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The Literature of Polish Romanticism in Its European Contexts

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Edited By Krzysztof Trybuś

The book contains essays on the heterogeneity of Polish Romantic literature and its links with Europe’s cultural heritage. The essays deal with, among other topics, the idea of beauty and truth, correspondences between the arts, the role of tradition and memory in the Romantic era, and the significance of mysticism and irony. The authors of the essays write about such seemingly distant issues as music and revolution in Chopin’s times, and travel to places as disparate as Siberia and Italy. Their thematically diverse reflections are linked by questions they pose about the romantic roots of today’s Europe. The works of Mickiewicz and other Romantic poets discussed in this book thus clearly do not concern merely the past, but also speak to the present day, describing the experiences of everyday life in its various dimensions.

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Shakespeare of the Polish Romantics

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Abstract: The chapter is devoted to various ways of understanding Shakespeare’s dramaturgy in the literature and criticism of Polish Romanticism. Some poets and critics, for example, Adam Mickiewicz and Maurycy Mochnacki, analyzed the author of Hamlet in their treatises and lectures, focusing primarily on his historical and literary significance. Shakespeare was also seen as an important reference for the changes taking place in European culture, as subjectively described by Zygmunt Krasiński in his letters. Other great Polish romantics, such as Juliusz Słowacki and Cyprian Norwid, treated Shakespeare as an object of subjective delight and attempted to engage in a creative dialogue with his works, freely employing various references and ironic gestures in their art. To summarize, poets and critics representing both the first and the second generation of Polish romantics, in many different ways developed their own original philosophical and aesthetic theories inspired by Shakespeare’s views, ideas and universal formulae.

Keywords: Shakespeare, Polish Romantics, Romantic drama, Romantic irony, Hamletism

The literature and criticism of Polish Romanticism varied in its responses to the works of Shakespeare. Some poets, such as Juliusz Słowacki, treated Shakespeare as an object of subjective delight and attempted to engage in a creative dialogue with his works, freely employing various references and ironic gestures in their art. Other great Polish romantics, including Adam Mickiewicz, Maurycy Mochnacki and Zygmunt Krasiński, analyzed the author of Hamlet in their treatises and lectures, focusing primarily on his historical and literary significance....

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