The paper describes the turbulent relationships between the outstanding but eccentric philosopher Wincenty Lutoslawski and the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Lutoslawski had submitted several applications for the Chair of Philosophy at the Jagiellonian University since 1890, but for these were repeatedly turned down. It was only ten years later that he was granted the post of Privat-Dozent (assistant professor) at the Chair. Soon, however, his lectures began to arouse a great deal of controversy: Lutoslawski failed to follow the previously submitted topics, he dressed and behaved in a strange way. In 1900 Lutoslawski was diagnosed as suffering from psychosis, which led to his suspension by the Faculty Council. The philosopher made renewed attempts to appeal from the decision by sending letters to the rector of the university and the dean, but that only aggravated the conflict. Lutoslawski returned to the Jagiellonian University only after the Second World War, and it was also then that he became an active member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Polska Akademia Umiejetnosci). A major role in the above-mentioned conflict was played, on the one hand, by the professor's impetuosity, and, on the other, by the lingering resentfulness of the academic circles in Cracow. The current paper argues for a revision of a widespread and long-standing view accusing the University and the Academy of expelling Lutoslawski for political reasons. While Lutoslawski did hold and disseminate nationalist views which could pose a threat to either of the two institutions in a situation when Cracow was under Austrian rule, they faced the much more delicate problem of a breach in professorial authority, to which Lutoslawski had contributed by his behaviour. In those circumstances, the authorities of both the University and the Academy had almost no choice but to take radical measures.
P. Bilinski, Biblioteka Jagiellonska, Oddzial Rekopisów, ul. A.Mickiewicza 22, 30-059 Kraków, Poland
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier