The article examines the role of the self-sacrificing heroine in Juliusz Słowacki’s Lilla Weneda through the concept of “contractual masochism” proposed by Gilles Deleuze. The French philosopher suggests that a masochist voluntarily enters into a contract with an offender in the hope of realizing a fantastic ideal until it falls into eternal suspension. The suffering and demise of the angelic Wenedes, brought about by the aggressive Lechites and representing the poet’s vision of the post-Uprising Polish nation, will be reread in the light of this masochistic mechanism. Noticeably, the innocent heroine Lilla, who in the place of King Derwid initiates the contract with Queen Gwinona and sacrifices herself to death, plays a crucial role of “preparing” the rise of the national avenger who constructs the ideal Polish nation only in the future. An analysis of Rhapsody I from King-Spirit through the concept of sadism allows for a further understanding of Słowacki’s phantasm. While seeing sadism as a symptom separate from masochism, Deleuze regards a masochist’s transformation into a sadist as a contingent phenomenon. The epic of the mystically inclined Słowacki justifies such observation. King-Spirit that inherits the national ideal of Lilla Weneda mobilizes the sadistic principle of cruel disorder. Desiring a free Poland, the poet formed the vision of the heroic sadist who perpetually creates a new world.
Starting point of the considerations on Juliusz Słowacki’s portraits in biographical prose is a set of the poet’s fine arts images. This concept, known in Western literary studies as “Künstlerroman” or „portrait of the artist novel,” offers a framework for the presentation of Słowacki’s images in 1945–1981 biographical fiction. The first stage of narrations about Słowacki is made up by socialist realism books, namely “classicizing” picture by Paweł Hertz, and Mieczysław Jastrun’s Spotkanie z Salomeą (A Meeting with Salomea), the latter being an example of the romantic poet’s image overuse. Next, Stefan Flukowski’s Płomień róży (Flame of a Rose) is an attempt at a revision of Słowacki’s traditional picture. By contrast, Jan Dobraczyński’s novel Pacierz, co płacze, i piorun, co błyska (Prayer that cries and lightning that flashes) exemplifies an ideological use of Słowacki’s picture according to the principles of national democracy.
The article contains an analysis of menippean aspects of Witold Gombrowicz’s Diary, as based mainly on the presentation of menippean satire characteristics carried out by Mikhail Bakhtin in his Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics (Problemy poetiki Dostoevskogo). Other important point of reference is the writing by one of the most emminent founder of the menippeah, Lucian of Samosata’s. The article points at a number of analogies not only between Lucian and Gombrowicz’s way of thinking and seeing the reality but also between their styles and specyfic formations in fiction. The menippeah proves to be a form of literature which best responds to the Diary’s writer temperament: it allows to a serious pit against the absurd of human existence and against the paradoxes of a writer’s condition but at the same time to relieve those absurds and paradoxes with laughter.
The article presents and analyzes the postwar critical and scholarly activity of the Polish émigré critic Tymon Terlecki, who represented the trend in literary criticism known as personalism. Including journalistic writings, reviews, articles, essays, and books, his rich critical output of the postwar years addressed the issues ranging from the responsibilities of Polish writers in exile, the idea of literature committed to moral and political matters, the poetic works of Kazimierz Wierzyński and Stanisław Wyspiański, to personalistic literary criticism and Christian existentialism. In literature Terlecki saw “a special manifestation of human personality“ and this idea, pervading almost all of his critical and scholarly writings, constitutes the main subject of analysis in the article.
The article shows the impact of Konstanty Jeleński’s biography and early ideological formation of his essay writing. The author describes both the traits of culture of Polish landed gentry liberal circles, namely absorbency and diversification of readers’ interest, deep memory of tradition, multilingual and cosmopolitan education, as well as postwar Jeleński’s place in Western Europe institutions, the translator’s and culture mediator’s mission. Such elements of his biography give rise to a number of features of his writing as scope and silva-like review reading, anachronising and upgrading of the Polish language, and poetics of dialogue. The article also delineates ideological dominant of Jeleński’s essay writing. His focus on the elements of naturalistic and genesis works, especially in Miłosz, is an expression of his connections with materialistic and secular tradition, while following, mainly in Gombrowicz, the phenomenon of the form attest to deep memory of landed gentry customs.
Julian Stryjkowski’s “Czarna róża [Black Rose]” as a Roman-à-Clef
The article attempts at a new interpretation and recollection of already somewhat forgotten novel by Julian Stryjkowski Czarna róża (Black Rose). A thorough initial part contains the voices of reviewers and critics that decide about the novel’s controversial reception and about strenghtening its position as a social, political, as well as educational novel with elements of melodrama. The voices pointed at weak sides of the “passive” schematic protagonist, exploited the novel’s autobiographical layer from the angle of so-called ideological truth or historical truth, as Stryjkowski set the action in prewar Lviv working class society. At the same time, the novel’s level of responsibility was lost. The author proves that descerning a key hidden in the text’s deep structure, which encodes all its meanings, imposes on the reader firstly an effort to decipher the mythical matrix, i.e. seizing the elements of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice bound into the plot, and secondly grasping a set of allusive references to Zygmunt Krasiński’s Undivine Comedy which determine a peculiar reader-writer interplay. Not until confronted with those basic cultural texts, can the receiver interpret the novel in the mode consistent with the author’s intention, i.e. with Stryjkowski’s declaration of disillusionment with the communist ideology. The symbol of “black rose” stands for an attempt by a young, ambitious protagonist based on Count Henry at reaching the impossible, namely Tamara’s reciprocal love, a woman as much real as “virgin-dead”, an embodiment of cruel communist ideology. The process of reaching the truth is initiatory and indicates the protagonist’s stepping into deeper regions of Lviv hell, pictured nevertheless with realist reverence.
The present paper aims at showing the uniqueness two novels by Jacek Bocheński: The Divine Julius and Naso the Poet against a background of post-war Polish literature. It dissociates from contributory and anecdotal readings of the analysed novels, as well as from setting them in a context of Polish socialism. The author of the paper proposes reading in the background of ideas and conceptions developed on the ground of European and American (post)modernism. Additionally it points at autothematic character of and Naso the Poet, and at the proposal of literature contained in the novel.
On the Beguiled by Russian Gipsy Romance
The study is devoted to the problems connected with the “gipsy theme” in Polish literature and culture at the turn of 19th and 20th c. and in the interwar period. It presents the results of research in the presence of Russian gipsy romance in Polish popular culture as well as shows its reception in Polish literary and musical criticism. The author also ponders over the phenomenon of connection between gipsy singing and Russian culture, over the Russian-gipsy emotionality fascination recorded in the romance and, in consequence, over Polish Russophobia.
The present study deals also with the role and function of the gipsy themes present in Polish interwar poetry (K. Wierzyński, K. I. Gałczyński, J. Tuwim, J. Czechowicz, and others). It analyses the literary pictures of a Gipsy, Romany women, the motifs of gipsy singing, references to gipsy nomadism, and gipsy magic.
The four letters by Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska (1891–1945) to Rosa Bailly (1890–1976), a French poetess, Polish literature translator, founder of Les Amis de la Pologne association, attest to the friendship the two women developed in the 1930s, to their intimacy and reciprocal admiration of one another’s poetry. The letters, making up a fragment of their correspondence, have survived in Rosa Bailly’s archive in The Polish Library in Paris. Three of the aforementioned letters date back to 1935 and 1936 and touch upon first and foremost the translation of Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska’s poems into French and her family situation after Maria’s marriage to Stefan Jerzy Jasnorzewski, while the fourth letter, dated November 1939, is devoted to the plans of leaving Romania for Paris.
A Contribution to the History of Social Realism in Poland
The article touches upon two university novels written in the first half of the fifties in the 20th century, namely Jerzy Stefan Stawiński’s Herculeses (Herkulesy, 1953) and Zdzisław Wróbel’s Inauguration (Inauguracja, 1954). The author of the article shows the novels’ community character (elements of so-called personal key) and their close connections with socialist realism doctrine. Comparing the two novels, the author concludes that Stawiński’s novel, though faithful to the then writing models, contains a more genuine picture of reality of those days.
Review: Witold Sadowski, Litania i poezja. Na materiale literatury polskiej od XI do XXI wieku. (Warszawa 2011)
The review discusses Witold Sadowski’s book. It gives an account of the first in Polish literary studies so comprehensive and multifaceted a description of the paradigm of the litany form and its history in Polish poetry from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Review: Paweł Bukowiec, Dwujęzyczne początki nowoczesnej literatury litewskiej. Rzecz z pogranicza polonistyki. Kraków (2008). „Biblioteka Literatury Pogranicza”. Tom 16
The review discusses Paweł Bukowiec’s book on bilingual, i.e. written in Polish and in Lithuanian, writers’ literary creativity from Samogitia and from Vilnius at the beginning of 19th century. This comprehensive book is the first on the Polish side to present the achievements by Antoni Klementt (Antanas Klementas), Dionizy Paszkiewicz (Dionizas Poška), Antoni Drozdowski (Antanas Strazdas), Sylwester Teofil Walenowicz (Silvestras Teofilis Valiūnas).
Review: Tadeusz Bujnicki, Pozytywista Sienkiewicz. Linie rozwojowe pisarstwa autora „Rodziny Połanieckich”. Kraków (2007). „Biblioteka Tradycji”. Nr LXI
The review discusses Tadeusz Bujnicki’s book Sienkiewicz the Positivist. Lines of development of the author of “Polaniecki Family [Rodzina Połanieckich]” on the analysis and interpretation of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s worldview and his main aesthetic assumptions. In the innovative characteristics of Sienkiewicz’s positivism Bujnicki allows for Sienkiewicz’s poetics and features of his writing technique as well as reconstructs the meanders of the writer’s ideological attitude.
Review: Maciej Gloger, Sienkiewicz nowoczesny. Bydgoszcz 2010
The review discusses Maciej Gloger’s book Modern Sienkiewicz, focusing on the examination of Gloger’s success in placing Sienkiewicz’s creativity in some type literary modernity. The book in question fails to bring new solutions but it successfully illustrates the problems that Sienkiewicz researchers face when they attempt to find a common ground between the writer’s worldview and full of contradictions significance of his writing.