An opera libretto can be thought of as another text in the area of interpersonal communication, which enters into relations with other texts — not only literary works, but also cultural texts in a broader sense. The taking into account of relations between genre of interest here and others that are parallel with it in terms of construction, expressivity, and subject matter, leads to one of the descriptive categories of 20th century literature: intertextuality, often referred to in musicological research, especially by those who use the method of integral interpretation. The aim of the present article is to place the libretto of The Devils of Loudun by Krzysztof Penderecki in a cultural context. First, literary texts have been analysed (J. Michelet, La Sorcière, J. Iwaszkiewicz, Matka Joanna od Aniołów, A. Huxley, The Devils of Loudun, J. Whiting, The Devils), and also other cultural texts (philosophical works by Leszek Kołakowski, and fi lms). Penderecki adds his own vocal-instrumental version of the events in Loudun. Being aware of the range of the subject, its literary tradition and roots in the European culture, the composer introduces modifi cations and retouches to Whiting’s play that are crucial for the autonomy of the libretto — a peculiar text, by means of which he takes up a dialog with texts not only from the past, but also from the present. His capacious form of the libretto, as well as the musical and staging concepts, not only seem to be an invitation to make a great effort to concretize that which is proposed within the work, but also a challenge to the contemporary audience.