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2009 | 34 | 81-93

Article title

ARKADIA, POLAND: A HOMAGE TO ROMANTICISM (Arkadia kolo Nieborowa: Homagium dla romantyzmu)

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The Arkadia park was founded in 1778 by Princess Helena Radziwillowa, and the works on the park ended in 1820. Arkadia is a village in the Nieborow district, east of Lowicz, in central Poland. In the park design and its realisation there were employed, among others, Szymon Bogumil Zug (1733-1807), Henryk Ittar (1773 - ca 1850), Jan Piotr Norblin de la Gourdaine (1747-1830), Aleksander Orlowski (1777-1832), Wojciech Jaszczold (1763-1821), Pietro Staggi (1754-1814), Gioacchino Staggi (the 18th/19th c.) and Jan Michal Graff (or rather Johann Michael Graaf; a mid-18th century - after 1796). The park, after being destroyed during the world wars, has been reconstructed since 1951; now it is being restored to its original form. The purpose of the article is to present three issues associated with the Arcadia Park. The first one concerns the relations between Jacques Delille and Princess Helena Radziwillowa and their correspondence; the second one the conclusions following from the first issue about the ideological programme of the park, and the third one - the reconstruction of a hypothetical visiting route around the park. The author presents a concise account of the state of research into the history of the Arcadia Park and corrects several errors present in the literature on the subject. As for the relations between Delille and Princess Helena, the author, having analysed the poet's 'Oeuvres completes' of 1820 and 1833, indicates that: 1) it was already in the 1801 edition of 'Les jardins' that Delille referred to the Arkadia guide by princess Helena; 2) the latter had two versions: the first one published in Berlin in 1800 - 'Le guide d'Arcadie' and an earlier version dated to 1799 or early 1800 - 'Description de l'Arcadie', which was published in both editions of Delille's 'Oeuvres completes'. The ideological programme of the park presented in the two guidebooks differs a little; for example, 'Description de l'Arcadie' did not impose certain rules of visiting, like 'Le guide d'Arcadie' did, and suggested fi nishing the tour at an earlier stage, i.e. on the Island of Victims or the Island of Feelings, as we call it today. The author also tries to demonstrate that a visit to the Arkadia Park was not merely a 'walk through the garden' but an opportunity to spend at least two days there to contemplate the beauty of nature, of the buildings, to spend time reading and seeking out and discovering numerous allusions hidden in the park layout. The Arkadia Park is a tribute to the romanticism epoch, in its version known as dark romanticism; it combined harmoniously different elements such as classic (antique), Christian, and romantic ideas but also those taken from freemasonry and neo-stoicism. Regrettably, today the expressiveness of the ideological message of the park is somewhat obscure.






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  • Jakub Z. Lichanski, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Instytut Polonistyki Stosowanej, ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28, 00-927 Warszawa, Poland


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Publication order reference


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