaro’s epopee “De partu Virginis”, in their works presented an independent (though recalling tradition) evangelical motive of transferring Mary the message by Archangel Gabriel that she is going to be God’s Mother. It must also be mentioned that Obodziński in many places plagiarised Dębołęcki. Both of the writers focused on describing God’s estate, and first and foremost on the appearance of Archangel Gabriel and his diplomatic skills which he showed as the envoy sent with the Annunciation.

Mikołaj Rej’s “Kot ze Lwem” (“Cat and Lion”)
Remarks on the Versions of the Text as Based on a Fragment of Recovered Print and Preserved Manuscript

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We know Mikołaj Rej’s “Kot ze Lwem” (“Cat and Lion”) in its full form from the manuscript treasured in The Princes Czartoryski Library, and only the bookshop register deliver the information that it was printed before the year 1559. It was until recently believed that no copy of the edition survived. Jakub Łukaszewski and Wiesław Wydra found in The Archdiocesan Archive of Gniezno two pages of Rej’s piece. They date it back to the year 1554 or to a year or two years earlier. The article juxtaposes the variants of the discovered account of the print’s fragment with its corresponding manuscript fragment. Assuming that Rej’s style characteristic feature is repetitive phraseology and tendency to use similar wordings, it was agreed that focusing on phrases and expressions is far more important than examination of variant forms and spelling. As based on it, an attempt was made to settle which of the two accounts is closer to the poet’s poetic customs, and the result of the examination of the survived fragment leads to careful assessment of the print.

What Did Orszula Kochanowska Die of?
On the Interpretive Potential of Some Metaphor

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The author of the study, focusing on a documentary dimension of Jan Kochanowski’s “Treny” (“Laments”), attempts to establish to which extent the poetic images contained in the cycle promote the real course of the little Orszula’s agony and whether, as based on the images, it is possible to settle anything about her premature death. Special attention is paid to “Tren IV” (“Lament IV”) that tells about “shak[ing] the green fruit from her parent’s’ boughs,” a significant image as it is preceded by a note revealing the writer’s exceptionally strong emotions connected with it. Considerations about “Treny” (“Laments”) are followed by a cursory overview of such places in Kochanowski’s creativity which tells something about the death of a person. Against the background of the multifarious examples of superficial treatment of the subject, “Pamiątka Janowi Baptyście, hrabi na Tęczynie” (“A Memento of Jan Baptysta, the Count of Tęczyn”) stands out above the others as being in fact the only one description with features of pathographic character.

„Wiara dar Boży – a ty karać każesz... [Faith—God’s Gift, and You Will Punish...]”
Justus Lipsius between Leiden, Cracow, Rudy, and Wrocław

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Wrocław University Library treasures an interesting polonicum—a copy of “Politicorum sive Doctrinae libri sex” by Justus Lipsius in the translation of Paweł Szczerbic “Polityka pańskie, to jest Nauka, jako pan i każdy przełożony rządnie żyć i sprawować się ma” (“The Politics”). (Cracow 1595. BUWr 442635). Its pages contain two handwritten notes by an old reader that firmly criticise the Netherlandic philosopher who called for “burning and hacking” the heretics. The paper discussed Lipsius’ work, its contexts (the changing confessing stance of the founder of neo-stoicism), as well as the history of the print (the Cracow edition, the property of the Cistercian monastery in the Upper Silesian Rudy, and later Wrocław University Library). The paper also tries to settle who the old reader was and what his intentions were.

Another Contribution to Sannazaro’s Creativity Reception in Old Polish Literature

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The author of the article examines the sources and the circumstances of producing a collection of Passion pieces by Stanisław Grochowski entitled “Cudowne wiersze z indyjskiego języka przełożone […]” (“Wonderful Verses from the Indian Language”, 1611), and especially “Druga żałoba Panny Naświętszej” (“Holy Mary’s Second Mourning”) contained in it. The poem turns out to be a paraphrased translation of a fragment “De partu Virginis” by Jacopo Sannazaro presenting in King David’s prophetic vision the future torment of Christ and the suffering of his mother. Sannazaro’s “Planctus Mariae” survived as a separate composition in a few handwritten codices and was also quoted as an independent piece in old preachments and meditations about the Passion. An analysis of Grochowski’s poem proves that the Polish poet used this kind of account—the view is also supported by a comparative analysis as well as by the information added to the title of the poem about offering it to Pope Adrian VI.

Apology for the Reformation, Eulogy for the Translator, and Epitaph for the Proofreader. Another Unknown Poem by Andrzej Trzecieski
Annex: Edition, Commentary and Translation

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The article discusses “De operis huius editione carmen”, a hitherto unknown Latin song by Andrzej Trzecieski, dated October 3rd, 1556, included in a unique copy of Eustachy Trepka’s translation of Arsatius Seehofer’s postil published by Hans Daubmann in Königsberg in 1556 (Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, A: 509 Theol. 2o). The paper outlines the historical circumstances of producing the song, draws attention to the exceptional motive of the proofreader’s appraisal, and highlights aspects shared with other contemporary poems by Trzecieski, most importantly “De Sacrosancti Evangelii in ditione Regis Poloniae […] origine, progessu et incremento elegia”  (“Elegy on the Beginning, Progress and Increase of the Blessed Gospel in the Countries Subordinated to the Polish King”) and “In Aloysium Lipomanum […] Carmen” (“Poem on Lippomano”). Furthermore, it presents “De operis huius editione carmen” in the context of its author’s relation to Mikołaj Rej. An “Annex” contains the original text, a commentary, and the song’s translation into Polish.

Poems on Drawings as a Dominant of Symeon of Połock’s Polish Output
Part 2: Fourfolds

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The article is a continuation of the paper published in “Literary Memoir” 2017, issue 3, devoted to the graphic sources of Polish epigrammatic cycles by Samuił Gawryłowicz Piotrowski-Sitnianowicz (1629–1680), later known under the assumed monastic name of Symeon of Połock. Studying between the years 1650–1653 at the Vilnius Academy, the young poet composed epigrammatic cycles to almost 30 series of Netherlandic drawings. The present article discusses the poet’s following cycles: “Cztery świata wieki” (“Four Centuries of the World”), an adaptation of Tobias Verhaecht’s drawing series “Quatuor mundi aetates” from before the year 1599, „Cztery części roku pogody” (“Four Parts of the Year’s Weather”), which is an adaptation of a series of Maarten van Heemskerck’s 1563 drawings entitled “Quatuor anni tempestates”, “Cztery części dnia” (“Four Parts of a Day”), being an adaptation of Verhaecht’s drawing series “Quatuor temporis partes et intervalla”, “Cztery żywioły i skutki onych” (“The Four Elements and Their Effects) adapting Maarten de Vos’ „Quatuor elementa, eorumque effectus” from circa the year 1582, “Cztery przemagające kompleksyje” (“Four Predominating Complexities”) which is an adaptation of Heemskerck’s 1566 series of drawings “Quatuor praedominantes complexiones”, and the cycle “Cztery rzeczy namocniejsze” (“Four Strongest Things”) referring to a story from an apocryphal account of 3 Ezdras (3, 1 – 4, 42), and being an adaptation of Gerard Groenning’s series of drawings from circa the year 1574.

On Maciej Stryjkowski’s “Zwierciadło kroniki litewskiej” (“Mirror of Lithuanian Chronicle”)

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The subject of the article is “Zwierciadło kroniki litewskiej” (“Mirror of Lithuanian Chronicle”), now unknown piece by Maciej Stryjkowski which, in the opinion of its author, was published in the year 1577. The present sketch recollects the state of art in the text as well as analyses the 16th c. pieces of evidence that confirm the existence of this print and informs about its peculiarities. As based on such evidence and due to an analysis of the title of the piece, the author of the paper reconstructs its theme, genre, the writing form of Stryjkowski’s composition, and the probable mode of organising its content. Oszczęda’s observation points out that “Mirror […]” was a verse historical-genealogical compendium about the family elite of the Grand Dutchy of Lithuania and that it contained characteristics of the Jagiellonian dynasty rulers written in Polish and supplemented with notes on margins. The author of the paper also links this work with a poem by Maciej Stryjkowski of which a unique copy is treasured at Ossoliński National Institute, she dates back the composition to the year 1577, as well as recognises the piece as the only existing fragment of “Zwierciadło kroniki litewskiej” “(Mirror of Lithuanian Chronicle”).

A Victorious “Battle” with Wacław Potocki, Or on the Edition of “Dyjalog O Zmartwychwstaniu Pańskim” (“A Dialogue about the Resurrection of Jesus”)
Review: Wacław Potocki, Dyjalog o zmartwychwstaniu Pańskim. Wydała i opracowała Agnieszka Czechowicz. Redakcja naukowa Radosław Grześkowiak. Lublin 2018. „Staropolski Dramat i Dialog Religijny”. T. 3

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The review is a discussion about the publication the only drama by Wacław Potocki’s “Dyjalog o zmartwychwstaniu Pańskim” (“A Dialogue about the Resurrection of Jesus”) edited by Agnieszka Czechowicz. The high value of the book is the effect of equipping it with a genuine introduction, remarks on the sources of the 17th c. text—a combination of Potocki’s inventiveness with two Passion mysteries, all of which, according to Czechowicz, gave the form called “a creative experiment,” considerations about the piece’s rhetoricity, and finally an attempt to establish whether the text succeeded in being staged. A great value of the edition is a model transcription of Potocki’s text and valuable commentaries. Comparable advantages refer to the transcription and notes about the anonymous source of “A Dialogue”, namely to the mystery play “[Dialogus] de resurrectione D[omini] n[ostri] Jesu Christi”. Due to inclusion of both texts in one volume the reader may discover Potocki’s creative method.

Theatre and School in the Service of Society and State
Review: Teatr i szkoła w służbie społeczeństwa i państwa. Rec.: Jan Okoń, Wychowanie do społeczeństwa w teatrach szkolnych jezuitów w Rzeczypospolitej Obojga Narodów. Kraków (2018). „Biblioteka Tradycji”. Seria 2. Nr 157

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The review presents Jan Okoń’s monograph devoted to the activity of the Jesuit school theatres in the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania. Okoń proposes a view on the Jesuit theatre through the prism of its service to the society and the country. Richness of the material under analysis proves that the school theatre was much concerned about civil education and propagated the ideas of love of country and responsibility for common good. Okoń each time enriches his analyses with sketches presenting a rich cultural-social and political background of the times. The researcher also raises the issues connected with old literature, discusses the activities of Jesuit writers and men of letters—Jesuit college alumni. Multiplicity and diversity of the problems taken up and the author’s erudition make Okoń’s monograph worthy of attention in the field of science.

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