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Rethinking Orient

In Search of Sources and Inspirations


Adam Bednarczyk, Magdalena Kubarek and Maciej Szatkowski

The contributions in this book address a vast variety of questions concerning the sources and mutual inspirations in Oriental and European literatures. The authors discuss selected texts from both historical and synchronic perspectives. They reveal and scrutinise the sedimented layers in their search for the original as well as for the repetitive and universal. The book revolves around the creative reception of one’s own cultural heritage and of works which originated in other cultures.

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Leszek Dunin Borkowski and his Use of the Oldest Written Records: The Vedas and the Exploration of Religious Ideas (Halina Marlewicz)


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Halina Marlewicz

Jagiellonian University Poland

Leszek Dunin Borkowski and his Use of the Oldest Written Records: The Vedas and the Exploration of Religious Ideas

Abstract: It must have been early spring of 1831, when Leszek Dunin Borkowski (1811‒1896) Polish writer from Lviv in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, came to Königsberg in Prussia. Dunin Borkowski was an active participant of the Polish November Insurrection (1830‒1831) that unsuccessfully tried to overthrow Russian rule in the Congress Kingdom of Poland. With some exaggeration one could say that during his stay in Königsberg, Dunin Borkowski was an illegal political refugee. He used his time there fruitfully. At the University of Königsberg, he studied Sanskrit language and literature under the guidance of Peter von Bohlen, the Professor of Oriental Languages, and the translator and the editor of the collection of Sanskrit poems titled Śatakatrayam (Three Hundred) ascribed to Bhartṛhari. Undoubtedly inspired by his teacher, Borkowski became interested in the collection. After returning to Lviv in 1832, he also took to studying Vedic literature, religion and culture. This resulted in publishing two works on Vedic and Sanskrit literary sources. In 1845, in Poznań, Dunin Borkowski published Hundreds of Bhartriharis (Setka Bhartriharis’a). In 1850 the essay On the Oldest Written Records (O najdawniejszych zabytkach pisemnych) left the printing house in Lviv. In the article I show how the Sanskrit and Vedic literature became the source of inspiration for Dunin Borkowski...

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