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On Cyprian Norwid. Studies and Essays

Vol. 1: Syntheses


Edited By Agata Brajerska-Mazur and Edyta Chlebowska

The book is the first volume of an extensive four-volume monograph devoted to the work of Cyprian Norwid (1821–1883), one of the most outstanding Polish authors. The impact of Norwid’s oeuvre does not fade, as he addresses fundamental and timeless issues, such as the moral and spiritual condition of man or his place in the world and history and seeks to answer universal questions. The book contains an extensive selection of contributions which represent different approaches to the poet’s work. They cover various areas of research, including interpretation, thematology, genology, and editing.

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Norwid’s Old Age


Abstract: The author points to the importance of the category of old age in the biography and work of Cyprian Norwid. The category itself appears in three different variants. The first one, real old age, refers directly to the tragic fate of the poet, which culminated in the last few years he spent abandoned in the St. Casimir poorhouse. The second old age is expressed in Norwid’s noble-minded, though painful, view of the fate of man in the spirit of Christian humility and love, while the third old age is identified with the maturity of artistic intentions and mastery of form, which the author describes as classical maturity. This old age, which finds its fullest expression in Cleopatra and “Ad leones!”, combines humility with deep pride and faith in the enduring value of art.

Keywords: Cyprian Norwid, old age, late oeuvre, biography, artistic prose

Norwid’s old age is strange and threefold. To write about it today is most fitting, as it is closest to the anniversary of the day we are so eagerly awaiting. Compared to the old age of all the other greats this one is the strangest, reclusive, but the one evoking the greatest astonishment and admiration today. It is an old age embodying absolute freedom, absolute indeterminism of art, its own life, which from the distant perspective of time overcomes the ostensibly true, apparently real life accessible to others. In considering this triad of Norwid’s old age, one longs to ask...

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