The paper is an attempt to disambiguate a set of phenomena forming a new Romantic paradigm in Adam Mickiewicz’s “Poezje” (“Poetry”). It describes the mode in which, in connection with the constitutive occurrence of ballads, namely the breaking of empirical vision of the world, all the crucial (textual, imagery, existential, and subjective) phenomena of the work mingle into a multi-layer model to generate new relations and shapes. This event core of the ballads is also linked with developing a personal ethic horizon and individual romantic identity based on it. The paper reveals that this identity is substantially formed in the subjective sphere of the literary piece, on the level of the narrator and the author of “Ballady i romase” (“Ballads and Romances”). Parallel phenomena are examined in the lyrical pieces of the “Poetry”.
Pamiętnik Literacki 3 / 2022
Co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund – a state special purpose fund.
A Poetological Approach
A question about the footnote to “Pierwiosnek” (“Cowslip”) (the initial poem from “Ballady i romanse” <”Ballads and Romances”>) that contains the Latin name of the plant—Primula veris—opens considerations about Adam Mickiewicz’s 1822 “Poezje” (“Poetry”) in the context of the then Warsaw and Vilnius press. The press material is considered here as a collection of images, formulas, sequences of associations forming a peculiar verbal environment of the poems, and also a mediatory space between the author and the reader. Confrontation of Mickiewicz’s work with the poetic content of “Pamiętnik Warszawski” (“Warsaw Memoir”) reveals a smooth shift from the topoi of pastoral poetry to ballad one. By contrast, reading the poetry alongside the Vilnius press (“Tygodnik Wileński” <“Vilnius Weekly”>, “Dziennik Wileński” <“Vilnius Daily”>) discloses the connections of ballad-romance matter with the problems of scientific and prescientific understanding, marked in articles in natural history, including botany, and botany-inspired cultural practices (herbaria).
A Commentary to the Reading of “Ballady i romanse” (“Ballads and Romances”)
The author of the paper explains the role that the problem of memory plays in “Ballady i romanse” (“Ballads and Romances”). He also poses a question about the significance of the romantic turn which is taking place in Polish literature, and in doing so he challenges the state of research completed to this day in Mickiewicz’s cycle of ballads (especially with the works by Zgorzelski, Stefanowska, Fieguth, and Miłosz). Trybuś exploits the issue of romantic memory, resorts to Aleida and Jan Assmann’s cultural studies reflection, as well as allows both for the rhetoric tradition of memory reflection, and the epistemological tradition (“eye of memory”). In his reading of the ballads he concentrates mainly on the subject of romantic memory and on the places of memory, indicating memory-forming experience of death. The considerations are thought of as justification of the paper’s hypothesis about two culminating points of the development of memory problems in Mickiewicz’s creativity—in “Ballady i romanse” and in the consecutive parts of “Dziady” (“Forefathers’ Eve”).
A Note on Young Mickiewicz’s Autointertextuality
In his sketch, the author analyses the thematic, situational, and personal relations between “Romantyczność” (“Romanticism”) and “Dziady” kowieńsko-wileńskie (“Forefathers’ Eve” Part II and IV), and his assumption is that Mickiewicz in his drama enters into an autointertextual dialogue with his own ballad composed earlier. The concerns, such as a possibility of contact between the living and the spirits of the deceased, unsettled in “Romantyczność”, in “Dziady” are unquestionable and experienced by many, especially during the Forefathers’ Eve ceremony. The central focus of the investigation is Karusia’s existential-metaphysical drama and the mode of transforming the collection of issues and problems connected with this figure in “Dziady” kowieńsko-wileńskie.
The paper takes up an interpretation of earliest literary pieces and letters by Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855) from the years 1817–1819, when the poet studied at Vilnius University and taught at a Kaunas school. Satirical and mock-heroic poems from that time (“Mieszko, książę Nowogródka” [“Mieszko, Prince of Novogrudok”], “Pani Aniela” [“Lady Aniela”], “Dziewica z Orleanu” [“The Maid of Orleans”], “Kartofla” [“Potato”]) are adaptations of Voltaire’s plots adjusted to Polish conditions. The interpreter asks about the mode in which young Mickiewicz pictures the historical, human nature, and existential (misfortune) evil. The adaptations from Voltaire are compared with a tale of “Żywila” [“Zhivila”] and letters written in a diction of despair. A combination of a private thread with a historical thread of evil experienced by a community devoid of freedom is a characteristic feature of Mickiewicz’s image of evil.
An Analysis of Philomath Society Speeches from the Years 1818–1821
At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, as a result of political and social transformations, youth unions and associations were established en masse. According to researchers, the main principle organising their emergence and development was youth, the assumptions and ideals of which lay at the foundations of many literary, artistic, and reformative programmes. In Poland, such an association was Philomath Society, perceived as the first generation community aware of its youth. However, an analysis of the language of speeches delivered during formal union meetings in the years 1817–1821 raises doubts about the belief that the Philomaths made youth a supreme value. Youth was a subject of polemics within the union, and its different understanding by the Philomaths became a factor that inhibited and ultimately prevented the implementation of their self-education and general social program.
The paper is devoted to the birth of the Philomath myth, namely the shaping of cultural memory about imprisonment, investigation and following it deportation from Lithuania to exile into Russia of a group of Vilnius interns, students and professors in 1823 and 1824. The author of the paper focuses on announcing and first accounts of so-called Philomath and Filaret trial, the associations to which, traditionally, an anonymous brochure published during the Polish November Insurrection “Nowosilcow w Wilnie w roku szkolnym 1823/24” (“Novosilcov in Vilnius in the Schoolyear 1823/24”, 1831) by, as was later proven, Joachim Lelewel, and Adam Mickiewicz’s “Dziady” (“Forefathers’ Eve”) part III (1832) belonged. As based on those autobiographical accounts, and also on the regained manuscript of “Nowosilcow w Wilnie”, the author formulates a thesis about the existence of pre-Mickiewicz, nameless, collective memory about the Philomaths strengthened, and also substantially changed by the issuing of “Dziady” part III.
Towards the Paradigm of Polish Politicality
The paper is devoted to Adam Mickiewicz’s political thought. Its chief thesis refers to the breakthrough that took place in his thought after the year 1831. The breakthrough entailed quitting from the vision of politics shaped within the framework of Enlightened modernity to develop a programme of Messianic politics anchored in modernity criticism. The change is presented as a paradigmatic choice, a choice of the only accessible tools to pursue politics; it became an exemplary, repeated until today motion of the Polish politics, breaking with modernity. The model proposed by Mickiewicz comprises criticism of liberal democracy, setting politics into religious and moral frame, national symbolic field, and treating politics as an agon.
Weltliteratur between Intellectual History and Literary History
The author of the paper attempts to reconsider the relations between Adam Mickiewicz and Weltliteratur and discloses the factors referring to the idea, formulated for the first time by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, that played special function in the Polish poet’s output. As based on Paris lectures, particularly the first five of them, the author insights into the way in which Mickiewicz takes advantage of world literature and discusses the context of Slavonic studies debate that took place at that time.
While Adam Mickiewicz’s life has been closely examined, sometimes even scrupulously, the knowledge about the poet’s ancestors and relatives is scanty. This refers to, inter alia, the Orzeszko family, from which the poet’s grandmother—Anna Majewska, née Orzeszko—descends. The paper presents, as based on information included in documents, the ancestral relations of this particular line of Mickiewicz’s family, and the situation of Mateusz and Anna Majewscy before their settlement on the property in Czombrów.
On the Poet’s Output in the Lublin School
The Lublin school of the research in Romanticism made a considerable turn in the studies in Mickiewicz’s output. Its founder, Czesław Zgorzelski, the author of pioneering studies in the artistic complexity of the poet’s pieces, editor and leading interpreter of his poems, shifted the research into, inter alia, the field of literary genetics. Accompanied by his students, Marian Maciejewski and Ireneusz Opacki, he made critical discoveries connected with, inter alia, the structure of ballads, sonnets, romantic tales, Roman-Dresden and Lausanne lyric. In case of the latter, the studies, the achievements of which are unsurpassed until this day, were fundamental and sublime. In the following ones (by Danuta Zamącińska or Małgorzata Łukaszuk), a marked place is occupied by the examinations of the 20th c. Romantic poets. A salient feature of this group of scholars was (is) a detailed and improved explorations of artistic achievements organically related to evocation of Mickiewicz’s idea.
The author of the paper gives an account of an unknown to this day Cyprian Norwid’s letter preserved in Archives nationales (National Archives), Paris, where it was catalogued as “Projet de réformes des arts” (“A Project of Fine Arts Reform”). The letter, dated September 1871, was addressed to Charles Blanc (1813–1882), the director of Les Beaux-Arts in the French Ministère de l’Instruction publique, des cultes et des beaux-arts (Ministry of Public Instruction, Cults, and Fine Arts). The author sees the origin of the correspondence in the then press sources on Blanc’s activities linked to his position. In his letter, Norwid raises, inter alia, the issue of material condition of his fellow artists, and pays attention to the necessity of appreciating the sketch which he viewed as an autonomous, full-value work.
Review: Adam Mickiewicz. Twórczość. Vol. 1. Opracował Zespół: Zbigniew Przychodniak, Jerzy Borowczyk, Zofia Dambek-Giallelis, Elżbieta Lijewska, Alicja Przybyszewska. Warszawa 2019. „Bibliografia Literatury Polskiej »Nowy Korbut«”. T. 10
In the presentation of Adam Mickiewicz’s subject bibliography published within the series of “Nowy Korbut” (“New Korbut”) contains supplements that could be allowed for due to the latest publications with unknown until now facts and materials. Additionally, it respects the enlarged collection of the 19th c. Mickiewicz’s translations into various languages that might substantially modify the state of research in the poet’s output reception outside Polish-speaking environments.
Review: Aleksandr Fieduta, Fiłomat w Impierii. Dokumientalnaja powiestʹ o Frantiszkie Malewskom. Minsk 2019. „Nasz XIX wiek”
The paper accurately discusses Franciszek Malewski’s biography (“Filomat v Imperii. Dokumentalnaya povest o Frantishku Malevskom” <”A Philomath in the Empire. The Documentary Story of Franciszek Malewski”>, 2019) by Alexandr Feduta, a Belarussian literary scholar who for many years has been publishing (in Russian, Belarussian, and Polish) materials referring to the history of the Philomaths exiled into the Russian Empire. Feduta scrupulously penetrated Russian, Lithuanian, and Polish archives, which allowed to picture the figure of Malewski—for most part omitted in Polish research—who, after leaving Mickiewicz, stayed in Russia and started moving up the ladder as an office worker. The biographer refrains from passing sentences, but rather displays the difficult choices of the Empire’s citizens in the context of political and legal situation of the country, and also in comparison with the lives of other Poles living and working in Russia.
Review: Jana-Katharina Mende, Das Konzept des Messianismus in der polnischen, französischen und deutschen Literatur der Romantik. Eine mehrsprachige Konzeptanalyse. Heidelberg 2020. „Schriften des Europäischen Zentrums für Sprachwissenschaften”. [T.] 9
The review discusses Jana-Katharina Mende’s book “Das Konzept des Messianismus in der polnischen, französischen und deutschen Literatur der Romantik. Eine mehrsprachige Konzeptanalyse” (“The Concept of Messianism in Polish, French, and German Romantic Literature”, 2020), a monographic depiction of the concept of Messianism in Adam Mickiewicz’s Paris lectures. The reflections included into the lectures allow to present the author’s own concept of Messianism functioning in Polish, French, and German—the languages in which the lectures were published.
Review: Cyprian Norwid, Vade-mecum. Transliteracja autografu. Opracował i występem opatrzył Mateusz Grabowski. (Recenzent: Józef Fert). Łódź 2018
The review is a discussion concerning an edition of the autograph transliteration of Cyprian Norwid’s “Vade-mecum” prepared by Mateusz Grabowski—an invaluable help for textologists, philologists, literary historians, and Norwid scholars in their studies on the poetic collection’s text. The reviewer attempts to disclose the researcher-editor’s workshop, showing their substantial successes in striving with the complicated content matter of the autograph (a new reading of draft notes), but also unveils less numerable places that may be dubious or even arouse opposition (erroneous commentaries or improper management of the text’s variants).
Review: Gotycyzm w literaturze i kulturze lat 1760–1830. Pod redakcją Marcina Cieńskiego i Pawła Pluty. Warszawa 2020
The co-authored monograph “Gotycyzm w literaturze i kulturze lat 1760–1830” (“Gothicism in Literature and Culture 1760–1830”, 2020) offers interesting considerations about this scarcely perceptible issue in its various incarnations. The book contains 27 treatises preceded by an introduction that initially sorts out the problems connected with the subject included in the title. Special attention is directed to the fact that the monograph sheds new light on the issues, however signalled in Polish research, have so far gained no insightful studies.