Wstęp (Barbara Wolska, Agnieszka Bąbel, Marek Pąkciński)
The theme of series XX of Napis (Inscription): ‘In a Lens’. Selected aspects of visuality in nineteenth century culture was inspired by a fact key to the modern era – the world has become an image, regarded from a human’s point of view. This is why articles in this edition discuss many of the issues stemming from the omnipresence of visuality (and the imagery associated with it), and from the cultural conflict around this question, which intensified in that era. The articles also analyse the aspect of visuality related to the development of optics, research on the mechanics of vision (anatomy and physiology of the eye), as well as the ways of perceiving the world, which operated in the broadly-defined nineteenth century.
Authors aim to address the questions of: how were the optical instruments (such as the telescope, microscope, the ever more popular and better-quality spectacles, the photographic camera, magic lantern, or the kaiserpanorama) influencing the methods of experiencing, recording and describing the world? How were the common stereotypes, as well as individual visual competences of artists and their visual impairments, reflected in the form of these artists’ creations, and how were they influencing these creations’ contents? What did the world look like seen through a biologist’s microscope, an astronomer’s telescope, a doctor’s magnifying glass, or through the spectacles of a journalist or writer?
The thematic part of the journal (the Essays and Materials section) is constituted by articles dedicated to the romantic myths of seeing, artists’ eye diseases and their influence on the artists’ perception of the world (the cases of Zygmunt Krasiński and Bolesław Prus), as well as to the visuality of performances (illusion and optical illusion in the Enlightenment, nineteenth-century guides to looking at exhibitions, the circus culture of the end of the century), optical instruments and paradoxes (the microscope as an instrument-metaphor, the links between perception and hallucination in Fantazyjne objawy zmysłowe [Fantastical manifestations of the senses] by Wiktor Feliks Szokalski), or, finally, the visual loftiness in nineteenth-century scientific discourse.
These materials are extended versions of the papers presented at the academic conference in Siedlce, between 29th and 30th of May 2014, organised by the Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, the University of Warsaw, the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Adam Mickiewicz Literary Society.
The Varia section includes selected images from the photographical series Tak to widzę… [This is how I see it…] by Paulina Stawska, which is an artistic impression of how the world is perceived by people with visual impairments – together with the best works by students of the Studio of Intermedia Activities of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, selected through the W soczewce [In the lens] competition, with the authors’ comments and an introductory article by Dr Katarzyna Stanny.
The edition is completed by two sections which are especially rich this year: Editorial and Textologist Passions and Skirmishes (with analyses of works by John Baptist Albertrandi, Cyprian Kamil Norwid and Jan Brzechwa), as well as Reviews, which present recently published books devoted to the literature and culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Wstęp (Barbara Wolska, Agnieszka Bąbel, Marek Pąkciński)
Iluzja, wizje i maskarada w rozrywkach polskich oświeconych na przykładzie komedioopery Stanisława Kostki Potockiego i pamiętnika Anny Potockiej
The article presents the use of illusion and vision in the literature and culture of the Enlightenment on the example of the play Umarły żyjący, czyli Diabeł Włoski [‘Living Dead or the Italian Devil’] by Stanislaw Kostka Potocki, and the first volume of the Diary by Anna Potocka from Tyszkiewicz family. It analyses special effects used in the theatre and described in these texts, as well as their motives present in the character of an astrologer and illuminatus inspired by the person of Alessandro Cagliostro. The phenomena of the masquerade and mystification shown here were a popular entertainment of the eighteenth-century aristocracy, and a tool serving fraudsters to reach the target, as well as a weapon used by muckrakes.
Sposoby widzenia. Optyka w służbie oświeceniowego racjonalisty
“Seeing is to some extent an art to be learned” (William Herschel). Thanks to the new optical tools human perceptual capabilities greatly increased. Cognitive standards have also changed. “The magical glasses” began to modify the image of reality, so the science could deal with objects that had never seen before. The use of a telescope to study celestial bodies caused that universe gained an extra dimension that had to be tamed and explained.
My text refers to the impact that the development of optics has on perception of the world in the Age of Lights. I try to show when and how optical devices, assisting the reason in explaining and rationalizing supernatural phenomena, allowed people in the Enlightenment – in literal and figurative sense – to see through, eventually becoming an attribute of the rationalist from this period.
The analysis is focused on selected literary and “utility” texts (Jan Bohomolec’s Diabeł w swojej postaci [‘A Devil in his Real Shape’]), in which popular instruments (the microscope) and optical phenomena (such as an optical illusion) in the eighteenth century appear.
Oko Stanisława Trembeckiego. Szkic
The article discusses the problem of visual perception in the framework of poetic view of the world. The issue of perception and cognition of reality has been outlined in the perspective of selected philosophical analysis of the Enlightenment (Diderot, Condillac). Literary material, illustrating these considerations, is represented by fragments from Stanislaw Trembecki’s work.
Oko, okulary, autografy – przyczynki do historii literackiej Zygmunta Krasińskiego
Early works by Zygmunt Krasinski were full of travel reports and descriptions of acknowledged landscapes. They demonstrate a particular visual sensitivity of the young writer. Starting in 1832 an eye disease prevented the development of this writing. The poet saddled with amblyopia wrote about his difficulty in letters to family and friends.
The illness was treated by him as a psychosomatic – the effect of disturbances on the way between the eye and the heart that was wounded by the inability to participate in the November Uprising. The consequences of the disease (restrictions of social life, loneliness, inability to read) were recognised by Krasinski as circumstances conducive to intellectual work (in his writings the role of internal dialogue and philosophical debate systematically increased). The disease, however, imposed unnatural conditions on the writer’s work (the need for a secretary assistance), which limited the number of autographs, further reduced by the family in the course of organizing the family archive.
Ćwiczenia optyczne i duchowe. Oko i umysł w utworach lirycznych Krasińskiego i Słowackiego
In this paper I undertake the analysis and interpretation of the poems and other statements of two romantic poets – Zygmunt Krasinski and Juliusz Slowacki. I lean primarily on the several lyrics of the first of them, created in the late 30s and early 40s of the nineteenth century, as well as on the statement from literary criticism – Kilka słow o Juliuszu Słowackim [‘Some words on Juliusz Slowacki’]. In the case of the second of the authors I am mostly interested in his mystical poetry, written in the years 1842-1849, but I also recall his poems: Godzina myśli [‘The Hour of Thoughts’] and Beniowski.
Selected works of both authors are considered as examples of the poetic statement, in which a huge role is played by widely understood visuality (or more broadly – sensuality) and optics. An important context of my inquiries is placed in the essay by Maurice Merleau-Ponty devoted to the relationship of the eye and the mind in painting.
Visuality in Krasinski’s poems is a useful tool to express feelings, past and expected experiences, and extraterrestrial, eternal fulfillments. Metaoptic poet reflections provide material for the construction of images, which are equally effects of looking and results of creative efforts.
Slowacki’s epiphanic-mystical experience of the years 1842-1844, recognized by the poet as revelations, brought about the need to look beyond the boundaries of the physical world. Spiritualist radicalism of his late works contribute to the intensification and metaphorical transformations of the sense of sight. The eye and the mind can be found here in the mutual entanglement, acting at the same time as one of the main vehicles of poetry and the poet epistemological effort.
My conclusion is the finding that the visual-optical themes in the poetry of both authors are effects of extremely careful acts of seeing, and also bring in-depth analysis of the work of the sense of sight (both bodily and internal).
Damian Włodzimierz MAKUCH
„Fantazyjne objawy zmysłowe” Wiktora Feliksa Szokalskiego – projekt obserwatora z połowy XIX wieku
The author analyses Fantazyjne objawy zmysłowe [‘Fancy Sensory Symptoms’] by W.F. Szokalski in the context of changes of the nineteenth-century observer. Full of contradictions synthesis of Polish ophthalmologist is a register of transformations in the visual field observed by other researchers (Jonathan Crary), but also the concept of embodied and active look does not fulfil its depth. In the article Szokalski will be treated as a representative of the late-idealist formation, which is aware of restrictions that “disenchantment of the world” causes (epistemological subjectivism resulting from contemporary knowledge of the nervous system, modernist reflections on the contingency of science). However, the ophthalmologist exceeds perceptual distortions and dilemmas of psychophysiology by means of recalling the romantic spirit, which acting on the body backwards, brings the man closer to the Truth. Szokalski turns out to be a representative of the formation that Agata Bielik-Robson called “modernity with anxiety”. This formation is looking for a new sacrum that in the name of the new subject deals rhetorically with entanglement in the body, but also – paradoxically – still remains under its influence.
Świat w powiększeniu. Dziewiętnastowieczny mikroskop jako instrument i jako metafora (na przykładzie twórczości Bolesława Prusa)
The text is devoted to the invention of the microscope and its image in the literature of the nineteenth century. An outline of the history of this optical tool provides a background for presenting the nineteenth-century microscope as a sign of a certain cognitive attitude, or characteristics of a protagonist, and finally – of the way of seeing the world in selected texts by Boleslaw Prus (Słowko o krytyce pozytywnej [‘A Word on Positivist Criticism’], Kroniki [‘Chronicles’], The Fungi of this World, The Doll, The Emancipationists), supplemented with examples derived from the “utility literature” and memoirs (Orgelbrand’s Encyklopedia powszechna [‘Popular Encyclopaedia’], household guides or memories of one of the first female students in Krakow – Jadwiga Klemensiewiczowa from Sikorski’s family).
Logika spojrzenia w „Ogrodzie Saskim” Bolesława Prusa
Article is an interpretation of Boleslaw Prus’s short story Ogrod Saski [‘Saski Garden’]. It’s spine consists in motive of visibility, and it’s background – sensuality in general, or sensual feelings considered by author as vitally important in the urban space of the second half of the nineteenth century. Gaze has its stigmatizing character and can be used as an instrument of oppression, while other senses widen the range of Prus’s heroes experiences and allow for seeking in text an antidote for “sight-concentrated” nature of urban space (here – the space of Warsaw).
„Sąd oka”? O sposobach postrzegania świata w twórczości Bolesława Prusa
The article is an attempt to analyse and interpret the visual aspect of the work of Prus, and especially the impact of the writer’s diseases (including a deepening vision defect, agoraphobia) on the ability to perceive reality and the creation of the world presented in the works (based on the novels: Emancipated Women, The Doll, Dzieci [‘Children’]) and on the construction of Prus’s characters in order to find an answer to the question: how do they look and what do they see?
The text presents a portrait of Prus short-sighted (experienced also by a hyperopia); how the writer perceives and uses the descriptions of the colours; how he creates an image of the omnipresent four eyes-protagonist in his works; and finally – how he prepares to work, gathering materials in his notebooks, which can be described as his writing workshop. There are the author’s notes on the sight, its role and place among other senses.
With time other sources of the world knowledge begin to dominate over the more and more imperfect observation: his experience, acquired knowledge, and above all – feeling.
Wiek ekspozycji. Kilka słów o praktyce dziewiętnastowiecznych wystaw
The text refers to the phenomenon of the nineteenth-century exhibitions and considers them as a practice where important issues for modern visual and cognitive experience are accumulated. The basic category, through which the author tries to describe this phenomenon, is attention in the sense that Jonathan Crary gives it. The exhibition is seen here as an insistent, though unsuccessful attempt to overcome the crisis of organising perception, finding its relationship in a number of literary genres and practices that gain popularity in the age of modernity – such as a travel guide and catalogue.
Jak należy oglądać wystawę, czyli słów kilka o dziewiętnastowiecznej tęsknocie za przejrzystością doświadczenia
In my article I analyse how in the Polish press from the second half of the nineteenth century an experience of the exhibition was projected and presented. I am mainly interested in the opposition between chaotic experience (no orientation in space, lack of knowledge about what to look at) and structured visual experience. Journalism of that period expresses the belief that the spatial order of the exhibition should transparently structure the experience: the visitor always has to know what he is looking at (thanks to catalogues, maps, signatures, a suitable arrangement of exhibits), easily orient himself in space (thanks to the appropriate organization), to know how to move.
He should also behave properly: watch and learn. The sense of sight is to dominate the touch, hearing, taste, smell, analytical reception – over active participation. The visitor is therefore expected to be a passive spectator in Richard Sennett’s sense, excluded from the active shaping of interpretation, interaction and space.
However, the messages dealing with how the exhibition should be experienced simultaneously reveal concerns about “inappropriate” reception. These concerns manifest themselves in images of the space post-exhibition (rotting flowers, lost umbrellas and children), comments on the “wrong” behaviour of the audience, criticism on how the exhibition was organized. Planned in advance visual order of the project therefore remains in constant tension with what goes beyond it – chaos, spontaneity, multi-sensuality, melancholy. This ambivalence seems to indicate that the exhibition was a specific attempt to “subdue” the modern experience (the rate of change, motion, opacity) by limiting it in time and space, organization, regimentation, bringing to the visual aspect.
Zmierzch cyrku w „Zwierzyńcu” Antoniego Ferdynanda Ossendowskiego na tle rozkwitu kultury cyrkowej w XIX wieku
Despite the fact that Ossendowski’s writings do not belong to the most prominent critical voices of the nineteenth century model of a circus they are original for the Polish history of non-anthropocentric literature. This approach to the circus becomes a kind of dominant in one of Ossendowski’s texts and allows to extract Zwierzyniec [‘Bestiary’], written in 1931, from unflattering reviews by directing the text into a more significant and zoocentric forms of narration endowed in the text.
Brakująca granica: wizualność a estetyczna wzniosłość w tekstach popularnonaukowych przełomu XIX i XX wieku
The article contains an analysis of the rhetoric of selected texts from Polish popular press of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (“Tygodnik Ilustrowany”, “Ogniwo”, “Niwa”, and “Ateneum”), mainly related to the visual aspect of astronomical phenomena. The interpretation of these texts has been carried out here in the context of modern philosophy (especially of the notion of the sublime from Kant’s Critique of Judgement, as well as one of the last attempts to create metaphysical “myth” in The Ages of the World treatise by Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling) and contemporary interpretation of Plato’s philosophy created by Eric Voegelin and Paul de Man (interpretation of Kant’s transcendental aesthetics in the Aesthetic Ideology). Creating such a constellation of texts is used to answer the question: how the specific presentation of the findings of science (via the mathematical and the dynamical sublime forms) becomes a tool for promoting a modern worldview with its characteristic features: depersonalization of views on the cosmic order, depriving them of emotional components, as well as displacement of existential issues (related to the philosophical “myth of the soul”) in the private sphere, without the effects on the social dimension of morality and politics.
Widziany z oddalenia kraj ojczysty. Oda Jana Chrzciciela Albertrandiego „O miłości ojczyzny” i jej konteksty
The ode O milosci ojczyzny [‘On the Love of Home Country’] by John Baptist Albetrandi is a translation of Jean Baptiste Louis Gresset’s Sur l’amour de la patrie, published in Warsaw literary journal “Zabawy Przyjemne i Pożyteczne” in 1770. The text accompanied by explanatory notes was preceded by an introduction where a figure of Polish translator was presented, emphasizing genres used by him and leading threats of his literary work, and also the work was discussed. The attention was paid, among others, on the topicality of the subject during the tumultuous events of the Bar Confederation. Love radiant with nostalgia for native country in the time of confusion, anxiety, mutual hostility and prejudice was to realize what should unite the quarrelling society. In the section prior to the text of Albertrandi’s / Gresset’s ode, it was also showed that this and other works of French writers that Albertrandi translated in later years – during the threat of partition of the lands of the Poland – were deliberately chosen by him, and that through them he explained superior values to his countrymen, and he made allusions and evaluations of the difficult political situation. A similar tactic was used by him in his own philosophical and moral odes by undertaking universal subjects (time, hope, war), however, in terms strictly corresponding with the current political life of his country.
Jan Chrzciciel Albertrandi, O miłości ojczyzny oda (opr. B. Wolska)
Wokół utworu Cypriana Norwida „Do Nikodema Biernackiego”
The aim of the article is to present controversies related to one of the two remaining manuscripts of Cyprian Norwid work: Do Nikodema Biernackiego. The story of its origin and what has happened to the two sources served as a background for considerations. The significant differences between the manuscripts and published versions were also discussed. In order to clearly display it, a transliteration of line according to the autograph was added.
Cyprian Norwid, Do Nikodema Biernackiego (transliteracja autografu)
W kręgu Poezji wybranych Antoniego Langego. Recenzja wydawnicza Jana Brzechwy
The article presents a publishing review of Antoni Lange’s collected poetry written by Jan Brzechwa. Lange’s poems were published in 1950 by the “Czytelnik” Publishing House, which at that time Brzechwa cooperated with. The manuscript of the review from 1980 was given over by the poet’s widow, Janina Brzechwa, to Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature in Warsaw (pressmark: 705, k. 41-42).
Jan Brzechwa [recenzja wydawnicza Poezji wybranych Antoniego Langego]
Tomasz WIŚLICZ, Upodobanie. Małżeństwo i związki nieformalne na wsi polskiej XVII-XVIII wieku. Wyobrażenia społeczne i jednostkowe doświadczenia, Wrocław 2012 (Justyna Bąk, Gorzka przychylność czy słodkie rozmiłowanie? Rzecz o małżeństwie i związkach nieformalnych na wsi polskiej XVII-XVIII wieku)
Wiek XVIII (nie tylko) w szkole. Literatura – historia – kultura – sztuka, pod red. Bożeny Mazurkowej z udziałem Małgorzaty Marcinkowskiej, Katowice 2013 (Magdalena Falska, Niestandardowo o Oświeceniu)
Elżbieta Z. WICHROWSKA, Twoja śmierć. Początki dziennika intymnego w Polsce na przełomie XVIII i XIX wieku, Warszawa 2012 (Katarzyna Kadzidło, Intymistyka ujarzmiona. Słowo o książce „Twoja śmierć...”)
Wojciech TOMASIK, Inna droga. Romantycy a kolej, Warszawa 2012 (Wojciech Kaliszewski, Romantyczne (i nie tylko) drogi żelazne)
Bolesław Prus, W Warszawie. Wybór z „Kronik”, wybór i wstęp Samuel Sandler, oprac. Agnieszka Bąbel i Agata Grabowska-Kuniczuk, Warszawa 2013 (Barbara Bobrowska, Warszawski fotoplastikon Prusa)
O Bolesławie Prusie, upowszechnianiu wiedzy i wydawaniu „Kronik” słów kilka
In reference to Professor Barbara Bobrowska review, the text presents reasons why Boleslaw Prus’s W Warszawie. Wybor z „Kronik” [‘In Warsaw. Selection of Chronicles’] adopted such form, and not another, and how this form results from general assumptions regarding activities to promote knowledge about The Doll’s creator and his work. The author’s position on what disseminating actions should be carried out to transmit knowledge on literature and culture from the second half of the nineteenth century to wider audience than before was also presented. The last section provides some comments on the defects of the Kroniki edition made by a team led by Professor Zygmunt Szweykowski.
Pryzmaty postrzegania: estetyka, ideologia, interpretacja w sztukach pięknych
Analising a subject W soczewce. Wybrane aspekty wizualności w XIX wieku [‘In the eyelens: chosen aspects of visuality in the nineteenth century’] from a perspective of fine arts, the article addresses a few various threads of interpretation of this phenomenon. One of them belongs to painting and technical side of impressionists, the other – eye defects related to ophthalmology and medicine, having an impact on translation of the real world into an artistic image, while another – a way of looking through the prism of ideological perceptions and interpretations in art. Despite their differences, each is equally important. It can be infinitely many interpretations of reality, which is why it is so difficult to talk about objectivity of looking through individual lens that each of us has from the moment of birth.
„W soczewce” – prace studentów ASP
Komentarze autorów do fotografii
Noty o autorach artykułów