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Romantic Weltliteratur of the Western World

Edited By Agnieszka Gutthy

Romantic Weltliteratur of the Western World is a collection of essays that examine Romantic literature and art from Europe and America. Since Goethe coined the concept of Weltliteratur, scholarly interest in comparative, global, and transnational literary and cultural studies has only continued to grow. Intended to complement existing scholarship, the essays in this volume offer a variety of critical approaches to Romantic literature and explore the dialogic component of different literary works as well as their transnational intertextualities.

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4. Adam Mickiewicz and The Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pilgrimage: Transnational Expression of Polish Messianism in Romanticism (Fernando Presa González)

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4. Adam Mickiewicz and The Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pilgrimage: Transnational Expression of Polish Messianism in Romanticism

Fernando Presa González

Polish literature is typically inspired by two themes that flow more or less clearly through the consciousness of almost all its authors: the problem of national identity and the issue of the survival of the soul of the Polish nation. The continual border wars waged by the Poles throughout their history and their constant search for a single unifying element that would strengthen the historic identity of Poland as a nation led to her writers to address patriotic and religious topics as matters reaching far beyond literary fiction. With the advent of Romantic literature this issue was reignited and Polish writers embraced messianism, a doctrine of which Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855), the great poet-prophet of the Polish nation, became the chief exponent. With this doctrine they took a step even further than their Baroque predecessors had done with the ethnic concept of Sarmatism in the seventeenth century.1 The arrival in Poland of the German poet and literato Martin Opitz (1597–1639), who was fleeing the Habsburgs, significantly nourished the formation of a theory of Sarmatism, since this respected scholar had defended the Sarmatian origin of the Polish nobility. Opitz, who was sympathetic to the idea of a Poland conceived as God’s chosen people to defend Christianity in the new era, embraced the concept. The theory of the Polish...

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