A History of the Polish Intelligentsia – Part 3, Edited by Jerzy Jedlicki
← 206 | 207 → Conclusion
During the entire Partition period, the word ‘homeland’ or ‘home country’ [Polish, ojczyzna] remained on the lips of the most nimble and most expressive Polish wieszczs (‘prophet-bards’), penetrating historians and authors of political treatises which were meant to set new horizons for Poles. The word/notion was inflected in all the ways possible by an army of second-rank rhymesters, third-rate annalists and zealous scribblers who would have been willing to say of themselves what Zygmunt Krasiński wrote in his poem Tęsknota: “Wherev’r I go, there’s things that hurt and bore me, // My lost homeland chases me with her phantom.”
The regaining of the country did not inspire as many, and so eminent, authors – at least in the beginning. The most popular and most willingly published coryphaei of patriotic elations of the earliest years of the 20th century devoted a tribute of doleful and solemn poems to the rebuilding of independence. Patriotic, and even jingoistic, topics reappeared in a triumphant parade in short stores or novellas published by the press in episodes, moral tales in calendars, and instructive pieces for Polish brood. Publicists and journalists under various flags wrote of a regained and successfully defended independence, using ornate metaphors which soon became overused.
And yet, the reconstruction of a state that had ceased to exist 123 years before was certainly a wonder worthy of no less marvellous eulogists. Polish culture, in contact with the three dominant cultures of the partitioning powers, superior to it civilisation-wise...
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