Poland Literature: From The Enlightenment to Romanticism

Under the influence of the Western Enlightenment ideology, an intellectual transformation took place, especially in the scholastic field. The ideology and culture, on the threshold of the great bourgeois transformations, undergo notable changes: the first public theater (1765) and the National Education Commission (1773) are born, while the writers, favored by royal patronage, enrich the literature of second eighteenth century of new themes, making it a weapon in the struggle for reforms of the noble Republic. The social role of the literary production of the Polish Enlightenment is decided by the awareness of the threat looming on national existence, soon confirmed by the three divisions of Poland between Prussia, Austria and Russia. But as well as educators of society, Ignacy Krasicki (1735-1801), author of excellent fables, satires and epistles. The poets Adam Naruszewicz (1733-1796), Stanisław Trembecki (1739-1812) and Kajetan Wegierski (1756-1787) also emerged among the writers of the late eighteenth century, while in the field of dramaturgy Franciszek Zabłocki (1754-1821), Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz (1757-1841) and Wojciech Bogusławski (1757-1829), precursors of modern militant literature. The emergence of rationalism did not favor the flowering of opera, whose main followers remain Franciszek Dionizy Kniaźnin (1750-1807) and Franciszek Karpiński (1741-1825); The revolutionary poetry and verses of the Jacobin Jakub Jasiński (1761-1795), who died during the armed struggle against the Russian occupier, found greater favor, especially during the dramatic events of national life. Finally, among the political writers of the period, Stanisław Staszic (1755-1826) and Hugo Kołłatajshould be mentioned.(1750-1812). According to mcat-test-centers, the third partition (1795) marked the disappearance of Poland only from the map, as the nation, despite the weight of oppression, transformed itself into a modern country, imposing itself on the attention of Europe and the world, wherever it was fought for the right of peoples to independence. Romanticism, which arose in an atmosphere of patriotic conspiracies, marked a decisive moment for Polish literature: it refined the artistic means, introduced new literary genres, advocated a return to popular sources of poetry and the best Enlightenment traditions. By interacting with the profound changes in social consciousness and the historical processes underway, the new current took on a progressive, patriotic and democratic character. Its main centers of irradiation were the peripheral regions of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, and Paris where, following the terror established by the occupier in the aftermath of the suffocation of the anti-Czarist uprising of 1830-31, the Polish patriots found refuge, and which became the center of the so-called “great Polish emigration”. The political debate was accompanied by the great lyric and descriptive poetry of Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), a leading figure in European culture, and from the work of Juliusz Słowacki (1809-1849), poet and playwright, master of the word, who perfectly reproduced the most subtle and hardly perceptible feelings individual and collective; both poets, considered by posterity to be national, assumed the role of spiritual guide of the nation, whose irredentist and social aspirations their masterpieces expressed. To the asserted supremacy of the imagination over reason corresponded the prevalence of the genres of the ballad, the novel in verse and the drama, which, even more than poetry, reflected the social and moral problems of the time, and in which, alongside Mickiewicz and Słowacki, the third great romantic stood out, Zygmunt Krasiński (1812-1859). Specifically lyric poetry, on the other hand, was the main means of expression only for Cyprian Kamil Norwid (1821-1883), a precursor of the symbolists and of contemporary poetry, a poet of uncommon spiritual restlessness. A group of their own formed the poets born in Polish Ukraine: Antoni Malczewski (1793-1826), Bohdan Zaleski (1802-1889) and Seweryn Goszczyński (1801-1876). Alongside the main strand of Polish romanticism, which is that of Parisian emigration, in the artistic centers of the country, such as Lviv, Wilno, Warsaw and others, a literature characterized by the prevalence of interests in dramaturgy and prose was developed. The creator of an original theater that blends eighteenth-century traditions and elements of romantic realism was Aleksander Fredro (1793-1876), while the greatest prose writers include Józef Ignacy Kraszewski (1812-1887) and Henryk Rzewuski (1791-1866). Finally, among the epigones of romantic poetry, with more subdued tones, we should mention Wincenty Pol (1807-1872), Kornel Ujejski (1823-1897), Teofil Lenartowicz (1822-1893) and Władysław Syrokomla (1823-1862). The armed insurrection of 1863-64 also failed, in the general atmosphere of pessimism and moral dejection, the attempt to break with illusions and romantic messianism, dictated by eminently utilitarian criteria, took place. The Warsaw intellectuals, who proclaimed themselves positivists, convinced that economic, social and political ends could be achieved through evolution and progress rather than through revolution, set out to serve the problems of economic development and the transformation of society. In the years 1864-90, the realistic novella and the historical and social novel carried out a work of education among the people. The main realist narrators of the Polish nineteenth century are Bolesław Prus (1847-1912) who, with rare mastery, analyzed the great historical and ideal processes of the time, blending his talent as a psychologist and humorist with a subtle lyricism, and Eliza Orzeszkowa (1841-1910) who with uncommon discipline stylistics fought for women’s rights and examined the major moral conflicts of the time. However, he tarnished both of them with his fame Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916), made famous by his historical novels of which Quo vadis? earned him the Nobel Prize in 1905. Poetry, however, was scarcely cultivated in the age of positivism, found in Adam Asnyk (1838-1897) and Maria Konopnicka (1842-1910) the most important figures, and the drama, whose main authors are Michał Bałucki (1837-1901) and Józef Bliziński (1827-1893).

Poland Literature - From The Enlightenment to Romanticism

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