Poland Literature: Young Poland

At the turn of the century In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a new artistic and literary movement called “Young Poland” appeared which advocated the validity of art for art and a total estrangement of the artist from petty-bourgeois philistinism. The movement’s programmatic manifesto became the Confiteor proclamation (1899), an uncompromising assertion of the independence of art, by Stanisław Przybyszewski (1868-1927), an important inspirer of literature linked to the themes of the irrational. Function of stimulus towards the new aesthetic tendencies had the symbolism, the impressionism and the renewed interest in Słowacki and Norwid. According to act-test-centers, the period of Young Poland brought above all an exuberant flowering of opera and notable achievements in the field of narrative technique. Impressionistic in its artistic principle and pessimistic in its philosophical content is the poem by Kazimierz Przerwa Tetmajer (1865-1940), a representative lyricist of the first phase of Young Poland, in which Jan Kasprowicz (1860-1926) and Leopold Staff (1878-1957) also excel.). Also linked to modernist currents is Tadeusz Miciński (1873-1918), precursor of psychoanalytic fiction, whose poems herald expressionismand surrealism, while a place in itself, despite the symbolist roots of his poems, occupies Bolesłav Leśmian (1878-1937), whose visions are striking in his vocabulary rich in neologisms. A characteristic lyrical tone also assumes the prose of the time, centered on psychological, philosophical and social problems. Among the narrators of Young Poland stand out the names of Stefan Żeromski (1864-1925), one of the greatest Polish prose writers of the twentieth century who, deeply linked to the most authentic life of the nation and its social transformations, also revealed himself to be a master of psychological introspection, and Władysław Stanisław Reymont (1867-1925), Nobel Prize 1924 with the novel The Peasants . Notable narrators are also Wacław Berent (1873-1940), whose prose is influenced by the poetics of symbolism and aestheticism, Władysław Orkan (1875-1930) and Wacław Sieroszewski (1858-1944). In the field of theater, Stanisław Wyspiański (1869-1907) stands out, who is also a poet and painter; Wyspiański’s theater, romantic in its starting point, is akin to symbolism in its modern technique. The comedies of costume by Gabriela Zapolska (1857-1921), representative of Polish naturalism, have particular incisiveness. With the independence of 1918, the poets of the “Skamander” group, attentive to the feelings of the man in the street, they fight against the overabundant language of the previous era. The “Skamandrites” became the greatest poets of the interwar period: Julian Tuwim (1894-1953) who introduced the petty-bourgeois and proletarian language; Jan Lechoń (1899-1956) with the Parnassian perfection of his verses; Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (1894-1980) in whom one finds ecstatic admiration for the biological luxuriance of life; Kazimierz Wierzyński (1894-1969) who expresses a serene philosophy of human destinies; Finally, Antoni Słonimski (1895-1976), who deals with topics of great relevance in classical forms. The verse production of Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna (1892-1983) and Maria Pawlikowska Jasnorzewska (1894-1945). Together with the Krakow Avant-garde, led by Tadeusz Peiper (1891-1969), the bearer of a lively intellectual ferment in literary life, and Julian Przyboś (1901-1970), whose verses reveal the creative possibilities inherent in his breakthrough program, the current of revolutionary poetry by Władysław Broniewski (1897-1962) also matured, giving lyrical form to social rebellion. There are also, in the poetry between the two wars, tones of catastrophism in the presentiment of the impending conflict, which can be found in Józef Czechowicz (1903-1939) and Czesław Miłosz (b. 1911), Nobel Prize for literature in 1980. Peculiar accents of grotesque humor instead introduce the verses of Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński (1905-1953). In the interwar prose dominate the works of Andrzej Strug (1873-1937), Juliusz Kaden Bandrowski (1885-1944) and above all of Maria Dabrowska (1889-1968), who with Notti e giorni creates a modern sociological novel; alongside the exquisite psychological analyzes of Zofia Nałkowska (1884-1954), the prose also addresses social problems through Leon Kruczkowski’snovel(1900-1962). Permeated by the grotesque vision of reality are the works of Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969) who, alongside the expressionistic and surrealist prose of Bruno Schulz (1892-1942), are part of the Polish experimentalism of the interwar period. Among the most significant lovers of dramatic art of the period are Jerzy Szaniawski (1886-1970) and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885-1939), one of the greatest personalities of the time.

Poland Literature - Young Poland