The discovery of some hitherto unknown documents relating to Bolesław Leśmian’s family has made it possible to re-read his autobiographical poems as responses to circumstances and events from the poet’s real life. An analysis of his poems in the light of the information supplied by the newly-discovered source shows that they provide a thoroughly accurate record of events as they happened, especially deaths. Not only do the deaths of his mother, father and his siblings hurt him deeply and foreshadow the end of his own life, but also make him feel guilty for not being able to remember them properly: as his memory fails him, they are condemned to a ‘second death’.
This article examines two collections of manuscripts (previously unanalyzed) with poems which make up Leopold Staff’s debut volume The Dreams of Power. The poet offered them as a gift to Maryla Wolska who deposited them in the Michał Pawlikowski Archives at Medyka. With access to the fi rst, nearly complete, collection we can get an insight into the process of selecting poems for the version that was to go to print (1899–1901). As most of the poems are dated, we are able to establish their sequence and reconstruct the changing concept of their selection. Of special value are twelve poems which had been dropped in the process, and for most part remained unpublished. Each of them is presented briefl y in the article. Apart from making this discovery, the article demonstrates that Leopold Staff’s debut volume as we know it had an earlier version with a set of poems, different from the one that was earmarked for publication under that title.
This article examines the relationship of Maryla Wolska with the poets and artists of the Young Poland in Lwów and, more broadly, with the literary community of the early 20th century. She was a leading light of Płanetnicy (The Rainmakers), an informal group of artists who met at her house in Lwów. The role of a friend and mate, someone who was treated equally as a writer, did not sit well, however, with her role as mistress of the house, hostess of a literary salon and representative of a family which occupied a high position in the social hierarchy. To ride on the crest of the wave she strove to combine two strategies, a modern jauntiness and a studious attention to 19th-century proprieties. Although she did well for herself, her success was by no means complete.
The article presents a previously unknown poem by Jalu Kurek, found in the Józef Czechowicz Museum of Literature in Lublin. The youthful poem titled Nostalgia shows Kurek’s breaking away from the spell of futurism and edging towards an avant-garde poetics with a great deal of juxtaposition.
This article looks at Leopold Staff’s translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s volume of poems Fruit-Gathering (1921). A close analysis of the translator’s decisions and miscomprehensions in the Polish text – in confrontation with the French, German and English versions of the original – suggests that he made use of the English translation. The article throws light on the circumstances which led to the introduction of Tagore’s poetry to the Polish audience; reviews the main features of his poetics; and undertakes a comparative reading of the two texts, the original and its Polish rendition. The latter appears to be in many ways beholden to early 20th-century modernist taste, in particular its idealizing aesthetics and a fascination with the exotic Orient.
The article analizes Stanisław Pigoń’s essay ‘Some Golden Thoughts on the Chair of Polish Literature’ written to commemorate the 600th jubilee of the Jagiellonian University. Stanisław Pigoń (1885-1968), Distinguished Profesor of Polish Literature, had it published in the Cracow weekly Życie Literackie in May 1964; its expanded version was published two years later in a volume of essays Drzewiej i wczoraj [In the Old Days and Yesterday] in 1966. Both versions were published again in a a bibliophile volume in December 2018 (the manuscript and the printed versions). At the heart of Pigoń’s essay are the twin ideas of freedom and the ‘spiritual life of the nation’, borrowed from Juliusz Słowacki’s epic poem The Spirit King. The article examines Pigoń’s key theme and the manner in which, as he saw it, it shaped the lectures of the most eminent professors of Polish literature in the 19th and 20th century (Michał Wiszniewski, Karol Mecherzyński, Stanisław Tarnowski, Ignacy Chrzanowski). Pigoń’s survey ends in 1910, but, as the author of the article observes, by that time the ideas he so strongly believed in were as relevant as ever.