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2009 | 8 | 4(25) | 75-90

Article title

HISTORY OF LITERATURE AND HISTORY OF IDEAS (ATTEMPT AT A NEW PROBLEMATIZATION) (Historia literatury a historia idei (Propozycja nowej problematyzacji))


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The paper, which was originally a talk at a conference in November 1974, is an attempt at a problematization of a tension at the crossroads of the history of literature and the history of ideas. The authoress focuses on demonstrating the antagonism of these disciplines, especially across time. She makes an assumption that a work of art, the source for the history of literature, is the expression of incommunicable reality that it tries to communicate. Any interpretation of a work of art, even a successful one, affirms only itself and shows that the work is beyond the grasp of it. The history of ideas can not be of help in understanding of literature, as the truth inherent in art remains unreachable for ideas. The unit of time in the history of literature is different than in the realm of ideas. The time of ideas is simply the historical time, understood as 'the long duration.' The time of literature is composed of 'events,' 'personalities,' 'works,' especially masterpieces. Besides, as an indispensable feature of literature at the forefront we see the esthetical or artistic organization of the work of art; what is important is the innovation and the point of view of the work, or its idiolect.


  • Maria Janion, Instytut Badan LIterackich PAN, ul. Nowy Swiat 72, 00-330 Warszawa, Poland


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Publication order reference


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