The article analyses and compares an early poem by Dantiscius De Virtutis et Fortunae differentia somnium (A Dream about the Distinction between Virtue and Fortuna, 1510) with Enea Silvio Piccolomini’s letter to Procopius of Rabenstein entitled Somnium de fortuna (A Dream about Fortune, 1444) which could be its prototype. Though the Polish poet’s work has some marks of originality consisting in emulative approach to the original, it also shows a great general similarity to the Italian author’s letter. The similarity refers not only to the fictional layer (the subject of both pieces being a dream journey to the kingdom of goddess Fortuna), but also on the grounds of a philosophical reflection. Such resemblances lead to consider Somnium de fortuna as a possible source of Dantiscus’ invention and also provide for a growing interest of Piccolomini’s writings in 16th century Poland.
Some Literary Values of the Work
The article proposes an overview of some literary aspects of the rich narrative material present in Anselm Polak`s account of the visit to the Holy Land undertaken in autumn 1507. As a factual guidebook giving information about Palestine, Anselm’s work offers a comprehensive description of both: the places where Christ lived, and historic monuments the Christians worshipped. As for the artifacts analyzed, the Palestinian historical, political and social context was described. This perspective was expanded through a special coexistence of Christians and Saracens. Among others, the article examines the fanciful tales recurring in Anselm`s work, such as stories about a snake and the Blessed Virgin. The characteristic style of the writer, both Latin vocabulary and syntax alongside to their deviation from the classical Latin grammar, are also discussed. This presentation of such diverse dimensions of the work aims to highlight the values of Anselm’s writing unnoticed by other scholars.
Marcin Bielski’s Komedyja Justyna i Konstancyjej (A Comedy of Justyn and Konstancja, 1557) may be linked to the carnival due to that it clearly categorises both the negative attitudes and the ones which gain approval, which is typical of the morality play poetics. Theological circumstances of the carnival meet in the debate of Krotofila (Burlesque), Justinus and Czas (Time) with a medical context. The role of ars iocandi in overcoming melancholy deserves attention, generally in preserving a man’s well-being. Favourite topics of carnival performances, and also of literary texts, were married life and the act of getting married itself, as well as all the customs preceding this act (which also includes the problems focused on the manifestations of the sin of impurity). Additionally, Bielski’s play raises the problem of violence which correlates here with the principle of decorum on the language plane. The court culture is also reflected here. Bielski shows his knowledge of the court code and the texts which indisputably belong to this social circle. Interpretation of the piece in question thus calls for resort to sociocultural contexts, medicine-related components, and also the carnival.
The article takes up Tadeusz Sinko’s statement forgotten by scholars that Jan Kochanowski in his poem Zuzanna (Susanna) makes a reference to a convention of medieval vernacular songs about saints. The thesis is proven in the context of the piece’s poetics adjustment to cultural experience of its addressee, Elżbieta Radziwiłłowa de domo Szydłowiecka, as well as from the perspective of the women’s influence on the development of vernacular literary creativity. The paper also examines the category of virtue contained in the poem and having religious connotations as well as the intentionally introduced by Kochanowski numerous references to oral conventions. Apart from old Polish hagiographic songs, for comparative reasons the article uses examples of old Czech poems.
Kochanowski in the Trap of Scepticism
The subject of the article is a detailed analysis of the second part of Jan Kochanowski’s Tren XI (Lament XI). Contrary to the so far acceptable opinions expressed by former researchers, the poet in the piece by no means mocks the pride of men who persistently attempt to climb to heaven and spy on the Creator’s secrets, but conversely, he claims the stance of the ancient sceptics referring to the saying “I know that I know nothing” attributed to Socrates to be manifestation of pride and testimony of wisdom of those who credit that a man is unable to pronounce any judgement on the surrounding reality.
Fideistic Scepticism in Kasper Wilkowski’s Conversion Testimony
The article is an attempt at interpreting a literary testimony of a Lublin medic Kasper Wilkowski who in April 1583 abandoned the anti-Trinitarian community to join the Catholic one. Justification of the convert’s decision and fierce polemics with his old coreligionists is found in two works Przyczyny nawrócenia do wiary powszechnej od sekt nowokrzczeńców samosateńskich (Reasons for Conversion to the Universal Faith from the Sect of Samosatene Anabaptists, 1583) and Dziesięć mocnych dowodów […] Edmunda Kampiana Societatis Iesu. Z łacińskiego na polski język z pilnością przetłumaczone […]. A przy tym na Antidotum kalwińskie odpowiedź i z nowokrzczeńcami rozprawa z strony „Przyczyn nawrócenia” Gaspra Wilkowskiego (Ten Strong Reasons, 1584). Both books are an expression of rejecting old mistakes and manifestation of belonging to the new religious community which, as often was the case of literature on conversion, becomes an indirect co-author of texts, and certainly a theological support to the argumentation they present. The dependency is visible not only in direct borrowings from Catholic polemists’ works (which was pointed out to Wilkowski by one of his chief adversary, Jan Niemojewski), but first and foremost in employing the logical schemes of fideistic scepticism vital for the then Jesuit controversy.
The paper raises the problem of incommensurability of evaluation of the actions of the mythical Paris from Jan Kochanowski’s trifle (II 74) to the image of this figure presented in the piece that the present epigram commemorates, i.e. an anonymous Historyja trojańska (Trojan History). While in the trifle the Trojan prince is viewed as a readable exemplum of power which inspires to action–the power with which love influences those who experience it (the thought is expressed in the triffle with the words “dobrze miłować” (“love dearly”)–and puts in a good light even the price of life which his own brothers had to pay for Helen’s kidnapping by Paris, in the text of Trojan History he is seen as more severe since here Paris together with Priam are made responsible for the ultimate fall of Troy. The author of the paper sees the reason of the discrepancy both in the psychological sphere and in the specificity of the genre the piece in question represents.
The article refers to the term “sheepskin coat” from Jan Kochanowski’s 16th c. poem Do poetów (To Poets) (Trifles III 14) and which is used to refer to the mythological Golden Fleece, the goal of the Argonauts’ quest. Resorting to the Greek literary tradition, the paper presents the use of rare words of “ἡ νάκη” (“kożuch [coat]”) and “τὸ νάκος” (“runo [fleece]”) by Homer and by Pindar, as well as by two Alexandrine poets–Lycophron and Theocritus–who took part in a literary game with it. Kochanowski’s poem was placed in this context as a possible continuation of the game that is neither openly revealed nor presented ostentatiously.
One more Attempt at Solving Jan Kochanowski’s “Gadka"
The text is one more attempt at solving the literary riddle contained in Jan Kochanowski’s Gadka. The piece is ambiguous; efforts to dismantle it were made by such eminent scholars as Julian Krzyżanowski and Janusz Pelc, as well as by younger generation researchers, namely Joanna Duska, Radosław Grześkowiak, Maciej Eder. Each of them pondered over what “źwierzę o jednym oku” (“an animal with one eye”) indeed was, and none of the analyses brought a concluding solution. The suggested proposals point to designates referring to erotic-scatological matter (male or female bottom, female sex organ, portable toilet) or to matters unconnected to it (firearm: a piece of ordnance or its smaller counterpart, a musket). It must be remembered that older generation researchers favoured the respectable (artillery) solutions while the younger one turned to the obscene.
A next solution to the riddle is contained in the article. It differs from the previous ones above all in that it considers not only Gadka’s cultural and poetic contexts (sufficiently analysed by the abovementioned scholars), but it is an example of a detailed lexical examination which respects the meanings of individual words, phrases, and even syntactic elements present in the text. As a result, it is a semantic analysis, referring to the 16th c. Polish language condition, i.e. to the texts produced at the time when Gadka was composed. The basic tool that facilitated such analysis was Słownik polszczyzny XVI wieku (Dictionary of 16th Century Polish), containing excerpts from over 700 texts written at the times of the Polish Renaissance.
A collection of poems entitled Litaniae Lauretanae anagrammatice contextae. Corona quoque V. Beatissimae, ex S. Scripturae elogiis versu composita gives an insight into the artistic work reality and into many aspects of the baroque poetic workshop. Quintinus Duretius (Quentin DuRetz), to whom the collection is attributed, is indeed not its author. The poems are the effects of exercises in writing done by his apprentices, and were published in Antwerp in the year 1651. The false information about the collection’s authorship became also fixed due to the Poles. A Benedictine monk Stanisław Szczygielski claims in his writings that it was Duretius who authored the texts which were reedited in Cracow. From a rich collection of poetry contained in Rhetorum Collegii S. Adriani oppidi Gerardimontani in Flandria „Poesis anagrammatica” the Polish editor selected only such pieces which relate to Virgin Mary. Out of four separate parts of the first edition issued by the widow and Franciszek Cezary’s inheritors’ publishing house three were printed. They evidence a peculiar kind of creativity of young poets from Benedictine college which mingled a prayer structure with artistic texts. In the analysed pieces one discerns elements typical of baroque, so in a literary layer a strong affinity to anagrams and artistic expositions, while in the sphere of religion–cultivation of Marian laudatory piety, especially panegirycal antonomasia.
The article refers to Wacław Potocki’s poem Muza polska na tryjumfalny wjazd Najaśniejszego Jana III […] (Polish Muse for a Triumphant Entering of His Majesty John III […]) published anonymously on the occasion of King John III Sobieski’s coronation in 1676. The piece, the content of which concentrates on the course of the 1672–1676 war waged between Poland and Turkey, is equally panegyrical and epic-historical in its character. The author of the paper focuses her attention on Potocki’s poetic creation of King John III Sobieski’s image, the most important attribute of which is temperance (Lat. temperantia) described in Plato’s Republic as an ability to abstain from lust due to which a man’s better part dominates over the worse one. The martial efforts undertaken by Sobieski and crowned with victories are depicted in Potocki’s poem not only as the example of regal virtues but also as an allegory of a war a man is waging against one’s own weakness and passions in order to gain control over oneself.
Wespazjan Kochowski’s poem’s poetic microworld is the height of the Polish nobility culture. In Psalmodia polska (Polish Psalmody) religious faith is all-embracing (stretching from “wróblik na dachu” <”a small sparrow on the roof”> to the history of the world), so it is impossible to juxtapose the religious with the secular since the latter does not exist.
The tree-dimensional world presented in Psalmody has three most general frames: spatial, temporal, and geopolitical. What decides about such most overall construction is New David (the author of Psalmody) and New Israel (Poland). The two cooperate in the main matter of poetic command. Kochowski as New Dawid gave New Israel the picture of its historic duty, namely trust, tribute and obedience to the Church.
Tradition of Jan Kochanowski’s Piece “Zgoda”(“Harmony”) and Its Proper Letter
The paper is devoted to two editorial matters of Jan Kochanowski’s Zgoda (Harmony) written at the end of the year 1562. Firstly, it discusses the dependence of its various accounts, especially the undated one, from those of 1564 and 1565. The analysis of the text’s variants and consumption of woodblock which embellishes the three early versions reveals that the undated piece is most probably the first edition of Harmony. This part of the paper ends with a stemma codicum which schematically illustrates the relations between the individual variants. Secondly, existence of a manuscript independent from old prints allows for reconstruction of Harmony’s proper text. Apart from the already introduced by Julian Krzyżanowski corrections of two obvious mistakes, it also in two cases consists in changing the order of verses as confronted with the old written accounts and with the contemporary editions of Kochanowski’s piece which are based on the mentioned accounts.
Publication of an Anonymous Poem “Łzy smutne po ześciu [...] Jana Zamoyskiego” (“Bitter Tears after the Death [...] of Jan Zamoyski”) and Its Printer
The subject of the article is the publishing history of a piece by Stanisław Grochowski which at the beginning of the 17th c. amounted to as many as four editions. The verse in question is a commendatory piece written after the death of Jan Zamoyski and most probably read in Zamość during the field marshal’s funeral. One of the poem’s edition was devoid of its title page, thus neither its publishing house nor the date of its issuing is known. The author of the sketch researched the presently available specimens, juxtaposed them in order to establish their order, indicate its first impression as well as the last copy produced during its author’s lifetime, which may be of interest for the future editorial research. Employing the tools of textology and typographic analysis, the paper complements the missing data of the anonymous edition, identifying it as a product of Cracow’s workshop of Bazyli Skalski from the years 1610–1611.
The 1593 New Testament and the English Source of Its Paratext
A deeply rooted literary conviction is that Jakub Wujek was the author of paratext of his translation of the New Testament (1593), Psalter (1594) and the entire Bible (1599). The latest research points at the problem raised as early as in 1989 by David Frick of dependence of a great part of the New Testament paratext edition (also in fragments which seem to be literal translation) on an English, Catholic source. The matter poses the question if Jakub Wujek knew English or if he took advantage of someone’s help. The present paper describes the degree of dependency of the two texts’ paratext and analyses the connections between Polish and British Catholics. As based on the prefaces to the editions of Wujek’s translation, it proves that no convincing evidence can point at Wujek as at a translator of the New Testament paratext. The author of the paper also analyses the possible research courses and perspectives which result from discerning the problem, and signals the necessity of verification the current state of art.
An Autobiographical Poem by Anna Ludwika Radziwiłłowa de domo Mycielska
The article contains an edition of an autobiographical poem by Anna Ludwika Radziwiłłowa de domo Mycielska (1729–1771) preceded by a literary historical introduction. The piece, unpublished so far, was restored as based on two handwritten copies. Anna Ludwika Mycielska married in 1744 Leon Michał Radziwiłł, with which she became close to the court of Franciszka Urszula Radziwiłłowa, a poetess and an animator of theatre life in Nesvish Castle. It is likely that Anna Ludwika started composing poems under Franciszka Urszula’s influence. Sickly Leon Michał passes away in the year 1751. After his death the young widow, uncertain about her destiny and concerned about her children’s sicknesses, composed a lamentatory verse in which she complains about the suffering after the death of his father and husband, the latter’s long sickness and adequately unexplained defamation. Discouraged to people, she directs her complaint to God, combining an autobiographical statement with the phraseology typical of prayer literature. Anna Ludwika Radziwiłłowa’s poem is an example of an 18th century Polish female poetry which deserves extraction from manuscripts and description.
Review: Krzysztof Koehler, Palus sarmatica. Warszawa 2016. – Jacek Kowalski, Sarmacja. Obalanie mitów. Podręcznik bojowy. Warszawa 2016
The review discusses two books published in 2016, namely Krzysztof Koehler’s Palus sarmatica and Jacek Kowalski’s Sarmacja. Obalanie mitów. Podręcznik bojowy (Sarmatism. Abolishing the Myths. An Operational Manual). They are a demanding challenge as a subject of a review since they can or rather should be seen as “a profession of Sarmatian faith.” The books’ greatest valour is manifestation of Sarmatian culture integrity and demonstration of Sarmatian vitality even in our times.
Review: Paweł Stępień, Śmiech w czasach ostatecznych. Tematyka religijna w „Figlikach” Mikołaja Reja. Warszawa 2013
The review of Paweł Stępień’s book Śmiech w czasach ostatecznych. Tematyka religijna w “Figlikach” Mikołaja Reja (Laughter in Ultimate Times. Religious Themes in Mikołaj Rej’s “Fun and Pranks”) discusses the scope of research settlements and composition of the work where Stępień precisely explains the reason for coupling the religious and the obscene in the piece by the writer who was called the Polish champion of Reformation. In his well-balanced reasoning Stępień reveals the proper contexts and offers arguments rooted in Protestant and Catholic theological papers. Stępień offers an entirely new and revealing interpretations of selected epigrams, and his book is an important contribution to studies in Mikołaj Rej’s writings.
Review: Magdalena Piskała, Polski świat znaków. Studium o herbarzu Szymona Okolskiego. Warszawa 2017. „Studia Staropolskie. Series Nova”. T. XLVII (CIII)
Szymon Okolski’s Orbis Polonus is a very important source of knowledge about nobility culture. This untypical armorial has so far failed to await a critical edition, but finally we have received its monograph, namely Magdalena Piskała’s Polski świat znaków. Studia o herbarzu Szymona Okolskiego (The Polish World of Signs and Symbols. Studies on the Armorial by Szymon Okolski). To effectuate her task, the authoress needed not only to read over 1600 pages of Latin work, but also to reach over 400 source materials and almost the same number of critical papers. The valuable work allows to understand Okolski’s erudition (also proving that sometimes the erudition was simulated as the Dominican had secondhand knowledge of some sources), as well as conclusively demonstrates that the collection maker saw the coats of arms not only (and not primarily) as heraldic images, but simply as variously interpretable symbols containing knowledge from almost each discipline; thus Orbis Polonus is a peculiar, multi-genre and multidisciplinary encyclopaedia.