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2017 | 23: List jako szczególny gatunek literacki | 73-89

Article title

Epistolarny portret cesarskiego szambelana – mecenasa polskiej kultury. Korespondencja Stanisława Dunina Borkowskiego do autora „Parafiańszczyzny”

Title variants

Epistolary portrait of emperor’s chamberlain – a patron of Polish culture. The correspondence between Stanisław Dunin Borkowski and the author of Parafiańszczyzna

Languages of publication



Around one hundred letters written by Stanisław Dunin Borkowski between 1833-1840 addressed from Vienna to Winniczki near Lviv, maintained in the collection of the Ossolineum in Wrocław, present a portrait of a nobleman – a dilettante with a wide spectrum of interests in culture, spending enormous amounts of money in order to ensure himself a proper position at the Austrian court. It is the emperor’s chamberlain connections with the “enlightened” Europe that made him abolish serfdom in his estate in 1818. As he himself spent most of his time in Vienna, in 1833 he commissioned the management of his estate to his nephew Aleksander (Leszek Dunin Borkowski) – the future author of the renown 'Parafiańszczyzna'. Most of the letters consist of excuses such as: “Maybe there will be a need to head to the baths or maybe stay here for one more month. […] Maybe I will greet you in about a month or maybe in three months. Nevertheless, dear Oleś, do not wait for me, just run the household as if it was your own, and everything will be good” (26 th April 1833, p. 11). Some of the letters reveal, for instance, interesting facts about Viennese edition of 'Psałterz floriański' (1834) which was financed by Stanisław Dunin Borkowski, or show the circumstances of employing in Winniczki August Bielowski, the animator of Galician romanticism, or depict details of subsidising two volumes of romantic “Ziewonia” by a young land agent of Winniczki. The correspondence is a portrait of a man who aspires to the role of a Renaissance patron of culture; however, the standards of the emperor’s court are his limits. Without a doubt this hedonistic attitude of court flatterers from his uncle’s letters, made it easier for Leszek Dunin Borkowski to create a plethora of protagonists’ types in his anti-aristocratic Parafiańszczyzna and inspired the romantic discourse about “rational patriotism”, important also in present times.


  • Uniwersytet Rzeszowski


Document Type

Publication order reference


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