The sketch is an interpretation of a somewhat forgotten Eliza Orzeszkowa's collection 'Melancholy Ones' published in 1896. The texts contained in this collection clearly refer to the issues (the four humors theory, image of Saturn, acedia) and metaphors (a soap-bubble) traditionally linked with melancholy. They are the evidence of the crisis of identity, and of an attempt to undermine the optimistic assumptions of the positivistic world view. The collapse results, among others, from the doubts about scientism, and from the questioning of sensualism and empiricism as methods of understanding the world. The collection is also an unflinching proposal to reject the rules of positivistic prose, since Orzeszkowa resigns from the auctorial narration and introduces to her stories elements of confession and monologue. It seems, however, that the crisis shown by Orzeszkowa is overcome by the resort to hope which, paradoxically, is an effect of the same tensions and uncertainty as melancholia.
Piotr Sniedziewski, Uniwersytet im. Adama MIckiewicza, ul. H. Wieniawskiego 1, 61-712 Poznan, Poland
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