Rocznik Komparatystyczny

ISSN: 2081-8718     eISSN: 2353-2831    OAI    DOI: 10.18276/rk.2015.6-06
CC BY-SA   Open Access   ERIH PLUS

Lista wydań / 6 (2015)
Raz tylko... Polenlieder

Autorzy: Maria Cieśla-Korytowska
Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Słowa kluczowe: komparatystyka literacka powstanie listopadowe 1830 w Polsce Polenlieder polska poezja powstańcza
Rok wydania:2015
Liczba stron:29 (109-137)
Cited-by (Crossref) ?:


Die Literatur ist ein Fenster, durch welches ein Volk einem anderen in die Augen schauen kann. (Karl Dedecius) The 19th century was the theatre of two great uprisings against partitioners of Poland, both began in Warsaw: the first one on the 29th November 1830 (the November Insurrection). It lasted one year and ended with a defeat. The insurgents had to choose: either to believe the amnesty proclaimed by the tzar or to emigrate. While emigrating, one party chose the southern direction and crossed the Austrian frontier, the bigger one crossed the Prussian frontier and had to lay down their arms. The Prussian authorities tried to get rid of the emigrants as soon as possible, having interned them. They pressed them to accept the tzar’s amnesty and manifested hostility against the insurgents. Having laid their arms, they were escorted by the Prussians to borders. The situation of those who had left Prussia on their way to France radically changed. The middle and southern German countries (Thuringia, Saxony, Hessia, North Rhine- Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg) – or rather their population – welcomed the Poles with an exceptional enthusiasm: this phenomenon has been called Polenbegeisterung. Besides individual cases of hospitality, many parties and meetings were organized, the most famous being the so-called Hambacher Fesst (May 1832). It was a demonstration of about 30.000 German citizens at the Hambach Castle in Neustadt (Palatinate) in honour of the Poles and their defence of freedom. In several German countries, the so-called Polenvereine were organized during which donations for Poles were collected. However, the creation of hundreds (about 1000) so-called Polenlieder that is poems devoted to the November Insurrection (plus several novels, dramas, historical essays and a vaudeville) was the most interesting result of the Polenbegeisterung. Such a phenomenon most probably has never manifested itself elsewhere. Even a list of a few of the famous German poets, authors of the Polenlieder, is meaningful: Adalbert von Chamisso, Theodor Fontane, Franz Grillparzer, Nikolaus Lenau, Julius Mosen, Ernst Ortlepp, August von Platen, Ludwig Uhland; but there were many others, as well as several anonymous writers. Many of them created (and even published) collections of the Polenlieder: von Platen, Ortlepp, Moritz Veit (who published them at their own expense), Uhland, Lenau, Harro Harring, Friedrich Wilhelm Rogge, Friedrich Gross and others. One should mention that several Polenlieder were written as texts to be sung (in the spirit of the epoch) and poets used to suggest the tune (usually one of the well-known German songs). It is therefore surprising that this phenomenon is relatively little known to the larger (even Polish) public. My article presents a careful analysis of these poems whose profound knowledge of the events and persons surprises us today. I treat the big collection as a whole (even if they were not one unit, formally speaking) and select main topics that occur, at least, in several poems. Namely, the course of the uprising, the heroism of the insurgents, the defeat implying grief, compassion towards the Poles, and, among many other themes, an appeal for further struggle for freedom. In fact, freedom is a theme of an infinite number of the Polenlieder. Justinus Kerner, in his poem Sowinski, calls its hero “Sohn der Freiheit” Also other historical figures frequently appear in the Polenlieder: generals Chłopicki, Dembiński, Krukowiecki, Umiński, Dwernicki, Skrzynecki, Rybiński, “Virgin hero” Emilia Plater, politicians and aristocrats Czartoryski, Małachowski, Poniatowski, Lubomirski, Sobieski, Różycki, Ledóchowski, Madaliński, Wysocki (der edle Pole), frequently Kościuszko. German poets, recalling the Insurrection leaders, almost without exceptions call them heroes (brave, mutig, tapf, edel, Helden); some mention also Gräfin Plater and Sowiński – both exalted by Mickiewicz (in Śmierć pułkownika and Sowiński w okopach Woli, respectively). The most famous poem of the Polenlieder – and from the literary point of view the most interesting one – tells us about Polish soldiers crossing the Prussian frontier. Die letzten Zehn vom Vierten Regiment (bei ihrem Übergang über die preussische Grenze) by Julius Mosen, a poem popular thanks to an excellent translation into Polish, done by Jan Nepomucen Kamiński (Walecznych tysiąc opuszcza Warszawę), used to belong to the canon of the Polish patriotic songs. Comparing with the Polenlieder, fewer poems (literary works in general) on the November Insurrection exist in the Polish poetry. It is significant however, that Polish poems are generally similar to the Polenlieder: one can find the same pathos, despair, homage to those who perished but also the need of further struggle and hope for freedom in the future. Why is it so that this Insurrection poetry of the 19th century has been so much forgotten by now? Is it because Polenlieder was a single phenomenon? Or because we do not empathize neither with the attitude of our neighbours (then – for a short time – so sympathetic with us), nor with that of our own poets-insurgents? Or because it is a contemporary tendency to judge the past insurgent impulses by a “success”, that the November, as well as the January (1863) and the Warsaw (1944) Insurrections did not make. We seem to take for granted the value, in the name of which the Polish November Insurrection broke out – and which the Polenlieder praised so highly – freedom.
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Plik artykułu


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