Ćwiczenia optyczne i duchowe. Oko i umysł w utworach lirycznych Krasińskiego i Słowackiego
Optical and Spiritual Exercises. The Eye and the Mind in the Lyrical Works of Krasiński and Słowacki
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In this paper I undertake the analysis and interpretation of the poems and other statements of two romantic poets – Zygmunt Krasiński and Juliusz Słowacki. I lean primarily on the several lyrics of the first of them, created in the late 30s and early 40s of the nineteenth century, as well as on the statement from literary criticism – "Kilka słów o Juliuszu Słowackim". In the case of the second of the authors I am mostly interested in his mystical poetry, written in the years 1842-1849, but I also recall his poems: "Godzina myśli" and "Beniowski". Selected works of both authors are considered as examples of the poetic statement, in which a huge role is played by widely understood visuality (or more broadly – sensuality) and optics. An important context of my inquiries is placed in the essay by Maurice Merleau-Ponty devoted to the relationship of the eye and the mind in painting. Visuality in Krasiński’s poems is a useful tool to express feelings, past and expected experiences, and extraterrestrial, eternal fulfillments. Metaoptic poet reflections provide material for the construction of images, which are equally effects of looking and results of creative efforts. Słowacki’s epiphanic-mystical experience of the years 1842-1844, recognized by the poet as revelations, brought about the need to look beyond the boundaries of the physical world. Spiritualist radicalism of his late works contribute to the intensification and metaphorical transformations of the sense of sight. The eye and the mind can be found here in the mutual entanglement, acting at the same time as one of the main vehicles of poetry and the poet epistemological effort. My conclusion is the finding that the visual-optical themes in the poetry of both authors are effects of extremely careful acts of seeing, and also bring in-depth analysis of the work of the sense of sight (both bodily and internal).
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