Choice of essays- Translated by Karolina Krasuska and Jedrzej Burszta
Wisława Szymborska and the Wonders of a Disenchanted World: Arent van Nieukerken
Wisława Szymborska and the Wonders of a Disenchanted World
Arent van Nieukerken
1. A General Characteristic of Szymborska’s Poetic World — Scientism and Perspectivism
Many critics have pointed out to the scientist mark in Wisława Szymborska’s poetry. The poet constantly refers to the modern biological worldview, often illustrating her poetic arguments with examples taken from nature.1 Yet it is not didactic poetry in the sense that, through the use of biological terminology, the author seeks to present a coherent theory about humanity’s place in the evolving universe. Szymborska uses scientific arguments in a manner that resembles the practices of the seventeenth-century metaphysical poets who relied on theological dogmas — for these examples have an extemporary and nonsystematic character.2 ← 49 | 50 → The author’s private life influences the relativization of those examples. By exemplifying her beliefs and ideals, the poet created a mirror reflecting her life, thereby presenting her personal involvement in the world of creation and passing — recorded by memory. Contrary to the seventeenth century, in contemporary poetry, the horizon of memory is not formed, but is still in the process of forming.3 The lyric situation, in which memory is articulated, does not obtain its meaning in relation to the system of normative rhetoric (as it was in the preromantic period). Scientific ideology can no longer take over the role that the normative rhetoric once had as a guarantor of individual authenticity.
This does not mean, however, that Szymborska’s scientism is only an...
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