Studies in the Relations between Politics and Culture in Polish History
Relations between political power and the book—understood in the broadest sense, as encompassing all forms of governance on the one side and the author, copying scribe, publisher, printer, bookseller, librarian, and reader on the other—can assume very different forms, from patronage through subtle manipulation to brutal persecution, and in reverse from praise, through indifference or sarcastic ridicule to outright contention. Polish history is perhaps particularly abundant in all kinds of attitudes linking the persons and forces carrying authority and the people representing the written text. Thus, the authors of the articles making up this volume touch upon nearly all aspects of these complicated connections.
The book is organised chronologically. It begins with an account by Edward Potkowski of the beginnings of written culture in Poland in the tenth century, which started with the Christian conversion of the country at the politically motivated and executed order of the first historical ruler of the Polans, Duke Mieszko I. Medieval themes are continued by two other texts, the first of which, written by the author of these words, is related to the Chronicle of Popes and Emperors by a Dominican friar from Silesia, Martin the Pole (d. 1278), a curialist and representative of the political ideology of the papacy during the times of its political apogee in the thirteenth century. The latter article, by Krzysztof Ożóg, discusses the development among fifteenth-century intellectuals in Cracow of the important concept of the necessity of education for the ruler....
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