Issue: 4/2021

Pamiętnik Literacki 4 / 2021

Bibliographical Review 4/2021

File with Issue Contents

Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Fund of Culture Promotion, of the subsidies set up in games included into the state monopoly, pursuant to art. 80, section 5, of the Act of November 19th, 2009, on games of chance. 


Chivarly Manhood on the Frontier
On Mieczysław Romanowski’s Epic Tale Novels

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The article is devoted to an analysis of three late Romantic 1850s Mieczysław Romanowski’s epic tale novels, Chart Watażki (Cossac Headman’s Greyhound), Chorąży (Warrant Officer), Łużeccy (Łużeccy), researched from the perspective of men’s studies. Reaching for inspiring studies in memory and papers in orientation, the author interprets Romanowski’s proposal as strengthening the masculine heroic imaginary built in the 19th c. within the framework of Tyrtaeian Romanticism (references to Spartan models, old-Polish heritage within the framework of frontier discourse). Romanowski actualises the myth of the frontier knight by placing him into the patriotic message based on legible Tyrtaeian liberation slogans. The paper also makes a polemical reference to the concept of dislocated masculinity as a symptom of diagnosed weakness of post-partition male protagonists culture, showing the presence of other phenomena, namely overcoming the crisis of dislocated masculinity in the 19th c. due to taking great advantage of Sarmatian cultural universum within the framework of Romantic patriotic actualisation raised in pre-uprising literary programs in the Polish Romanticism.

Sienkiewicz’s Description of the World
The Case of “Listy z Afryki” (“Letters from Africa”)

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Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Listy z Afryki (Letters from Africa) are made subject of the paper, which is analysed from the autobiographical perspective and also reconstructed as based on the writer’s private correspondence and his letters to family authored by count Jan Tyszkiewicz, Sienkiewicz’s fellow traveller. The material serves to present the writer’s travelling self-image—a rare reverse of his image from the times of his American travel. The biographical-artistic project, that combined commercial and artistic purposes, proved to be only partially successful. The greatest hindrance of both the travel and the relation from it was that Sienkiewicz too blindly trusted the image of Africa that he knew from books before he started the journey. The certainty that to describe this continent one needs to “translate” it into the conventions required by the expectations of the then audience is decisive in the attitude to the letters from America that record Sienkiewicz’s real cognitional adventure.

“Plebejuszowska krew [Plebeian Blood]”
On Racing Social Divisions in Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Novels “Bez dogmatu” (“Without Dogma”) and “Rodzina Połanieckich” (“Polaniecki Family”)

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The paper is devoted to an analysis of the concourse of class and race in Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novels Bez dogmatu (Without Dogma) and Rodzina Połanieckich (Polaniecki Family). These works display such forms of racing social divisions as biologisation, concentration, and animalisation. A comparison of the two novels and reference to the writer’s private correspondence as well as his earlier pieces on contemporary matters lead to the conclusion that class racism is an element of Sienkiewicz’s own social view.

“Bez dogmatu” (“Without Dogma”) and the Contexts of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Output in the Czech Press

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The subject of the article is a description of the reception of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Bez dogmatu (Without Dogma) in the Czech press after the publication of the novel’s Czech translation in the year 1899. The author presents the specificity of the reception and its evidence placed in advertisements, reviews, columns, commentaries, sketches, and occasional texts. As based on the mentioned novel, Trylogia (Trilogy), and Listy z podróźy (Letters from a Journey), Stępnik examines the functioning of the translation on the Czech book market, closely connected to the press. He assesses the connections, the purpose of which was promotion of this rendering in the categories dedicated to advertisement. The name of Sienkiewicz, that someway guaranteed the works’ quality, and the conviction of the novelist’s Slavophile attitude, was of paramount importance. Stępnik also describes the motif of “faint souls” raised in reviews of Bez dogmatu that connotes the novel’s modernist character, lists a fairy limited repertoire of intertextual references to Sienkiewicz’s work, and discerns the tragic love story plot that the novel’s reviewers surprisingly disregard. Ultimately, the author recalls some occasional texts produced at different times and for different occasions that contain a general characteristics and evaluation of Sienkiewicz’s output among which the most important place is occupied by historical novels.

Unwritten and Written
On Some Adam Asnyk’s Contemporary Dramas

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The main foci of interest in the paper are three Adam Asnyk’s dramatic fragments preserved as handwriting on three separate pages and revealing some affinity to his two completed dramas. The first fragment derives from some early editing of Gałązka heliotropu (Heliotrope Brunch) which, before it began one-act romantic play compared to Alfred de Musset’s, Jules Janin’s, or Aleksander Fredro’s creations, most probably was planned as a full several-act play. The verse form links it with the tradition of romantic comedy, while its content moves it towards the modern realistic drama. The two remaining fragments, of which both seem to be remote scenes of the same prose drama, reveal in their figures and conflicts some resemblance to the drama Żyd (Jew) the poetics of which situates somewhere between Émile Zola’s naturalism and Henrik Ibsen’s analytic technique of drama. It can be argued that the idea of the drama developed from post-Romantic and Biedermeier picture showing the process of an aristocrat’s degradation with an addition of a love story moving to a painting that presents the fall of morality in the world of brutal capitalism.

“Śpiewaj! – Już niknę... Twoją pieśnią żyję [Sing! I Perish... I Live by Your Song]”
On Young Poland’s Creations of Woman-Music

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The purpose of the paper is an analysis of the connections between femininity and musicality in Young Poland’s texts composed by male authors. The two aforementioned categories in the epoch’s literature quite frequently enter into reciprocal semantic relationships. To analyse the creation of woman-music the authoress employs the assumptions of feminist criticism. The main problems that one encounters when introducing the motif in question are woman as personification of music, the processes of gaining and losing musicality, imposing musicality, the relationships between female song creation with the sacred sphere, demonic aspects of musicality. Texts by Jan August Kisielewski, Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Stanisław Przybyszewski, Władysław Reymont, and Jerzy Żuławski are analysed in this respect. Employing musical motifs in women creations in majority of cases allows for the heroines’ autonomisation.

Necklace “z kropel krwi nanizane [Strung from Blood Drops]”
Władysław Reymont’s “Chłopi” (“Peasants”) as a Study of Passion

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The foreground of the paper is occupied by female figures. The lives of the novel’s women most vividly mirror the oppressive character of primeval community and ruthlessness of nature. As early as on the first pages of the tetralogy we read about old Agata’s leaving the village to beg her bread and get a picture of the collective scenes on the field—either of them presenting human cruelty and the bond between a man and natural world. Jagna, a changeling woman, is the central figure in the story. In this character Reymont in an innovative way mingles sexuality with apathy, egocentrism with the lack of will to survive. All that, linked to the colour symbolism used in theatrology, lead the author of the present paper to an interesting trope, namely the thesis that the figure of Jagna features Young Poland’s echo of  the meanings included into Lucas Carnach the Elder’s Melancholy I that interpreters refer to as ‘red melancholy.’ Carnach allegorised desire. Jagna is most handsome, wealthy and dissolute. The novel sublimates and objectifies this heroine. Her marriage to an old widower, most propertied peasant in the village, becomes for her a tomb, and for the Boryna family a situation that destabilises the fixed order. Jagna, after his husband’s death, seen as a temptress, once again becomes a threat to the life of the group. She unknowingly lures suitors and remains indifferent to jealous women. She becomes a bait-woman. The villagers punish her for her individualism. The novel’s order—cyclicity and life rhythm—allows to presume that Jagna will regain her place in the group and its rules as a young woman in a patriarchal society cannot belong to anyone. Anyone’s woman body will always be a subject of conquest, and adaptation is a condition of survival. The author of the paper stresses the fact that women are most determined guardians of patriarchal order, and their cruel actions towards Jagna clearly stick to supraethical order of nature.

Young Poland’s Leon Schiller

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The paper analyses the connections between Leon Schiller’s theatrical thought and Young Poland. The most eminent stage manager of the first half of the 20th c. shaped his aesthetic worldview in the intellectual ambience of the Great Theatre Reform (influenced by, e.g., Edward Gordon Craig), while his metatheatre project grew on the grounds of Young Poland’s philosophy, theory and aesthetics of theatre. Schiller’s leading idea was a vision of a new, autonomous theatre that breaks with the aesthetics of the 19th c. middle-class illusory stage theatre and also with naturalism. The artist that Schiller lavishly praised was Stanisław Wyspiański, in the practice of whose he discerned a form of monumental theatre. An outline concept of the theatre was presented by Schiller in papers published toward the decline of Young Poland. After a period of fascination with the leftist formula of committed theatre, the artist returned in the times of war to the metaphysical experiences that manifested in the concept of theatre perceived as sacrum.

“Krucha piana [Brittle Froth]”, Porcelain
About the Poem of Czesław Miłosz

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The paper refers to an interpretation of Czesław Miłosz’s poem Piosenka o porcelanie (Song on Porcelain) from the collection Światło dzienne (Daylight) published in 1953. The leading motif of the study is the porcelain. Presence of this motif in the literary tradition, linked to functional use of the meanings of white gold in the poet’s pieces, is made subject of analysis. An important aspect is also the structure of the poem in question with special consideration given to the issues of musicality, songability, and creation of the speaking subject. Among the contexts, highlighted and discussed is the anthropological turn to materiality.

Young Poland and Its Life after Life
Partitioning/Postpartitioning: Founding Elements of Paradigm for the Change in the Polish Version of Great Modernism

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The paper tells about the specificity of the change from the historical period of Young Poland into the historical period of Interwar (since such cultural-social-political approach, not limited to reflections about the literature produced at that time, is for the authoress of the article the most avid interest in the two fragments of great modernism in its Polish version). She sees this transition as the first of the three 20th c. Great Changes in the history of the Polish Peoples (the next ones are to come in 1945 and in 1989), as the foundation change as far as its contribution to the shaping of the encounter of the narration of the End with the narration of the Beginning, or the narration of experiencing the old world with the narration of the promise of the new are concerned. In other words, it is a paradigm of a clash of the habitus of reality that passes away with what draws near, is unknown and untamed, but sufficiently strong to undermine the existing order. What is meant to show is the effect of allowing, in the Second Polish Republic founding story, for only some threads and not the entire partitioning experience (with its non-heroic aspects of everyday reality of captivity) which in its various variants condensed in the years of Young Poland. The traces of the mentioned process are present in literary and in non-literary accounts. They are considered as based on selected diaristic and memoir sources authored by the epoch’s witnesses and works by Andrzej Strug and by Stefan Żeromski composed just before and after the year 1918.

Teodozja de domo Szymańska – Jan Kasprowicz’s First Wife in the Light of Documents (against Biographical Distortions)

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Scanty traces of the biography of Teodozja de domo Szymańska, Jan Kasprowicz’s first wife, marked in the poet’s life by his shameful memories, provided opportunities to researchers’ surmises, and it was only Roman Loth who reached for reliable sources of information. A symptom of flagrant abuse on Kasprowiczowa and her unfavourable portrayal is Mirosław Sosnowski’s biographic novel, a popular science book that strengthens negative image about her.

In the present article the author attempts to restore Kasprowiczowa’s biography by sources reassumption, namely by tracing and verifying the works in which the figure is mentioned and the contexts connected with her. The “biographic investigation” was based on archive and press documentation that distrust the unilateral and dissenting opinions about Kasprowiczowa by her biased husband or his supporters, thus not objective ones. The conclusions allow to knock down many theses, among others those that prove her offence against the poet.

Weapon and Quill
Unknown Episodes from Stanisław Baczyński’s Military Biography

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The authoress of the paper recollects an unknown Stanisław Baczyński’s military biography, the starting point of which is a set of information from his personal records preserved in Centralne Archiwum Wojskowe (Central Military Archive), and supplemented by data from other sources. In social memory Baczyński reminds first and foremost a literary critic, though we know little about his “literary” biography too. Detailed research in his life and work has not been undertaken yet. The story told in this article, while filling some blank spaces in Baczyński’s biography, also signals the authoress’ research works that lead to preparing the writer’s monograph.

Culture-Producing Role of Leopold Kampf’s Drama “Yeweiyang” (“Le Grand soir”) in China

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The subject of the article is the fate of a drama Yeweiyang (Le Grand soir) by a Cracow-born Leopold Kampf. The drama, unknown in Poland, written in German and translated into Chinese from the French, is to this day a focus of analyses by Chinese theatrologists and is known as the first Western drama translated into contemporary Chinese. The credit for the text’s popularity is taken by its translators, namely Li Shizeng, an activist of Chinese modernist movements, and Ba Jin, a recognised Chinese writer. The output of Leopold Kampf, a socialist and Young Poland’s dramatist, has not to this day been researched, and the uncommon fate of his drama in China remained unknown. The paper discusses the significance of  Yeweiyang  to the development of Chinese contemporary drama and attempts to examine its vitality in Chinese literary studies.

“Malvina” iIn Italian, or Translator’s Intuition
Review: Maria Wirtemberska, Malvina. L’intuito del cuore. A cura di Luigi Marinelli. Venezia 2021. „Letteratura universale Marsilio”

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The review is a discussion on the Italian translation of Maria Wirtemberska’s book entitled Malvina, or the Heart’s Intuition (1816). The author of the translation and of the introduction, an outstanding Polish and Slavic philologist, Luigi Marinelli, introduced Malvina to Italian readers as a modern psychological novel. The carefully published book with a brilliant foreword is a successful attempt to bring the Polish sentimental novel back to the canon of European literature, from which Wirtemberska drew her inspiration at the beginning of the 19th century, creating her work in close connection with the literary tradition of the Western and Eastern world.

Dostoevsky about Man
Review: Michał Kruszelnicki, Dostojewski. Konflikt i niespełnienie. Warszawa 2017

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The paper presents a critical approach to Dostojewski. Konflikt i niespełnienie by Michał Kruszelnicki (2017). Its goal is, firstly, to describe the basic theses presented in the dissertation; and secondly – to invite to discussion focused on the existential interpretation of Dostoevsky’s works.

”Conradese” or Conradian Idiom
Review: Styl Josepha Conrada a język polski i wielojęzyczność. Redakcja naukowa: Wiesław Krajka. Lublin 2018 „Joseph Conrad a Polska, Europa Środkowo-Wschodnia i Świat”. Tom 3

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The reviewed volume of the Polish language Conrad series discusses stylistic, syntactic, lexical and grammatical aspects of Conrad’s prose as related to the respective aspects in his native tongue, i.e., Polish.

Living Hard, Swift, and Intensely. Władysław Orkan’s Letters 1891–1914
Review: Władysław Orkan: Listy 1891–1910. T. 1–2. Opracował Grzegorz Brodacki. Warszawa 2011; Listy [t. 3] 1911 – lipiec 1914. Opracował Grzegorz Brodacki. Kraków 2019

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The review is a discussion about an edition of Władysław Orkan’s letters from the years 1891–1914, prepared by Grzegorz Brodacki and issued in three volumes. The edition was based on autographs from Polish libraries, scientific institutions, and private collections. The reviewer puts forward the opinion that this critical and detailed preparation of Orkan’s epistolographical output serves as a relevant material to trace not only the writer’s biography, but also the development of his literary interests, poetic imagination, and language and cultural awareness of the epoch in which he lived.

For the Good Name of Professor Zdzisław Skwarczyński
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