Issue 4/2011

Pamiętnik Literacki 4 / 2011

Dedication to Professor Anna Martuszewska

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Perverse Core of “Dominican Meditations”

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The article offers an analysis of Dominican Meditations from a perspective being different from the traditional. The analysis amounts to, inter alia, locating the text in line with other works composed approximately at the same time as Dominican Meditations, as well as with chronologically distinct texts. Set in cultural context, the juxtaposition reveals perversity of the text, understood after G. Bataille as a disretreat from death’s rape, and exhibits a macabre “hyperreality” of Christ’s torment.

Renaissance Bishops Epitaphs

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Sepulchral pieces of writing dedicated to bishops are numerous both in the achievements of Renaissance poets known by name and in epigraphic monuments. Research in funeral literature of this type lead to capture its main literary tendencies, allow for learning about some of the influential figures of their time, and last but not least they induce into a deeper reflection on today’s priestly matters. Authors of the texts utilised mainly the fixed methods of praise, comploration and consolation; they also used typical patterns of composition. Presenting the figures, they paid much attention to the bishop’s intimacy with the ruler, and stressed that the bishop’s exceptional abilities were first and foremost source of the ruler’s respect. In addition, they highlighted the bishops’ good points and efforts for the common good. The pieces analysed here reveal a strong tendency – compatible with so-called Greek method of characterizing a person – to describe personal and individual virtues. Even if the epitaphs contain different pieces of information, they are usually confronted with the descriptions of the bishops’ attitudes and behaviour. The bishops’ grandeur is seen in particular as personhood maturity. It is strogly emphasised that the bishops were figures of multiple virtues: hard-rorking persons devoted to the nation and their followers, exercised about the poor, strict with themselves, incorruptible and candid. Resorting to various methods, however quite noticeably, the authors tend to construct the epitaphs in the way that  put the person before his attainments and deeds. The approach sketched above might have various reasons; yet it cannot be precluded that the tendency was deliberate and fixed in clergy epitaphs.

A Description of Istanbul in Samuel Twardowski’s “Important Mission” and the Topoi of Laudatio Urbis

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The author of the study discusses the technique and functions of Instanbul description in Samuel Twardowski’s Important Mission, a 1633 historical epic story which includes a description of Krzysztof Zbaraski’s diplomatic mission with intervowen digressions about sightseeing. Starting point of the considerations is a recapitulation of the knowledge about the origin and use of the convention of laudatio urbis which was – as the author suggests – Twardowski’s basic point of reference. Various pieces of information on Istanbul (its location, inhabitants, monuments or history) develop the topoi typical of rhetorical pattern. Nevertheless, Twardowski employs majority of the topoi, mainly designed for praise, for creating a negative, ideologically dominated picture of the Ottoman metropolis, especially its inhabitants, and rarely gives expresion of admiration (e.g. while giving an account of a picturesque city or remains of its Christian past).

Four Old-Polish Versions of Seneca’s Song „Quis Vos Exagitat Furor”

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The author presents the ideological matter of the second stasimon of Seneca’s Thyestes, which contains stoic knowledge about “true reign” seen as masterly control of one’s passions connected with divesting of flighty ambitions and fears, the latter including those related to imminent death. Considering the universal, comprehensively sketched role model and its literary form, the ancient monody Quis vos exagitat furor over a span of centuries looses its integral connectivity with Mycenaean infanticide drama and becomes a subject of faithful translations and creative adaptations. Seneca’s song in Poland were translated by Jan Alan Bardziński and Józef Epifani Minasowicz, while Jan Rybiński and Jan Andrzej Morsztyn produced its original adaptations. A close analysis of Morsztyn’s Votum z Seneki (Lutnia 57) gives way to see it as an alternative source of Old-Polish apology of life in seclusion to Horace’s famous epode Beatus ille.

“Garlic and sapphires in the mud”. English Poetry and the Term “Baroque”

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The quotation in the title of this article, from T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, displays the characteristic of sharp contrast associated with the concept of the baroque. It is a characteristic to be found in the work of many English poets, flourishing particularly in the seventeenth century and continuing to this day. Yet British scholars are generally reluctant to make use of  the  term “baroque” unless in relation to poets with Catholic connections, such as Robert Southwell or Richard Crashaw. The article inquires into the reasons for this reluctance and asks what benefits might be gained from overcoming it. A revaluation of the neglected term “baroque” could help to reveal not only the European connections of English poetry since the Reformation but also its link with the tradition of the English Middle Ages.

Classical-Sentimental Epoch’s Warm Riversides. Generalisations and Resemblances

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The paper focuses on the poems composed classical and sentimental poetics in the late Enlightenment, in which we find reflections resulting from the poet’s real or fictional return to a dear homeland river. A thematic-existential classification is referred to, “I” her – now, “I” here – now and later, and “I” here – now and earlier. Within such classification the author analyses the poems by Józef  Morelowski, Adam Mickiewicz, and Franciszek Karpiński, and daws attention to the blurred borderlines between the classical and the sentimental seen both in the collections of poems and in the poems.

Theatre and the Beginnings of Theatre Criticism in Poland

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The subject of the article is the birth of theatre criticism in Poland, which dates back to the beginnings of 19th century. Referring to material such as extensive and initially anonymous quotes from reviews of the plays staged in Warsaw published mainly in “Warsaw Gazette” (“Gazeta Warszawska”) from 1802 to 1806, from polemics with the reviews, as well as from the viewers’s comments, the author shows the shaping and development of Polish theatre criticism. Reviews contained remarks about the staging itself: directing, acting, setting, as well as translation (in the case of foreign plays), and they were wtitten in the spirit of classicistic aesthetics and poetics. Staging the classical, mainly French and Polish works was appraised while all departures from classicistic norms and new theatre genres, especially various forms of drama, were denounced. The texts analysed in the article reveals that the 19th Polish theatre clearly favoured new artistic-ideological tendencies, and while introducing (apart from sentimental motifs) also fantasy and motifs of horror, it made way to pre-romantic and romantic elements.

Expression of Silence in Jan Kochanowski’s “Laments”. A Gloss to the Study on the Rhetorical Construction of the Poem

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The aim of the article is to shed light on the means of poetic expression in Jan Kochanowski’s Laments which manifest silence, concealment, or deliberate omission of some issues in the statements of the poem’s protagonist. Comparing similar figures of speech in Greek tragedies and in Laments,  the author proves that Kochanowski took advantage of the literary tradition in a peculiar way: not only did he adopt the past figures of speech and incorporate them into new contexts as well as supplement them with new meanings, but also partially recalled pictures and motifs from ancient texts to juxtapose the traditional meaning of topoi with new semantic contexts. In effect, Kochanowski greatly enriched the lyrical implication of Laments since the vividness of funeral poem devoted to the little Orszula became to some extent multidimentional as it accumulated the old (familiar to literary tradition) meanings and the new ones which voiced the existential questions and doubts of a  16th century man.

“Dying Man’s Complaint” – a Bernardine Manuscript From Sandomierz Diocesan Library

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The article is devoted to until now unknown version of Dying Man’s Complaint. The text – manuscipt number L 1684, dated the end of 17th century – previously belonged to Bernardine Convent in Radom, and was found by the author at the Diocesan Library in Sandomierz. The account is a complete  abecedarius and sticks to the Płock version of Dying Man’s Complaint. The text in question, referred to as Sandomierz version, coincides with the Kórnik, Ruthenian, and Kętrzyński’s II editings, and then with the Bernardine one. The article looks into the Sandomierz version references to the available editions of Dying Man’s Complaint, clarifies the proper reading of the text, as well as links the text’s popularity in Bernardine circles with the theme of death propagated by the convent.

Andrzej Zbylitowski’s Lost “History of St. Genevieve”. Remarks and Assumptions

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Andrzej Zbylitowski’s History of St. Genevieve was printed in 1599 but we do not know this edition. Scholars tried to guess the text, which is nevertheless dedeuced from Hieronim Juszyński’s notes, who noted the beginning of the piece. It can thus be concluded that the text in question was dedicated to the poet’s wife, and devoted to the patron of the French. It is common knowledge that the text refers to the poet’s first wife Anna Trzcieńska, and Genevieve was the defeater of the Huns. We do not know, however, which wife of the poet is to be considered (in the same year the History was printed the poet got married for the second time), and St. Genevieve of Paris was commonly confused with Genevieve of Brabant, generally regarded as a saint. The article offers the possible solutions, establishes whether Zbylitowski knew the popular story of the oppressed innocence (i.e. Genevieve of Brabant), and presents the poet’s the reasons for taking up the hagiographic subject.

From a Chronicle to a Silva. On the Problems of Manuscript and Print at the Beginning of 17c. Part 1: Marcin Paszkowski’s Song on the Conquest of Smoleńsk. Notes on Authorship and Migrations of the Text

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The subject of the sketch is a 17th century song which relates an episode from Polish-Muscovy war waged from the year 1609. The research to date described the song as anonymous, related to verse pieces on contemporary matters, and connected to popular culture. The manuscript was the basis of the song’s reprints. The article establishes Marcin Paszkowski as the author of the text, offers a more accurate version of it and situates it within the limits of occasional literature devoted to the victory of Smoleńsk in June 1611.

“A Story of a Duchess and a Cobbler’s Wife” – an Unknown Old-Polish Manners and Social Satire

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A Story of a Duchess and a Cobbler’s Wife found in Lviv National Vasyl Stefanyk Scientific Library of Ukraine, an anonymous, unknown to date poem printed in 18th c. most probably at the publishing house held by a Lviv family of publishers – the Szlichtyns – and composed possibly much earlier is a satire on human vices, especially female ones. Texts of the type, referred to as middle-class or plebeian or pulp fiction literature, were of popular character. Published in edition numerous editions, often distributed illegally, such small volume prints were cheap and enjoyed popularity mainly among low culture representatives. The piece published here is a 13 syllable evenly rhymed line and consists of 176 verses. The satire in question raises a fairly popular motif of change of roles (as a punishment the duchess becomes a cobbler’s wife while a pious cobbler’s wife – a dutchess) with all its unpleasant consequences to the duchess – an unbearable woman. In the final part of the story the duchess becomes a righteous person and everything ends happily.

Michał Kazimierz Ogiński as a Poet. The Cannon of Texts and Attribution Problems

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The article refers to Michał Kazimierz Ogiński, the Grand Hetman of Lithuania, a patron of the arts, originator of an exceptionally remarkable artistic estate in Słonim, who was also an interesting poet. His poems were edited anonymously in four volumes. Bibliographers and literary historians (Bentkowski, Estreicher, Korbut) showed disagreement in the attribution of those poems. A part of them was attributed to Michał Kleofas Ogiński, while a meritorious monographer of Ogiński’s estate Andrzej Ciechanowski suggested Ogiński’s cooperation with the Hetman’s secretaries in composing them. Still, an analysis of the manuscript of a collection of songs, the only volume signed with Ogiński’s name and unknown to authors of earlier studies, and a stylistic analysis of the lyrics make it possible to state that Michał Kazimierz Ogiński is the author of all the analysed volumes of poetry.

Communication Problems or How Not to Talk to Rulers. Unpublished Tomasz Kajetan Węgierski’s Letters to Stanisław August

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The article presents a part of so far unpublished correspondence of a Polish poet and traveller Tomasz Kajetan Węgierski with the King Stanisław August Poniatowski. Węgierski, absent from the country for a few years, wanted to come back, but the King either did not respond to his letters, or replied frigidly to his requests and gave any evidence of favour which might allow Węgierski to save his face.

Sarmatian and Demons. A Picture of Folk Demonology in Polish Pre-Romantic Literature

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The picture of folk beliefs in Slavonic national literatures varies in different epochs both in its source and in its function in the structure of writing. In the paper author considers the names of demonological figures and religious motifs associated with them present in Old-Polish and Enlightenment literature. The demonological thread is characterised in a number of ways: as a matter of demon’s appearance – ugliness, old age, black colour; in attitude to humans – frightening, doing harm, deceiving, and finally in the matter of demon’s location – its presence in the domain of nature, far from human “tamed” space. As far as human attitude to demons is concerned, what makes it typical is anxiety, fear, terror, and a crave for defense against them with religious and magic measures. The author concludes that the use of demonic names in the texts written in the epochs in question is of a cognitive value mainly within the limits of folk images, while in satire of manners and in political or religious polemics they often have ideological function.

A Testimony to Jacop Sannazar’s Literary Creativity Reception in Old-Polish Literature
Review: Rytmy o porodzeniu przenaczystszym Bogarodzice Panny Maryjej. Wydali i opracowali Roman Mazurkiewicz i Elwira Buszewicz. Redakcja naukowa tomu Alina Nowicka-Jeżowa. Warszawa 2009. „Humanizm. Idee, Nurty i Paradygmaty Humanistyczne w Kulturze Polskiej. Inedita”. T. 1

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Establishing relationship between Grzegorz Czaradzki’s Rhythms about Holy Virgin God’s Mother most Chastful Birth Giving (Rytmy o porodzeniu przenaczystszym Bogarodzice Panny Maryjej) and Jacop Sannazar’s De partu Virginis is one of the important and at the same time one of the newest disclosure in the research in Old-Polish literature. Due to the edition of the Polish translation, which the paper reviews, supplemented with a comprehensible introduction, there is offered a noteworthy testimony of the famous Neapolitan’s creativity testimony which sheds light on the standard of the beginning 17th century Polish humanistic culture.

Wacław Potocki – “A Poet of Twofold Nature”
Review: Agnieszka Czechowicz, Różność w rzeczach. O wyobraźni pisarskiej Wacława Potockiego. Warszawa 2008. „Studia Staropolskie. Series Nova”. T. XVI (LXXII)

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The subject of the review is Agnieszka Czechowicz’s book on Wacław Potocki’s literary creativity. The author points out the discrepancies between Potocki’s  views on literary output expressed in his poems and his own poetic creation.

Seneca’s Tragedies Translations in Old-Polish Literature

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The review discusses Radosław Rusnak’s book – a precise and comprehensive analysis of Seneca’s Old-Polish translations enriched with references to romance languages. Rusnak’s study is a valuable contribution to research in old translation studies and Seneca’s dramas reception in Old-Polish literature.

Italian View on Old-Polish Literature and Culture
Review: Marina Ciccarini, Żart, inność, zbawienie. Studia z literatury i kultury polskiej. Przełożyli Monika Woźniak oraz Małgorzata Szleszyńska i Jacek Głażewski. Warszawa 2008. „Nauka o Literaturze Polskiej za Granicą”

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The review discusses a book by an Italian researcher Marina Ciccarini. The study consists of a variety of sketches mainly of 16th–18th c. Polish literature and culture dealing with a variety of topics such as memoirism, comism, philosophy, and focus also on comparative studies and editorial problems.

A Voice from “A Sea of Manuscripts”
Review: Maria Barłowska, Swada i milczenie. Zbiory oratorskie XVII–XVIII wieku – prolegomena filologiczne. Katowice 2010. „Prace Naukowe Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach. Nr 2777

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The text discusses Maria Barłowska’s book which reveals the results of a few year archive and library search query for Old-Polish oratory manuscript collections. The author systematises her discoveries and points out new research problems.

Enlightenement Magical Imagination
Danuta Kowalewska, Magia i astrologia w literaturze polskiego oświecenia. Toruń 2009

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Reviewing Danuta Kowalewska’s book, the author reports on the dissertation’s main theses, reconstructs the key aims Kowalewska expressed, and indicates the work’s aspects related to philosophy, religion and cultural studies.

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