Krakowianka jedna wobec modernizmu

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Jan Michalik


This article is an attempt to show the non-professional reception of literature and theatre of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by ‘a young theatre amateur’ from Cracow. It reveals the dilemmas of a patriot who was convinced about the obligation of art to serve the nation, while at the same time she was interested in the ideas of Nietzsche and the theme of art as a temple propagated by “Chimera”. Elżbieta Kietlińska (b. 1881) who received no secondary education, had no job, and never founded a family, did not work, did not belong to any organisation, had no artistic ambitions, for many years lived on art, which gave meaning to her life. Intimate confessions of this inhabitant of Cracow show a spontaneous acceptance by young people of Słowacki (in particular), but also of Mickiewicz and Krasiński, and did not resist to accept the pre-first night performances of plays which ‘were not written to be staged’. Among her contemporaries she considered Wyspiański – the playwright and theatre artist to be the greatest authority: matter-of-factly and vividly she writes about his work as stage manager. Of modern European dramaturgy she most valued and deeply experienced Russian drama. With appreciation, but not uncritically, she was watching the work of Ibsen. She was fascinated by the genius of Wagner as a composer. She was the opposite of a ‘Philistine’. Her opinions, thoughts and emotions, may be the subject of all kinds of studies by the researchers of culture of the period of modernism.


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