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On Cyprian Norwid. Studies and Essays

Vol. 1: Syntheses

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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 among the Great-Grandchildren

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Abstract: The article describes Norwid’s oeuvre in the context of a significant increase in the interest in his work among the great-grandchildren generation, preceded by a juxtaposition of a number of erroneous and harmful opinions and incomplete readings of his work, demanding clarifications and additions, based on a literature review of the subject. In Norwid’s lyrics, analysed in connection with the main aspects of his emigration fate, the author sees above all an ideal of the poet, whose vocation is to read signs scattered across reality by Providence. This vocation becomes a source of Norwid’s attitude to history, truth and Christianity, expressed throughout his poetic work. His poetry is also discussed in terms of three distinct techniques used by the poet: irony, silence and revaluation, which, in the author’s opinion, provide the strongest testimony of Norwid’s poetic individuality.

Keywords: Cyprian Norwid, poetry, Christianity, irony, silence

I

Norwid’s posthumous triumph – one achieved not among the grandchildren but the great-grandchildren – constitutes one of the greatest mysteries indeed, not only in literary terms but in cultural terms as well. It needs to be solved, even if only provisionally and without much grace, at least for our own benefit and understanding, if not for Norwid himself, who could and did write, in his farewell to Maria Trębicka: “Proszę się za mnie nie modlić, ale za powodzenie prawdy w społeczeństwie” (DW XI, 175) [“Please do not pray for me, but for the prevailing of...

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