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Book versus Power

Studies in the Relations between Politics and Culture in Polish History


Jacek Soszyński and Agnieszka Chamera-Nowak

This volume considers the various interactions between the culture of the book and politics in Polish history. Each of the fourteen authors deals with a different topic, chronologically starting with the beginnings of the early Piast monarchy in the 10th century up to contemporary times: for instance, E. Potkowski discusses the political ambitions of Duke Mieszko I and his descendants with regard to the introduction of early writing and reading in Poland; A. Kamler analyses the attitude of the Jagiellonian dynasty in the 1500s towards books and education; and D. Jarosz traces the changing approach of the communists towards book production and the promotion of readership in their attempts to persuade Polish society to accept their ideology.
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The Jesuits as a Monastic Community Supportive of Secular Power in Reinforcing Catholicism in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 16th–17th Century


The foundations laid in the sixteenth century, in my opinion, formed the basis for the successes of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, in the times that followed. It was most probably during the 1606 Zebrzydowski Rebellion, that the order reached the high mark of its eminence. However, later on, the Society never managed to equal the dynamics of the initial period. In Poland, as in other European Catholic countries, the success of the Jesuits relied on the strong and talented personalities that entered their ranks. Another factor, which conditioned the achievement of the Jesuits in the Commonwealth, was their offer of education—a field neglected previously. The Jesuits opened, for young noblemen, a network of colleges, which managed to maintain training at a high level. Moreover, these free-of-charge schools also provided living conditions for the students, kept at an appropriate standard.

The use of print for purposes of re-evangelization during the Reformation helped in creating the Counter-Reformation, which checked the intensive development of Protestantism both in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and in Europe as a whole. After the Council of Trent, the presence of the Jesuits as preachers, confessors, missionaries, chaplains and counsellors at royal courts worldwide resulted in their image as the forefront of the Catholic Church. It was the fulfilment of the goals set by that most important meeting of the Church hierarchy, which dictated the main objectives for the Society of Jesus during the first century of its activity....

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