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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’s Obscure Allegories

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Abstract: The starting point of the author’s reflection is the traditional conviction about the “obscurity” of Norwid’s language and use of allegory. The presence of allegory in the poet’s works is combined with exemplary storylines and discourse. The author lists four basic factors that made up Norwid’s obscurity in the field of allegory, making it difficult to enter communication with the viewer. The first and most important factor is the multi-perspective perception of the world. The second factor should be described as a combination of elements, which are not sanctioned by tradition, and which make it difficult for the recipient to understand how individual parts are connected to form a whole. The third factor is a specific treatment of time and space – not only as an object of reflection or metaphysical contemplation but also as a structural element of poetic expression. The fourth factor is polythematics (the use of digression, open composition). Comments on the elements that determined the obscurity of Norwid’s poetry are presented by the author on the example of the poem “Rozebrana” (“Disrobed”). Generalisations and analytical remarks lead to the conclusion that Norwid operated in the areas defined by tradition, taking over traditional forms, traditional motifs, and traditional stylistic solutions, but he used them in a non-traditional way. He acted as if by referring to tradition he was building bridges to ensure contact with his reader, but was demolishing them at the same time. Therefore, Norwid’s poetry is labelled as a poetry of agitated forms...

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