The article attempts to present the similarities in reflection of Juliusz Słowacki and Fyodor Dostoyevsky over the dependency between God, evil and man, where the aforementioned similarities in reflection are manifested in the characteristics of protagonists developed by the writers―Szczęsny Kossakowski from “Horsztyński” and Nikolai Vsevolodovich Stavrogin from “Besy” (“The Possessed”). The comparison is drawn from the perspective of theodicy analysed in the context of modernity, namely questioning God’s prerogatives and adopting the thesis of “ad maiorem Dei gloriam” (M. Sarot, O. Marquard) atheism. Analysis of the two texts elicits such analogies between Szczęsny and Stavrogin found on such levels as the motif of madness, beauty and solar metaphors, community leadership, transgression, and death.
On a Theodical Thread in Juliusz Słowacki’s “Horsztyński” and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Besy” (“The Possessed”)
Wincenty Pol’s Late Work in the Light of “Pacholę hetmańskie” (“Hetman’s Infant”)
The author of the article presents the late work of Wincenty Pol in a new light, and his starting point is the forgotten poem “Pacholę hetmańskie” (“Hetman’s Infant)”. He analyses the poet’s statements and compares them with the negative opinions of critics and modern researchers in order to prove that for Pol the work had a critical meaning in three dimensions: idealistic perception of art (and culture), the author’s search for a contemporary diarist epic poem, and his own attitude towards the newest tradition of the nation characterized by mourning of the past. Therefore, the article explains late works of Pol as well as introduces a forgotten part of metaliterary reflection of the 1860s.
More on Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Output Reception in 1880–1938 Bohemia (in Cultural Perspective)
The article presents the reception of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s output and that of his social-political activity in Bohemia in the years 1880–1938. At that time, Sienkiewicz along with Leo Tolstoy was most widely-read and respected European writer. Approaches to the problem to this day have neglected its political-cultural aspect, due to which the specificity and non-literary mode of functioning Sienkiewicz’s presence in Czech culture remained unnoticed. The aforementioned reception has thus failed to give tangible results in their artistic and literary-critical dimension, while in social and national dimension Sienkiewicz played a considerably prompting role, adding to the shaping and strengthening of modern Czech national identity. The Czech nationalism had, primarily, philological and literary-scientific basis, and was followed by political one. Hence the significance of Slavonic literary and cultural, especially Russian and Polish, inspirations in the shaping of Czech identity. The process is visible in translations as well as in articles connected with the Polish author’s output and activity published in the most important Czech daily of that time “Národní listy” (“The National Newspaper”) (issued 1861–1941), and in dozens of other Czech press titles, both local and national, following the path of “The National Newspaper.” Sienkiewicz’s creativity was regarded as a great moral support in the fight with Germanisation and, often in a biased way, paying no attention to Polish-Russian conflict (partition of Poland, Russification) was linked with Slavophilic ideals and concepts of Slavic reciprocity with utopian overtone which in the Czech policy played the key role even until the year 1948. Sienkiewicz was labelled as a Slav and more often treated as a representative of the entire Slavdom than as a writer from a country oppressed by Russia.
The paper refers to the changes in Henryk Sienkiewicz’s output reception that took place in the 1960s. The background of the changes is the historical policy of Polish People’s Republic shaped at that time by the influence of the communist authorities’ argument with the Catholic Church over the ideological dimension of The Millennium of the Polish State celebration. The subject of the analysis contained in this paper are selected debates over “Trylogia” (“The Trilogy”) inspired by its writer’s 50th death anniversary. Common element of the discussion about Sienkiewicz’s image of the 17th century is an attempt to understate the associations connected with national mythology and Sarmatian ideology for the reception that calls for universal values and that sets the work into the context of popular culture.
The paper refers to the problem of presence—accessibility of subjective truth about the world immersed in language to the artist and their works—in the meaning proposed by Zdzisław Łapiński, who disambiguates the sense of presence with the formula “natural supranaturalism,” adopted from Meyer Howard Abrams’ book “Natural Supernaturalism. Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature”. Rewievs by Joseph Hillis Miller and by Morse Peckham referred to in this paper are seen as a starting point to a further discussion about the problem of presence in Polish modernist literature in the context of questions about secularisation of Western theological tradition and about political consequences of aesthetic choices.
On Manuscripts of Antoni Walewski’s and Stefan Dembowski’s Letters from the Mochnacki Family Archive
As based on two letters from the Mochnacki family archive, one by Antoni Walewski and one by Stefan Dembowski, the article presents the manipulations and textual transformations that the texts underwent for the Poznań edition of the correspondence issued in the year 1863. In the work of the editor who reveals the old manners of correspondence editing, the methodological aspect proves critical. Proper preparation of the edition calls for numerous competencies and is situated between science and art. Additionally, it is connected with solving “pre-editorial” problems, which can be labelled as “editorial hermeneutics.” The correspondence in Jan Konstanty Żupański’s edition offers an insight into the state of editorial awareness of the mid-19th century—the period in which the notions of editorial reliability and criticality were not fully formulated. Collating the first edition with the manuscripts allows to show the relaxed attitude of the then editors to textual sources, and an unusual mode of creating content. The 19th century editions of letters abound in editorial distortions and interventions resulting from family or political censorship.
Two Unknown Handwritten Letters
The analysis of a volume with Maurycy Mochnacki’s and Kamil Mochnacki’s letters to parents published in the year 1863, the first edition of the correspondence, reveals a number of editorial operations that serve the creation of the senders’ images and discloses the 19th c. characteristic strategies of composing “biographic portraits” in advance. In the volume in question, an important function is played by the numerous non-authorial deviations from the manuscript that deform the style and sense of the original account. They are most clearly visible in Maurycy Mochnacki’s two letters dated July 25th, 1834, and September 2nd, 1834, the manuscripts of which have only recently become the object of a detailed textological analysis. Since the handwritings of the two letters differ from the first edition to such an extent that they should be regarded as non-identical (over 100 differences), the handwritten versions are published here. Until this day, only the deformed letters were known and quoted.
The article concerns the figure of a writer, an author of unusual prose, referred to as “a Polish Hoffmann.” Sztyrmer’s life, as it may seem, has been subject of many discussions, and more than that since his writing had also autobiographical valour. The present paper only in a slight degree refers to “Sztyrmer Ludwik” entry placed in one volume of “Polski słownik biograficzny” (“Polish Biographical Dictionary”), and this entry, as defective, became an excuse to start an intensive archive search query.
The paper introduces a set of new pieces of information about Sztyrmer, his family commitments (data on his parents and grandparents, on numerous siblings, both whole and half, i.e. from his mother’s first marriage, on his relatives mentioned in his memories). Light is also shed on the issue of Sztyrmer’s marriage and his descendants, established names, and real dates of his life.
Helena Modjeska-Chłapowska and Karol Chłapowski’s friendship with Adam Asnyk, which started early and lasted until the poet’s death, and which each of them, as it may seem, greatly valued, is a poorly researched issue. The letters presented here, with one exception unpublished so far, make a contribution to the study of the artists’ relations. The correspondence is preserved in the Jagiellonian Library, and it consists of 18 letters and 1 telegram written between 1869 and 1891. Asnyk authored all of them, 11 were sent to Chłapowski and the actress was the addressee of the remaining ones. The telegram was signed by three senders, namely Adam Asnyk, Karol Estreicher, and Michał Bałucki. The present paper is preceded by an introduction describing the nature of the correspondents’ friendship, and supplemented by a register of Asnyk’s pieces that the actress recited. The letters published here are preceded by an introduction describing the nature of the correspondents’ friendship, and supplemented by a register of Asnyk’s pieces that the actress recited.
Dionizja Poniatowska, de domo Iwanowska (1816–1868), was a woman philanthropist, author of press articles and historical papers, who originated from Podolia. She was interested in literature and history, socialised with artistic circles in Poland and on emigration, and known by many the then writers (e.g. Teofil Lenartowicz, Zygmunt Krasiński), though is linked primarily with Bohdan Zaleski with whom she established a long-lasting friendship authenticated by a correspondence of over 30 years. The letters present Poniatowska as a woman of acute intelligence and increased sensitivity placed on firm ethical basis. Among the many threads and subject raised in the correspondence, special attention is occupied by women. Poniatowska formulated postulates connected with social elevation of woman significance derived from Biblical anthropology. In this respect she is close to the concepts put forward by Cyprian Norwid.
The paper is a description of an anonymous manuscript, treasured in The Kórnik Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the content of the said manuscript refers to the paper published October 16th, 1845, of an article “Les Religieuses basiliennes de Minsk” (“The Basilian Monks of Minsk”) in the French “L’Ami de religion et du Roi” (“A Friend of Religion and the King”) that relates the course of the supposed persecutions of a Basilian abyss, Makryna Mieczysławska, by the apostate bishop Józef Siemaszko. Tracing the circumstances of Mieczysławska’s “Poznań case,” the authors prove that the manuscript is not the only evidence that links the Kórnik manour of the Działyński family with the issue of the alleged abyss of the Minsk Basilians. Additionally, contrasting the manuscript in question with other handwritten and press sources allows the authors to indicate the field of further research in the political confabulation story of Makryna Mieczysławska.
Review: Maciej Junkiert, Nowi Grecy. Historyzm polskich romantyków wobec narodzin Altertumswissenschaft. Poznań 2017. „Filologia Polska”. Nr 188
This review discusses Maciej Junkiert’s book “Nowi Grecy. Historyzm polskich romantyków wobec narodzin Altertumswissenschaft” (“The New Greeks: Historicism of Polish Romantics in the Face of the Birth of Altertumswissenschaft”, 2017) on Gotfryd Ernest Groddeck’s, Joachim Lelewel’s, and Adam Mickiewicz’s reception of German classicism and philhellenism. Recent research into the reception of antiquity within Polish Romanticism has shown how the Roman paradigm—the symbolic system of latinitas—collapsed in the wake of the Partitions of Poland and how, from around 1800 onwards, a “Hellenistic turn” took place in Polish culture. Tracing this turn back to the original works of German Altertumswissenschaft, Junkiert argues, however, that Polish historicism was characterized by a deep ambivalence: the Greek myth had already been adopted by the Prussian colonizers and the Polish “new Greeks” had to struggle with the German origin of their new symbolic identity. This book compellingly shows the intertwinement of nationalism and historicism as exemplified by the case of the Polish “academic Romanticism.” Because of careful readings in philological intertextuality—as Junkiert’s outlook might be labelled—this study provides a methodologically innovative contribution to a practice of Polish studies between philology and intellectual history.
Review: Andrzej Kotliński, Aleksander Nawarecki, Dialog troisty. Colloquia o Juliuszu Słowackim. Warszawa (2019). „Studia Romantyczne”
The review praises Andrzej Kotliński and Aleksander Nawarecki’s book “Dialog troisty. Colloquia o Juliuszu Słowackim” (“Colloquia on Juliusz Słowacki: A Trilogue”, 2019), divided into seven parts, each of which consists of two separate studies joined by a common topic. In spite of the various writing individualities of the authors, both of them display the poet’s world of imagination and anthropology in their accurate analyses, model philological reading of the text, revealing treatment of, inter alia, diminutives, acoustic instrumentation, and ornithological motifs, while often dealing with the pieces that are neglected in research tradition. The authors also give Słowacki’s reading an intimate perspective, clearly setting this reading into their own experience.
Review: Wojciech Hamerski, Ironie romantyczne. Warszawa 2018. „Studia Romantyczne”
The author, reviewing Wojciech Hamerski’s book “Ironie romantyczne” (“Romantic Ironies”), focuses his attention on a detailed presentation of the book’s issues, though primarily on an analysis of validation of setting the varieties of ironies peculiar to the literature of Polish Romanticism apart. The reviewer points at unobtrusiveness of ironic spaces discovered by Hamerski in Mickiewicz’s, Kraszewski’s, and Lenartowicz’s creativity. In such unobtrusiveness he discerns the highest value of the study in question. The review also reconstructs the theoretical structure of the book that refers to Friedrich Schlegel’s aesthetic reflection.
Review: Magdalena Siwiec, Romantyzm, czyli „inter esse”. Warszawa 2017 „Studia Romantyczne”
The review discusses primarily Magdalena Siwiec’s work “Romantyzm, czyli ‘inter esse’” (“Romanticism, that is ‘inter esse’”), but does not concentrate solely on this book, the fifth in her scholarly achievements. On the contrary, reading this collection of Siwiec’s studies becomes an excuse to pose questions about the research tradition that she considers vital, about her understanding of Romanticism, achievement, method, and humanistic sensitivity. The title formula inter esse, having a profound influence on the shape and composition of the issues in the study, also adds to defining the poetics and character of the review.
Review: Ołena Tkaczuk, Multykulturna identycznist´ Dżozefa Konrada: krytyczno-typołohiczni wymiry. (Monohrafija). Kyjiw 2018
Many researchers have risen the Ukrainian issues in Joseph Conrad’s biography and creativity, though they have offered rather contributions to the problem than ordered studies. This gap is filled with Olena Tkachuk’s monograph discussed here which places Conrad’s Ukraininty against the background of his multiculturality composed of the Polish Republic’s traditions, of the landowners’ model of upbringing, where crucial role was played by the French language and culture, and later of the British experience connected, inter alia, with the mode the figure of a gentleman was understood.
The paper, freely exploiting the languages of modern humanities, is an example of a symbiosis between cultural studies and biography with comparative approaches.
Review: Joanna Lisek, Kol isze – głos kobiet w poezji jidysz (od XVI w. do 1939 r.). Sejny 2018
The reviewer discusses Joanna Lisek’s monograph entitled “Kol isze – głos kobiet w poezji jidysz (od XVI w. do 1939 r.)” (“Kol ische – The Voice of Women in Yiddish Poetry from the Sixteenth Century to 1939”) (Sejny 2018), regarded as one of the most vital achievements both in Yiddish literary studies and in feminist criticism in Poland. Employing the tools offered by this research perspective, Lisek presents the development of women Yiddish lyric poetry as a way to emancipation, leading to making women voices audible in the space of Jewish culture dominated by men. A separate value of the monograph is translation of the poetry, and the translator’s commentaries make up an integral part of reading the texts.
Review: Magdalena Popiel, Świat artysty. Modernistyczne estetyki tworzenia. Kraków 2018
The text reviews of Magdalena Popiel’s book “Świat artysty. Modernistyczne estetyki tworzenia” (“The World of the Artist. Modernist Creative Aesthetics”, Kraków 2018) and also attempts at tracing the intellectual construction that is a promising variant of cultural literary history—the story of the history of creative process. The author directs the receiver’s attention to the artist himself, to his voice that becomes audible also outside the artifact—in letters, diaries, autobiographies; thus “The World of the Artist” attempts to describe those creative individuality in whom artistic activity is closely linked to identity reflection contained in personal document literature. Performers of modernity in Magdalena Popiel’s account are Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Cézanne, Auguste Rodin, Georg Simmel, Bruno Schulz, Stanisław Witkiewicz, and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, all read through the prism of Peter Sloterdijk or Julia Kristeva.