Issue 3/2008

Pamiętnik Literacki 3 / 2008

Battle and Hunting in Gallus Anonymous’s “Polish Chronicle.” Human World Relation to Animal World

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In old anthropological thought, animals were important elements of picturesque descriptions of human attitudes, and thus become one of the most important indicators of assessing a man’s identity. In order to visualize the battle, the anonymous author of the 12th century chronicle entitled Cronicae et gesta ducum sive principum Polonorum often links it with hunting for wild animals (the wild pig, the bear) or compares it to other animals’ behavior (the lion, the wolf, the pig, the hare, the mouse, the hedgehog, the dragon). Such comparisons can be interpreted in the context of the classical rhetoric theory: locus a comparatione, similitudo. In spite of the twofold restrictions (Anonymous called Gallus and the subject/object of research in the poetics of experience verbalized in Polish Chronicle), it can be argued that the work answers the question of “Who is the man and what is he like?” in an anthropological way: on the battlefield the man is a perverted animal, and the direct combat helps him to notice the power of his relationship with the world over which he sees himself.

“I care not for the cold rocks...” The Mystery of Orpheus-Sage in “Song Two” from Jan Kochanowski’s “Second Book of Songs”

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The author of the article attempts to present the complexity of tradition of Orpheus myth and the literary creativity of Jan Kochanowski as based on his Song Two from Second Book of Songs. In the introduction she sketches the history of this mythological motif and its methodological problems. Further, she depicts the artistic mode Kochanowski refers to this myth and the way this tradition highlights the interpretation of the text.

Song Two, informally referred to as “Hanna’s invitation to Czarnolas,” seems to be composed of carefully plotted “literary places.” The Orpheus myth mingles with Silenus myth, and their common denominator is the figure of a sage who knows the secrets of nature. Song Two also contains an important for the Renaissance writer reflection on the power of language and speech, which are the testimonies of wisdom and virtue.

Seneca – Kochanowski, Kochanowski – Seneca

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The paper considers the problem of mutual interrelations between Jan Kochanowski and Seneca the tragedy writer. In spite of the ostensible distance between the two figures in question, Kochanowski not only proves to be familiar with such Seneca’s works as Phaedra, Thyestes, and Agamemnon, but also resorts to them in a skillful way. Both are best revealed in the former’s two first elegies of the Elegiarum libri IV collection, and to even larger extend in his Dismissal of the Grecian Envoys. The interrelations in question are observed on many levels since Kochanowski is interested in Seneca’s descriptions of violent feelings or didactic hints as well as technical resolutions. Moreover, the comparison of  Dismissal of the Grecian Envoys with the Trojan cycle shows Kochanowski’s confrontational attitude to Seneca’s world of tragedy devoid of moral values. To add to the this, the author points at Kochanowski’s expressions that permeate Łukasz Górnicki’s and Jan Alan Bardziński’s subsequent translations of Seneca the tragedy writer.

“Philosophers are weirdos, harsh, melancholics...” On the Atopic Traits of the Philosopher in Polish Renaissance Literature

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Attempts at reconstruction the atopic personality of the philosopher presented in 16th century Polish works are one of the most intriguing topics in Renaissance intellectual culture.  The problem of the atopy is here subject of thorough scrutiny: it starts with an attempt at determination of the moment the atopy is being born, then it sheds light on the obstacles the philosopher faces while thinking speculatively, and ultimately it recreates the philosopher’s “weird” personality. This endeavor required characterizing the different manifestations of the philosopher’s exteriorization (such as, among others, baffling looks, customs, and way of living), as well as examining their internal motivations. Apart from the ancient philosophers, the paper highlights the manifestations of the atopy in the actions of Polish Renaissance philosophers, e.g. Stanisław Grzepski and Grzegorz of Sanok.

Great Sadness in Samuel Twardowski’s Epic Mirror. “Władysław IV” as a Literary Testimony of the Reception of Historical Events

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The article presents a picture of the historical events as reflected in Samuel Twardowski’s biographical epic story Władysław IV (1649). The poet was one of the most outstanding representatives of the Polish gentry type of epic story and the author of long historical epics: Important Mission […] and Civil War […]. The paper analyses the artistic principles and the modes shaping the nation’s history of the Polish-Russian wars waged at the beginning of 17th century which served the poet as an important background to picture the future Polish ruler. In Twardowski’s works we also notice different methods of heroization and fictionalization which aim, on the one hand, to present the history from the point of view of the country’s raison d’état, and on the other hand, to view history as a complex of examples to support moral didactics. The article shows how Twardowski achieves the goals.

Old Polish News Songs

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The first part of the paper consists of a critical review of the attempts to describe the verse news story to date and its basic genre markers. The considerations presented here lead to the conclusion that the Old Polish news story was a syncretic phenomenon of indistinct borders and encompassed various conventions developed on the grounds of other poetic genres. On the other hand, we observe a peculiar expansion of verse news stories having a great influence on the development of some types of Old Polish occasional poetry, which gave way to the emergence of certain intermediate forms such as panegyric news stories, pasquil news stories, aubade news stories, lament news stories.

The second part of the paper brings a typology of news stories based on the criteria of the text composition and the narrative intention. A detailed analysis reveals three basic types of the verse news stories:

a) chronicle, in which the informative intention dominates, and where the text is almost entirely filled with narration presenting the events in chronological order and in a relatively detailed way;

b) lamentatory-religious, in the foreground having the moralistic intention, and strengthening the receiver in the conviction of religious perception and interpretation of events as a punishment or a reward sent by God; the text’s composition is founded on its peculiar fragmentary character and on interspersing the elements of the narration with lamentatory complaints and elaborated propitiatory-devout apostrophes;

c) political-propagandist, where the main intention of the narrator is convincing the listener about a specific political conception, and the narration itself is not infrequently of vestigial character and is superseded by numerous commentaries with a marked panegyric, polemic, or satirical element.

Post-partition Poetry (1793–1806). An Attempt at Descriptive Definition

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The paper is a presentation of this trend of 1793–1806 Polish poetry whose inspiration and main theme was the fall of the Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania. The author’s considerations are based on extensive literature and plentiful documentation papers derived from the available anthologies, Warsaw and Cracow periodicals of 18th and 19th c., as well as archive materials. Initially, the author provides an explanation and literary-history motivation of the term “post-partition poetry,” which due to its issues and artistic structure belongs to so-called occasional political poetry, also referred to in the study.

Then, the 1793–1806 poetic creativity was divided into two periods. The first dates from 1793 till the fall of Kościuszko uprising, and the second – from the end of 1794 till the last months of 1806. Verses and poems of the former are seen as a poetic chronicle of events, while the latter brings mostly literary expressions of ideologic-moral attitudes, the state of political awareness, and experiences and sensations of the Polish peoples – patriots, opportunists and openly collaborating with the partitioners, and finally those who occupied a conciliatory-safeguarding position.

The remarks, reflections, and general conclusions drawn in the paper cover not only poetic creativity of recognized figures (among others Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski, Jan Paweł Woronicz, Józef Morelowski, Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Kajetan Koźmian) but also anonymous texts, and they were additionally set in a broad historical and cultural context.

Delayed Threat. “Ballad about the Killing of Andrzej Tęczyński” in the Light of Poetics of So-called Response Letter

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In its aim, the article puts forward a new interpretation of the medieval “Ballad about the Killing of Andrzej Tęczyński.” There is no univocal agreement as for the literary genre of the piece and for the reason of its composing. The author tries to link the text with the old forms of honorable behavior of the killed person’s family and friends who wish to retaliate (so-called “revenge”). In 15th century and in the following centuries, great importance was attached to dignity that was connected with the knight’s ethos. It was also a subject of various legal regulations. The author maintains that the theme of the poem in question is the castellan’s disgrace. Spreading it was not inglorious for the family, and it is justified when the family is considered to have the right to revenge. Poland developed a ritualized form of satisfaction (so-called “humility”), the element of which was payment for killing made to the family (so-called “głowszczyzna”). If the perpetrator refused exoneration, the family could fight for their rights. Before it is done, however, the perpetrator was to be forewarned to be on his guard.  Such warning was called the “response,” most frequently formulated as a death threat. It did not need to take form of a letter, often being passed on orally, and important was the fact that it reached the perpetrator. Announcing death did not pledge to its unconditional execution and revealed a practical importance: killing without the response in question, at least theoretically, meant sentencing to death, and when the response was present, the evildoer could be ransomed or imprisoned. Other issue proved also crucial: killing by stealth and without response was regarded mean and unworthy of a nobleman and a knight.

“Ballad about the Killing of Andrzej Tęczyński” conforms to the pattern of the response letter. The first verse specifies the addressee and thus we learn who was killed and that the son of Andrzej Tęczyński is to take revenge. The subsequent call for sacrifice required an honorable behavior, in a noble manner, including a call for the killer’s head. In the example in question, the description of the tragedy the family afflicted is justified and announcing it was not inglorious as the family operated in order to defend dignity.

“He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again”? – a Gloss to “The History of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord”

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The aim of this paper is to point out the inversion of the Easter events in the Polish sixteenth-century mystery play Historyja o chwalebnym Zmartwychstaniu Pańskim (The History of the Glorious Resurrection of Our Lord allegedly by Mikolaj z Wilkowiecka). In the fourth scene of the play the Harrowing of hell is presented. It is usually believed that Christ descended into the underworld between his death on the cross and the Resurrection. In Historyja, however, Jesus first rises from the dead, then he descends into hell to harrow it and to rescue his faithful. Such a sequence of events contradicts the widely accepted chronology of Christ’s redemptive work and, to the best of my knowledge, has been overlooked hitherto by Polish scholarship.

On the Riddles of the First Collected Editions of Jan Kochanowski’s Literary Creativity

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The article describes the content of the first collected editions (from edition A to edition D) of Jan Kochanowski’s literary creativity by the then famous editor Jan Januszowski. The order of the pieces is not incidental but a subject to the following criteria: linguistic (Polish and Latin creativity; the latter absent from edition C on), thematic (from poems about the poet to occasional poems), and stylistic (from rarefied style to plain one).

On Several Unknown Old Polish Interludes

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The article describes a collection of 24 prose interludes recorded in the Library of Lvov Academy of Sciences codex. One of the problems tackled in the paper is the interludes provenance. Originating most probably from the school circle (Jesuit or Piarist), they used commonplace anecdotes known from, e.g. popular theatre interludes. The article also analyses the plot of the interludes which, interestingly, is not their dominating element, as most of the texts resemble nonfictional dialogues. Accordingly, the paper analyses the verbal-linguistic level of the interludes and reviews the verse interpolations which diversify the interludes. Light is also shed on the comic-evoking manners: accumulation of preposterousness, absurd situations, and caricature-like exaggeration of anomalies, e.g. on the stylistic level.

Review: Grzegorz Franczak, Vix imitabilis. La „Griselda” polacca fra letteratura e cultura popolare. Kraków–Udine 2006

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The text reviews Grzegorz Franczak’s book, which presents the outcomes of research on Petrarch’s  Insignis obedientia et fides uxoris, being a remake of Boccaccio’s last story from Decameron.   Franczak discusses the manuscript accounts of Petrarch’s text produced in the group of Polish scholars, against the wide background of multidirectional cultural relations he depicts the history of Griselda’s – the story’s character – Polish literary images, and suggests a critical edition of Petrarch’s text.

Review: Krzysztof Mrowcewicz, Trivium poetów polskich epoki baroku: klasycyzm – manieryzm – barok. Studia nad poezją XVII stulecia. Warszawa 2005. „Studia Staropolskie. Series Nova”. T. 10 (66)

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The review analyzes Trivium poetów polskich, a book on the mannerism, classicism and baroque – the three stylistic formations coexisting in 16th and 17th c. poetry. Mrowcewicz’s studies, apart from interesting methodological proposals, include insightful analyses of literary creativity of Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński, Daniel Naborowski, Szymon Szymonowic, Jan Andrzej Morsztyn, and Zbigniew Morsztyn.

Review: Dariusz Chemperek, Poezja Jana Gawińskiego i kultura literacka drugiej połowy XVII wieku. Lublin 2005

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The text concerns the book on the baroque poet Jan Gawiński. A rich and multifarious literary creativity of the writer has recently been monographed by Dariusz Chemperek. The review presents the composition and the contents of the book.

Review: Klemens Bolesławiusz, Przeraźliwe echo trąby ostatecznej. Warszawa 2004. „Biblioteka Pisarzy Staropolskich”. T. 29

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This is the review of Jacek Sokolski’s critical edition of Przeraźliwe echo trąby ostatecznej (The Terrifying Echo of the Last Trumpet), the seventeenth-century famous Polish poem on the Four Last Things.

Review: Grzegorz Trościński, Wczasy wielkiego człowieka. Studium o poezji Stanisława Herakliusza Lubomirskiego. Sandomierz 2005

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The review of Grzegorz Trościński’s book on Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski points at its values as at an analytic study and comments its proposals for the interpretations of philosophical and religious aspects of Lubomirski’s literary creativity.

Review: Mirosława Hanusiewicz, Pięć stopni miłości. O wyobraźni erotycznej w polskiej poezji barokowej. Warszawa 2004

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The review discusses Mirosława’s Hanusiewicz’s book Pięć stopni miłości (Five degrees of love) on Polish Baroque erotic poetry. The goal of the book was to present Baroque images of sensual love, and the poetic material helps to settle the question of the 17th century comprehension of love. The key of the book’s considerations is the title motif of the five degrees of love, putting the literary texts in order of such themes as a look of love, exchange of words, a kiss, a touch, and sexual act. The book, though not regarded as a synthesis, presents a broad 17th Polish pieces of love literature against French, Italian, and Dutch ones. As the book’s background, the author refers to preceding epochs – Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance – due to which we learn about the roots of Polish Baroque love lyric poetry thus also helping to make comparisons and to value its originality.

Rec.: Wiesław Pawlak, Koncept w polskich kazaniach barokowych. Lublin 2005. „Źródła i Monografie”. [T.] 291

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The text analyses the dissertation on the concept in baroque sermon – a  phenomena peculiar to the old church oratory. It presents theoretical complications, especially rhetorical ones, which serve the author to reconstruct the old images on the preacher’s concept and lead to more general reflections on the baroque aesthetics.

Review: Grzegorz Raubo, Światło przyrodzone. Rozum w literaturze polskiego baroku. Poznań 2006. „Filologia Polska”. Nr 92

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Grzegorz Raubo’s book is an interdisciplinary work and deals with the reflection upon human reason in Polish baroque writings. Raubo analyzes the different methods of expressing the reason both by the authors of erudite treatises and by poets. The author also discusses the considerations of Polish baroque writers on the meaning of the rationality in social, philosophical, and religious sphere.

Review: Koncept w kulturze staropolskiej. Pod redakcją Ludwiki Ślęk, Adama Karpińskiego, Wiesława Pawlaka. Lublin (2005). „Źródła i Monografie”. [T.] 289

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The review in question, comprising 22 studies on the conceit in Old Polish literature, points at a fundamentally innovative mode of expressing the conceit. The cognitive value of the collection consists in displaying the conceit against the broad background of old culture, setting the conceit’s important theoretical plots apart, and in presenting the multifaceted nature of the conceit in Polish Baroque literature. The review highlights the stimulating significance of this book for conceit researches, and sheds light on the still not precise mode of  expressing the concept by a few authors included into the collection.

Review: Tomasz Chachulski, Opóźnione pokolenie. Studia o recepcji „głębokiej” Jana Kochanowskiego w poezji polskiej XVIII wieku. Warszawa 2006

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The review discusses Tomasz Chachulski’s book on the relationship between Enlightenment writers with Jan Kochanowski’s writings. Analyzing the pieces by four choosen poets – Konstancja Benisławska, Franciszek Karpiński, Ignacy Krasicki and Franciszek Dionizy Kniaźnin – Chachulski revises the established literary studies stereotypes and sheds a completely new light on these issues. The book is an important voice in the discussion on the multiplanar relationships between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

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