Kronikarskie semiotyki. Kronika staropolska jako źródło w historii kultury
Semiotics Of Chronicles. Old Polish Chronicles As A Source In The History Of Culture
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The subject of the author’s research are literary texts of the chronicle type, read as texts rather than as sources of learning historical facts (in the case of historians) or the history of artistic forms (in the case of literature specialists). the author compares two chronicles from the same territory: The Żywiec Chronicles from the Ancient Times to 1845, written by Franciszek Augustin (mid-19th century) and Chronography by Jędrzej Komoniecki (early 18th century), attempting to employ a semiotic approach to interpreting them. the differences between the two analysed accounts result from changes in the reading of the world, which occurred between the early 18th century and the mid-19th century. this is visible for example in the methodology of hierarchizing the importance of facts and “finding” their meaning by the authors of the two chronicles. the 19th--century account largely conforms to the rigours of the genre, with its limitations with regard to poetics, rhetoric, forms, and techniques of presenting events. in Chronography, the limitations imposed by literary conventions are shattered by the force of the narrative, by searching for unusual things, curiositates, marvels, unexplained phenomena and wonders which can be observed at fairs and executions. in Komoniecki’s work, the rigours of the chronicler’s presentation are jumbled with the style of other accounts; poetics – and, most importantly, the related semiotics – intermingle. this is at odds with the style of the 19th-century chronicle, whose attention is focused on facts. On the basis of his observations, the author argues that the main task of a historian of culture should be to attempt to reconstruct “reading” competences, notions and most importantly semiotics, which “rule” perception, sequencing reality, separating, hierarchizing and legitimising “facts.” Consequently, the history of culture becomes also the history of communication, since the analysed texts also need to be seen in broad communication contexts. the author also argues that the reconstruction of the semiotics of both discussed chronicles requires an analysis of their texts as texts and capturing their various narrative strategies, poetics, rhetoric, topic, intertextual tensions resulting e.g. from the presence of elements of oral culture, information and structures of colloquial thinking, quotes and semi-quotes of folklore and scientific knowledge, literary topoi and old beliefs.
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