Humanities and Social Sciences

Ruch Literacki

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Ruch Literacki | 2020 | No 3 (360) |

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Abstract

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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Abstract

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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Abstract

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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Agata Starownik
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Abstract

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

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„Ruch Literacki” jest czasopismem polonistycznym i publikuje teksty dotyczące literatury polskiej (interpretacje), teorii literatury i komparatystyki.

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