THE 'NATIONAL CHARACTER' OF DIDACTIC POEMS: THE CASE OF AGRICULTURE BY DYZMA BONCZA TOMASZEWSKI
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Didactic poems like 'Agriculture' by Dyzma Boncza Tomaszewski played an important role in the acceptance of the idea of 'the national' as a key trait of post-classical literatures. Contemporary critics responded to the emergence of the new genre by discussing its form and aesthetics in relation to some outstanding works from ancient and modern times. In the wake of Poland's loss of independence the didactic 'rural' poems with their celebration of agriculture and the idealized lifestyle of the country gentry inspired the each successive generation with a sense of national virtues, such as love of the land and a gentle mildness. It was argued that only by preserving the legacy of their Slavic ancestors the Poles could salvage their national identity. Hence the elevation of Tomaszewski's 'Agriculture' to the rank of national literature by Kazimierz Brodzinski, who found some of its patriotic scenes very impressive.
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