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On Cyprian Norwid. Studies and Essays

Vol. 1: Syntheses

Series:

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 Theatre of the World

Extract

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Dlaczegóż wcale inaczej jest, niźli jest?…

(Za kulisami, DW VI, 78)

[Why is it quite different than it is?…

(Backstage)]

Abstract: The author recognizes the treatment of the world as theatre as the most important component of Norwid’s thought. The specificity of Norwid’s concept of theatrum mundi can be seen in his ambivalent attitude towards two basic visions: Dei theatrum mundi and hominis theatrum mundi. In the latter conception, the director is no longer a supernatural being – God. Instead, the function of the director is taken over by man, and the paradox – a somewhat tragic one – is the fact that man not only directs this theatrum but also appears on stage. Presenting reality in terms of theatre of appearances, falsehood, or even hypocrisy, Norwid comes close to the Renaissance worldview, according to which man should be blamed for this “small stage” being “inexpertly raised.” At the same time, Norwid’s vision is a call for an ideal, which would bring order to the stage. In this respect, it also comes close to the categories developed in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, referring to the same topics.

Keywords: Cyprian Norwid, drama, theatrum mundi, theatre

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The theatrical awareness of Norwid as a drama writer has been the subject of several studies and papers.2 These studies both originated from an immanent analysis of the dramatic achievements of the author of Aktor [Actor], and referred to...

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