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2006 | 3(99) | 118-134

Article title

Karol Irzykowski's 'Sny Marii Dunin' as a testimony to a modern experience


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The author attempts at interpreting Karol Irzykowski's short story 'Sny Marii Dunin' as a testimony to a modern experience. Both the motif of the unusual illness suffered by the main character, consisting in a reversal of the order of dream and reality, and the motif of the Grand Bell Guild, i.e., 'the vowers of the ideal', indirectly express the dilemmas of modernist thought. The hidden order of things, as symbolised by the Buried Bell, is removed from the sphere of experience which thereby gains the nature of unmotivated casualness. The conviction that there exists another, more realistic, dimension of the world is connected with the discovery of conventionality and 'contractuality' of what we take as real. Irzykowski, very much like other modernists (and, like the Guild members), are in search of an 'ideal', whilst at the same time doubting whether it exists at all; the only thing remaining of essence is the very movement of thought in search of the borders of cognition and borders of art. The mainstream modernist works tend to distance themselves from non-intermediated experience as well as from avant-garde strivings for purifying the perception from cultural influences. They describe the process of dislocation of the sphere of meanings and the world, and investigate into the limitations of discourse, bringing their own artificiality and indirectness to the forefront. Well-developed critical mechanisms render unreal what is conventionally realistic, whilst also taking the signs of authenticity away from any reality found. 'Sny Marii Dunin' reflects this quest for source chaos and the parallel discovering of its illusiveness - the regression into the infinite, being the essence of a modernist(ic) thought.





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  • J. Franczak, PWSZ, Tarnów, Poland


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