Poland, Romanticism, and Polish Romanticism

Comparative Literature: Polish W4022, 3.0 points, Fall 2005

Prof. David Goldfarb

Time/location: TR 4:10-5:25, 325 Milbank


The Romantic Period is the period of Poland’s major national writers, and is a central area of study in any serious program in Polish culture. Unlike the typical survey, this course will consider the importance of the Polish question in the countries of Western Europe, and compare the West European Romantic image of Poland with the self-image of the Polish Romantics. We will look more at the interplay among the arts, particularly music, painting, and architecture, and we will consider the ideas of Polish Romanticism in relation to other romanticisms in Europe.

6 Sept.—Introduction and background on European Romanticism.

8 Sept—J.-J. Rousseau, On the Government of Poland, Ed. and trans. Willmoore Kendall, Introd. by Jr. Harvey C. Mansfield (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1985).

13 Sept.—Manifesti

Gottfried Lessing, Laocoön (selections)

Friedrich Schlegel, Lyceum and Atheneum Fragments (selections)

Wordsworth’s Preface (1800-02) to the Lyrical Ballads.

Adam Mickiewicz--”Piesáná Filaretów,” “Oda do mlodosci,” “Romantycznosc,” “O poezji romantycznej” in Kowalczykowa (see below)

[Recommended--Maria Janion, “Romantyzm polski wsród romantyzmów europejskich,” Ed. Maria Zmigrodzka, Studia romantyczne (Wroclaw: IBL PAN, 1973), 7-50.]

15 Sept.—Memorial events scheduled for Prof. Robert Maguire in the morning and afternoon. President Aleksander Kwasniewski speaking in Low Library at 5:00 p.m., “Poland in a Changing World.” Register at http://worldleaders.columbia.edu/events.html.

20 Sept.—Manifesti (cont’d).

22 Sept.—Adam Mickiewicz, The Forefathers’ Eve (Dziady)

[Recommended--Maria Dluska (see below), “O wersyfikacji Mickiewicza (Próba syntezy),” 3:173-294.

Jean Fabre, “Adam Mickiewicz et l’héritage des lumières” and “Adam Mickiewicz et le romantisme européen,” Lumières et Romantisme: Energie et nostalgie de Rousseau a Mickiewicz, 2nd ed., Bibliothèque Française et Romane (Paris: Klincksieck), 303-58.]

27 Sept.—(cont’d)

29 Sept.—(cont’d)

4 Oct.—(cont’d)

6 Oct.—Frederyk Chopin, Ballade in G min., “Revolutionary” Etude, and other selected works

11 Oct.—Miss Jane Porter, Thaddeus of Warsaw.

[Recommended: Thomas Anessi, Jane Porter’s “Thaddeus of Warsaw” and the Evolution of the English Historical Novel (unpublished essay).

Francis E. Zapatka, “Kosciuszko among the English Romantics,” Pol. Rev. 30:3 (1985), 255-63.

13 Oct.—Juliusz Slowacki,Kordian

18 Oct.—(cont’d)

25 Oct.—The King-Spirit (Król-Duch)

[Suggested--Jean Fabre (see above), “Godzina Mysli ou les deux visages du romantisme,” 359-82.]

27 Oct.—(cont’d)

1 Nov.—Zygmunt Krasinski, The Un-Divine Comedy (Nie-Boski komedia)

3 Nov.—(cont’d)

7-8 Nov.—Academic holiday, Election Day

10 Nov.—Aleksander Fredro, Maiden Vows (Sluby panienskie)

15 Nov.—(cont’d)

17 Nov.—Marx and Engels (selections); Andrzej Walicki, Philosophy and Romantic Nationalism: The Case of Poland (Oxford: Clarendon Pr., 1982), appendix (out of print, available as an e-book through CLIO).

22 Nov.—Jan Matejko, “Kosáciuszko at Raclawice,” “The Prussian Oath,” “The Battle of Grunwald” and other selected paintings

24-27 Nov.—Thanksgiving Holidays

29 Nov.—Cyprian Norwid--selected poetry

1 Dec.—(cont’d)

6 Dec.—Narycza Zmigrodzka, The Pagan Woman (Poganka)

8 Dec.—(cont’d)

TBA—Conclusions and discussion.



Grades will be weighted as follows:

Graduate students--

 Participation        10%
 Oral Presentation    30%
 Final Paper          60%


 Participation        10%
 3 papers             30% each

Recommended General Resources

Davies, Norman. God’s Playground: A History of Poland. 2 vols. New York: Columbia U. Pr., 1984.

Dluska, Maria. Prace wybrane. Ed. Stanislaw Balbus. 3 vols. Klasycy Wspólczesnej Polskiej Mysli Humanistycznej. Cracow: Universitas, 2001.

Giergelewicz, Mieczyslaw. Introduction to Polish Versification. Philadelphia: U. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1970.

Kowalczykowa, Alina, ed. Idee programowe romantykóe polskich. Biblioteka Narodowa. Ser. I, no. 261. Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 2000.

Milosz, Czeslaw. The History of Polish Literature. 2nd ed. Berkeley: U. of California Pr., 1983.

READING—The readings above are listed as they will be discussed in class and should be read in advance of the day they we will cover them. Depending on the interests of the group, we may decide on some additional readings as the semester progresses. Note that although Mickiewicz is the giant of the period, the Department regularly offers a full course on Mickiewicz, and thus Mickiewicz is less emphasized in this course. If a significant proportion of the students in the class have already read The Forefathers’ Eve in the Mickiewicz course, we may take the opportunity to study one of the less well known works, in which case, you still should re-read The Forefathers’ Eve in preparation for Slowacki’s Kordian. Students are encouraged to read in the original, if they are able, but not required to do so.


GRADUATES—The assignments are geared toward professional development: an oral presentation in the form of a conference paper and a term paper that could be revised for publication in a professional journal. Students will present a 20-minute paper in the course, such as one might present at a conference, to be handed in in written form, then developed into a longer version to be turned in as the term paper. Topics will be arranged by individual consultation. The term paper is due 15 December 2005.

UNDERGRADUATES—Undergraduates in the course should write three short papers of about 8 pages each, and you are encouraged to hand in drafts in advance (one or two per paper) to receive feedback on your writing. The papers should demonstrate your close reading skills by focusing on limited selections of text to address broad issues in the period. Papers will be due 13 Oct., 15 Nov., and 15 Dec.

Computer problems are no excuse for late assignments. Extensions will be granted for delays due to computer failure, only if you can produce a backup or printout containing at least 80% of the assignment.

PARTICIPATION—This portion of the grade includes productive oral participation, attendance, the extent to which written assignments reflect the discourse of the seminar, improvement in work over the course of the semester, intrepidness in research, and intellectual generosity in contribution to the seminar.

Translations of the original texts are largely out of print, but you can purchase a copy of the Rousseau from Labyrinth Books. The majority of materials for this course may be checked out from the library or will be provided in photocopy. Original texts may be found in the library, through interlibrary loan, from the publishers’ websites on the internet in the case of new books (www.universitas.com.pl), www.polonia.com in Milwaukee, www.polart.com in Florida, and used books may be found at www.ksiegarnia-polska.com (the Polnische Buchandlung in Vienna). If you are using internet bookstores or ILL, you should order books as soon as possible, and you should request airmail for books from Europe.


25 September 2005