Issue 3/2013

Pamiętnik Literacki 3 / 2013

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Tarda loquendi facultas – Gallus Anonymous’ Identity in the Context of Letters and Epilogues of “Gesta principum Polonorum”

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Letters and epilogues of Gallus Anonymous’ Gesta, in particular the topoi contained in them, form the subject of the article. The author builds a multicoloured set of topoi as based on his own cultural self-awareness with highly blurred references to social reality. Thus, most important in Gesta are such places which break conventions, fail to respect them or change attitude to them. A lively in the last decade debate over Gallus looses a lot without a renewed examination, in most general terms, of the realm of literary conventions and topoi.

In conclusion, the author takes up the issue of anonymity of Gesta with special attention paid to the structure of letter preceding book III.

Gallus is an example of the author whose work enters into a complex relationship with oral literature. Gesta might be seen as a (light) token of arising 12th century interest in chivalry romance. Gallus is equally skilful in taking advantage of literary traditions as in techniques of oral presentation, both of which he integrates into the text designed for quiet reading. Oral transmission of literature effects divest of its primary function and serves as a means of distancing and establishing fiction. The tension is built between conventional expression directed to listeners and the real mode of reception by the readers. Gallus felt the need to produce a highly literal and fictional Gesta in order to somehow dissociate form oral and orally transmitted vernacular epic. The letters became a means of defence against such transmission.

The basic hindrance to explicit and reliable specification of intended and factual reception of Gesta should likewise be seen in the used conventions which interpreters many a time treated as a social reality while not all of Gallus’ expressions can be read verbatim.

French and Polish Invectives, Laments, and Songs. On Philippe Desportes’ Erotics and Jan Kochanowski’s “Lyricorum Libellus”

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Philippe Desportes, court poet of the Polish and French King Henri Valois, wrote, apart from Adieu à la Pologne, ten other poems that contained a Polish thread, placing all of them in his erotic cycles. In the course of numerous changes done to the editions from 1576–1607, the extrapoetic content is blurred. The Polish theme is thus more and more melted into mere love topoi (Polish cold vs. flame of love; Polish “wilderness” – allegory of melancholy –  vs. emotional liveliness; far Poland becomes a reason for the end of love), and helps to produce fine and pleasant paradoxes in the poet’s neo-Petrarchan style.

On the contrary, Jan Kochanowski in his Lyricorum libellus reaches for strong paradoxes in the spirit of Horatian mannerism. Setting praise for the new Polish king Stephen Báthory at the background, he amasses oblique side swipes at Henri Valois, whom he formerly supported. Humbly posing himself as a poet who fell down from a horse (ode XI), Kochanowski cunningly shows through the cycle that he remains in the saddle at every volte.

“Shall I Hide in an Empty Forest?” On the Translation and Interpretation of the Myth of Actaeon in Andrzej Zbylitowski’s View

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Analysing Andrzej Zbylitowski’s translation of a fragment of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Actaeon’s history from Book 3, lines 155–252), the author of the present article attempts to settle why the verse interpretation of the myth (the protagonist is devoured by dogs – incurring debts) which the poet included into the translation so strongly departs from the presented story. As a result, Polish translations of Ovid are traced, followed by an insight into the Roman poet’s immense popularity in the Middle Ages and an attempt made then to adjust Metamorphoses to school purposes through allegoric commentaries. To add, the article points at customary changes (mainly in hunting) and at a possible translator’s error, all of which influenced not only the interpretation of the myth but the figures of Actaeon and Diana, and the symbol of deer as well. The considerations lead to the conclusions that the allegorical interpretation in the mediaeval spirit was still valid among 16th century humanists, allegorical commentary coexisted with the new model of translation, and mythological tales were still treated as exempla, i.e. stories with their own sets of interpretations.

Father Birkowski’s Rhinoceros, That Is Baroque Preacher’s Symbolic Plays with Reader

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Stefan Chmielecki, a newly appointed voivode of Kiev, who gained fame for the most part during Turkish invasions, died in 1630. Two years later, a Dominican, Fabian Birkowski, prince Władysław’s chaplain, published a thorough preachment dedicated to him in which, consistent with the then fashion, he used a number of peculiar pieces of information about rhinoceros extracted mainly from old works and newer nature books. Identifying the rhinoceros (to whom the preachment protagonist was compared) with mythological unicorn, Birkowski constructed a subtle heraldic allusion. Though in the preachment he made no remark about that, his readers for certain knew that the Chmielecki’s used the Bończa coat of arms which showed a unicorn against a blue background.

Toruń Wedding Riddles: Comparisons – Imagery – Morality

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Wedding riddles printed in Toruń at the turn of 17th and 18th century written by the Polish patriciate as panegyrical art of words (regarded as a praise of newly married couple and joy of marriage bed) at least could equal with their literary culture level to those of nobility erotic riddles from Jakub Teodor Trembecki’s Wirydarz poetycki (Garden of Poetry). Burgher epitalamion writers did not reach for poetic metaphors but resorted to such descriptions in which significative function was committed mainly to comparisons viewed as elements leading the wedding audience to solve the riddle. In other words, the riddles expound non-metaphorical imagery shaped with periphrasis peculiar to the genre’s poetics. The riddle’s poetics settled that the difference between wedding occasional poems and pornographic poems as Garden of Poetry is tied not as much to various techniques of imagery as to what can be expressed most briefly as the vocabulary, always moral in Torunian pieces and often immoral in manuscript poems present in Garden of Poetry.

Jan Bielski Dramatic Works against the Changes in Jesuitic Theatre in 18th Century

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The article discusses Jan Bielski’s dramatic works from the perspective of the changes that took place in Jesuitic schooling in mid 18th century. The changes are revealed in his writing on a number of levels: ideological (accentuation of civic issues), compositional (return to classical 5 act structure, preserving the principle of three unities), and the construction of the world presented. The Jesuit modernises and adjusts the plot and protagonist creation to the needs of the new dramaturgy. Referring to language and style of Bielski’s tragedy, we observe distinguisment of the Polish language. Since the Jesuit fringed upon two epochs, apart from classicistic elements, devices popular in baroque dramas (allegorical characters, dramas enriched with prologues and interludes, and writing the tragedy with resort to the technique of periaktori) also find their expression.

Silvae and Silvas – a Literary History Gloss to the Misunderstanding

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The main purpose of the paper is to present some logical and semantic assumptions hidden behind the theory of figurativity, elaborated by a German humanist and scholar Peter Schade (Petrus Mosellanus, 1493–1524) in the treatise entitled Tabulae de schematibus et tropis (Frankfurt 1516). The work, written with a thought of students, is a brief list of schemes and tropes known as the figures of speech or the rhetorical devices. The figurativity is considered in the manual as a sphere of connotations, allowing for various semantic transformations (described by the theoreticians in terms of rearrangement or substitution), what is especially evident in the case of tropes (four ‘master’ tropes: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony). It also remains in a strict connection with the literal meaning, theoretically regarded as a domain of denotation. For the humanists, language is almost a universal instrument of human cognition, a useful tool of communication and persuasion, and a functional way of expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Their confidence to words is based largely on the presumption of the existence of a natural correlation between two heterogeneous domains of reality: words (verba) and things (res). From grammatical point of view, every trope is a kind of aberration that infracts the criteria of linguistic correctness. The figurativity creates a challenge for a referential semantics, because it generates ambiguity, for instance by changing the established order or meaning of words. Grammatical and rhetorical analysis reveals that language does not refer to reality in direct way, but actively constitutes an unlimited world of meanings.

 

Renaissance Theories of Figurativity: Peter Schade (Petrus Mosellanus)

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The main purpose of the paper is to present some logical and semantic assumptions hidden behind the theory of figurativity, elaborated by a German humanist and scholar Peter Schade (Petrus Mosellanus, 1493–1524) in the treatise entitled Tabulae de schematibus et tropis (Frankfurt 1516). The work, written with a thought of students, is a brief list of schemes and tropes known as the figures of speech or the rhetorical devices. The figurativity is considered in the manual as a sphere of connotations, allowing for various semantic transformations (described by the theoreticians in terms of rearrangement or substitution), what is especially evident in the case of tropes (four ‘master’ tropes: metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony). It also remains in a strict connection with the literal meaning, theoretically regarded as a domain of denotation. For the humanists, language is almost a universal instrument of human cognition, a useful tool of communication and persuasion, and a functional way of expressing thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Their confidence to words is based largely on the presumption of the existence of a natural correlation between two heterogeneous domains of reality: words (verba) and things (res). From grammatical point of view, every trope is a kind of aberration that infracts the criteria of linguistic correctness. The figurativity creates a challenge for a referential semantics, because it generates ambiguity, for instance by changing the established order or meaning of words. Grammatical and rhetorical analysis reveals that language does not refer to reality in direct way, but actively constitutes an unlimited world of meanings.

Definition as a Source of Epigramatic Argutia in Jesuitic Theory and Practice

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Making use of rhetoric in poetry making was obvious for old scholars and poets as rhetoric performed the function now taken over by literary studies. It is not surprising that it was referred to as in epigrammatic creativity when the point was to look for brilliant conclusions known as argutia. Such verbal trickery proved significant as it met the expectations of a baroque reader and fell within the scope which might be referred to as the then sense of literary aesthetics. Many Jesuitic scholars shared an unquestionable view that at the basis of proper argutias are places (loci) and definitions (ex definitione) placed among them.

Defining in baroque elocution was thoroughly researched and clearly subcategorised. In the analyses no text based on a dialectic form of definition could be found. It cannot be, however, claimed that there were no attempts to employ such a form as well. Much more common were resorts to various, also multi-level, descriptive solutions. Some poets, as Bauhusius or Cabilleau, show a discernable  inclination to use the definition as a textual material. The use of description did not exclude other measures, among which at least opposition, metaphorisation, dialogisation, alliteration, and acrostic are worthwhile. The language of the epigrams might be claimed reach; it is worthy of note that New Latin formulas and terms were often employed. Eventually, analysing baroque Jesuitic epigrams one cannot disregard the fact that strongly marked with rhetoric pieces are not uncommon, some of which undoubtedly refer to the norms governing definitions.

“You Want to Be Terrible, but You Flee...” On the Commentary to Jan Kochanowski’s Muscovy Epinicions

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The author of the study tries to explain the origin of the information given by Jan Kochanowski about Ivan the Terrible’s escape to the far North of which the information is recurrently exalted in Kochanowski’s pieces on Polish Republic victories in the period of the wars with the Muscovy waged by Stephen Báthory. Contrary to former commentators, the author proves that however the piece of news is incongruous with the historical truth, it is yet not accidental. First, it is an effect of a propaganda, the exemplar of which Kochanowski might have found in earlier accounts and, second, it documents the information noise that accompanied the then war campaigns. The author also notices that the information about Ivan the Terrible’s alleged flight fused with the descriptions of Stephen Báthory’s wars and operated also on later writers who, when describing Polish-Russian relationships, tended to claim that the feared czars planned escape from the power of the Polish Republic rulers.

In the Circle of Anti-Jewish Literature in Old Poland – “Prognosticon or Recommendation of a Stinky Calf [...]”

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The object of this study is the text that can be placed in a wide range of polemical libelous literature. The article raises the problem of social and political relations in the Poland of the first half of 17th century. The aim of the study is to show the rhetorical and generic contexts of this type of literature, in particular the features of language, persuasive measures, and finally the genre determinants of these statements.

This text also reveals a certain way of thinking of at least some Christians about the Jewish population at that time. Starting from the title, through the communication in the text and at last its erudite dimension, the reader has the impression that the whole text has some features of a scholarly treatise or that it is an opinion of a significant group of intellectuals (academics, Christian/Christianity scholars) on religion and the way of living of this social class. Prognosticon […] is filled with many insults, written, inter alia, in German. It underlines the strangeness of Jewish customs, and also indicates a number of imaginary threats that were magnified for political purposes. Prognosticon […] raises the question about the limits of freedom of public discourse.

Jan of Kijany, Januarius Sovizralius, Jan Dzwonowski – Two Pseudonyms, One Name? On the Identity of Plebeian Poet

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Almost from the moment of scientific “discovery” of 17th century Polish plebeian poetry scholars debated on the problem of its authorship. Doubts arose from the fact that the texts were published pseudonymously. Literary historians inclined to various conceptions, claiming authorship to be the most difficult to settle. The present article introduces new arguments for identifying Jan Dzwonowski with Jan of Kijany and Januarius Sovizralius. It is claimed that the author in question originated from the village of Dzwonowa and was an organist in a parish church in the town of Brzostek (now Dębica poviat, Subcarpatian Voivodeship).

An Anonymous Emblematic Work Based on Anton Wierix’s “Cor Iesu Amanti Sacrum” Cycle of Prints from the Second Half of 17th Century

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Anton Wierix’s cycle of 18 copperplates entitled Cor Iesu amanti sacrum, up to recently unknown to literary historians, has inspired two lately issued poetic cycles from 17th century (see M. Mieleszko, Emblematy [Emblems], ed. by R. Grześkowiak, J. Niedźwiedź. Warszawa 2010). The article delivers pieces of information on a third such piece preserved in two editions written by the same hand and embellished with the same set of prints (copies of which are by Michael Snijders). The first edition is known from the manuscript of the Order of Saint Clare in Stary Sącz, while the second one from the Norbertines monastery of Imbramowice. The anonymous work devoid of its title is a meditative book for nuns. Each of its 16 chapters consists of a title, a print, a translation of its Latin inscription, a biblical quote, a longer poetic text placed below, and a meditation in prose. Apart from basic pieces of information about handwritten sources, the article offers a critical edition of foreword and two chapters (4 and 5) as a comparative analysis of the two editions.

 

From a Chronicle to a Silva. On the Problems of Manuscript and Print at the Beginning of 17c. Part 2: Maciej Stryjkowski’s Poem in Lvov Manuscript from the Ossolineum Library Collection

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The article attempts to collate bibliography of the works by Maciej Stryjkowski, a Renaissance poet and historian, author of Chronicle of Poland, Lithuania, Samogitia and of all Ruthenia (Kronika polska, litewska, żmudzka i wszystkiej Rusi) published in Königsberg in 1582. Stryjkowski’s autobiographical statements made at various stages of his productivity containing the first notes about the texts and brief characteristics of his own pieces form a starting point for the present paper. The author treats the statements as the epoch’s literary texts which thus are subject to imitation, depend on conventions and make use of the repertoire of traditional topoi. The analyses and comparative studies conclude with a postulate of deleting the poem O wolności szlachty polskiej, jakiej nie masz pod słońcem świata (On the freedom of Polish nobility […]) from the list of Stryjkowski’s pieces as the centon was composed at the beginning of 17th century by a poem writer Marcin Paszkowski from fragments of Stryjkowski’s anti-Turkish poem O wolności Korony Polskiej i Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego (On the Freedom of the Polish Crown and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania) (1575).

Travels into Old-Polish Genres and Topics, (On The Margin of Tragicalness and Grotesque)
Review: Teresa Banaś, Pomiędzy tragicznością a groteską. Studium z literatury i kultury polskiej schyłku renesansu i wstępnej fazy baroku. Katowice 2007. „Prace Naukowe Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach”. Nr 2543

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The review of Teresa Banaś’s book Between Tragicalness and Grotesque discusses the problems taken upon by the author referring to literary creativity of Polish rouges and story-tellers gathered in Babin Republic, and a new look at Jan Kochanowski’s Treny (Laments). In  his conclusion, the reviewer states that Banaś’s book is a reliable approach to the poetics of the discussed authors and offers a new quality of research in Old-Polish literature.

Kniaźnin Read Anew
Review: Czytanie Kniaźnina. Pod redakcją Bożeny Mazurkowej i Tomasza Chachulskiego. (Warszawa 2010)

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The text reviews the volume edited by Bożena Mazurkowa and Tomasz Chachulski, containing a few dozen of treatises, each of which is devoted to a separate work by Franciszek Dionizy Kniaźnin.  The reviewers point at the origin of undertaking reflections on his poetry by a wide circle of literary scholars, explain the purpose for adopting the formula of “reading” the pieces by Kniaźnin, indicate the various contexts in which the poet’s output is analysed, describe the publication’s composition and editorial assumptions, and highlight importance of the volume for the so far state of research in Kniaźnin’s lyric.

Niemcewicz’s Romantic America?
Review: Elwira Jeglińska, Między marzeniem a rzeczywistością. Ameryka w twórczości Juliana Ursyna Niemcewicza. Poznań 2010. „Biblioteka Literacka »Poznańskich Studiów Polonistycznych«”

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The review discusses Elwira Jeglińska’s book on the American threads in Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz’s literary creativity. Jeglińska presents the origin of Niemcewicz’s interests in the United States of America at the beginning of his public activity and follows with analyses of the memories contained in numerous texts from the period of his long standing stay in the USA, in which she traces the evolution of the poet’s views on the new country issues. The image of America which emerges from Niemcewicz’s creativity is built through the prism of exile and it prefigures, in Jeglińska’s opinion, the attitudes and means of literary expression characteristic of romanticism.

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