Humanities and Social Sciences

Ruch Literacki


Ruch Literacki | 2020 | No 3 (360) |

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Wawrzyniec Engeström (altern. Lars Benzelstierna von Engeström) was a 19th-century Polish aristocrat with Swedish roots, a historian, writer and political activist who made it his life's mission to build bridges between Polish and Swedish culture. The rapprochement he sought was based on anti-German and anti-Russian sentiments. In his poems A Song about Our Stars (Pieśń o gwiazdach naszych, 1874, 1883) and The Vistula: A National Fantasy (Wisła – Fantazja narodowa, 1883) he drew on Wincenty Pol's Songs of Our Land (Pieśni o ziemi naszej). They all celebrated the idea of national unity based on historical memory, religion and custom. His inspiration came from Swedish Romantic literature, whose main works he translated into Polish.

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Authors and Affiliations

Tadeusz Budrewicz
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This article is an attempt to re-read Tadeusz Miciński's poem ‘Blood-red Snow’ (‘Krwawy śnieg’, 1914) in the context of a tragedy that took place in February 1914 at Zakopane, or more precisely, in Kościeliska Valley in the Tatras. It was there that Jadwiga Janczewska, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz's fiancée, took her life by shooting himself in the head. Her suicide prompted Miciński, a close friend of Witkiewicz, to write the ‘Blood-red Snow’, a poetic reportage infused with ambiguity, which presents a highly subjective vision of the tragic event and its circumstances. Read out of context, the poem seems be just another product of the poet's fascination with the philosophy of the occult (Luciferianism). However, when its real-life context is restored, the heady symbolism turns out to be a camouflage of a poème à clef, a genre which ‘Blood-red Snow’ actually exemplifies. The poem is an instant reaction to a dramatic event. To make sense of it one does not need to be familiar with the whole story of the relations between Miciński and Witkiewicz. What is perhaps worth noting is that their relationship soured after Jadwiga Janczewska's suicide, which triggered an unending blame game on all sides. While the public held Witkiewicz responsible for the young woman's death, he himself put the blame on Miciński and, first and foremost, on Karol Szymanowski. These controversies are, however, beyond the scope of the 'Blood-red Snow'.

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Anna Czabanowska-Wróbel
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The aim of this analysis of the oneiric representations of phantom women in the poetry of Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer and Bolesław Leśmian is to compare and characterize the workings of the poetic imagination of a pair of poets who represent the first and the second generation of the Young Poland movement. Their poems are read and interpreted within the framework of Young Poland's conceptualization of dreams and its use of the dream motif so as to explain the functioning and the ontological status of the oneiric female characters. The analysis shows that both Przerwa-Tetmajer's and Leśmian's apparitions belong to more than one category. While some are wholly imaginary, others are known to have existed as real persons and have merely been transposed into an image of a man's mind.

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Lidia Kamińska
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Cwaniary (Female Wanglers) is not only a metatextual novel with numerous references to popular culture, but above all an important contribution to the discussion about the place and role of women in contemporary society. The author breaks with the nineteenth-century image of matka Polka, the Polish Mother, whose existence is confined to family and home. The creations and actions of the female wanglers in Cwaniary, outsiders who defy popular stereotypes by pursuing outré lifestyles, are underpinned with allusions to a nascent rebellion against patriarchy, systemic suppression of women's rights, and the resulting marginalization of women in society. Unfortunately, Poles still have great problems with openness to other cultures, nations, and non-heteronormative sexual orientations. The Poles, it seems, are caught between an irrational fear of disintegration of the structures of their relatively homogeneous society and the need to move on and reinvent themselves as the 'modern subjects' of critical theory. It is a choice between holding on to an anachronistic model of Polish culture founded on suppression or catching up with the 21st-century world of openness, diversity and multiculturalism.

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Dariusz Piechota
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In his voluminous memoirs compiled in the early 17th century the Dominican Martin Gruneweg describes a pageant named the Parade of the Planets that took place in Warsaw on 15 February 1580. Central to its stage design was the iconography of the seven planets, each of them represented by its Zodiac sign and its affiliated House. However, no less important for the spectacle was the appearance of numerous characters and stage props from the carnival tradition, e.g. richly dressed men from the Orient, Bacchus, a procession of floats. The Parade of the Planets was a festivity which brought together the court and the townsfolk; it was probably organized by both court and town. More generally, it could be described as an urban carnival parade mimicking some features of the Renaissance Trionfo. The knowledge of celestial phenomena presented in this spectacle was probably adjusted to the needs of a wide audience of the ‘middling sort of people’, whose belief in the geocentric model of the cosmos was still intact. It seems that the Parade of the Planets contained hardly any profound insights or hermetic clues. Gruneweg, though, does find it susceptible to an allegorical interpretation which reveals the spectacle's embedding in Christian spirituality and middle-class virtues. He is pleased with the colourful spectacle, but warns of taking too much pleasure in this kind of entertainment.

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Authors and Affiliations

Agata Starownik
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Maria Hagen-Schwerin was a 19th-century novelist and poet. She was a prolific author of popular romances with aristocratic heroes and plots that revolve around love and marriage in high society. However, what kept Mrs Hagen in the public eye was her unconventional life style, her debts and an unending string of affairs whose sensational twists eclipsed anything that could be found her polite fiction. Her feuds, especially with another controversial woman of the fin-de- siècle Cracow, the playwright and novelist Gabriela Zapolska, were the talk of the town. Maria Hagen descended, on her father's side from a long line of nobles (Łoś) and on her mother's side from one of Cracow's wealthiest merchant families (Kirchmayer). Her elder brother Wincenty Łoś was an acclaimed writer and art collector. It is no exaggeration to say that Maria Hagen was heir to a family legacy of great achievements and of great scandals, too, in politics as well as in economic and social life. Some of her ancestors also ventured into literature thus building a family tradition which continued for three centuries. Maria Hagen picked up that thread and became a successful writer in her day. Now she belongs to that large category of writers once famous, but quickly forgotten. The problem lies not in the fact that nobody reads her books, but that her work has attracted virtually no attention from students of nineteenth-century literature and culture, and, astonishingly enough, no critical study of her work has been written for over 150 years since her death.

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Authors and Affiliations

Klaudia Kardas

Editorial office

Redaktor naczelna

Anna Łebkowska

Sekretarz redakcji

Iwona Boruszkowska

Rada Naukowa

Stanisław Burkot, Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny, Kraków, Polska

Maria Delaperrière, INALCO, Paryż, Francja

Anna Drzewicka, Uniwerystet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Halina Filipowicz, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, USA

David Frick, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Julian Maślanka, Uniwerystet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Bożena Karwowska, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Komitet Redakcyjny

Iwona Boruszkowska Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Tomasz Bilczewski, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Andrzej Borowski, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Tadeusz Bujnicki, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Anna Czabanowska-Wróbel, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Anna Łebkowska, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Roman Mazurkiewicz, Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny, Kraków, Polska

Jan Michalik, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Jan Okoń, Uniwersytet Łódzki, Łódź, Polska

Magdalena Siwiec, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Eugenia Prokop-Janiec, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Wacław Walecki, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska

Franciszek Ziejka, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Kraków, Polska


Polska Akademia Nauk
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