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Literatura jako historia człowieka – o kilku aspektach romantycznego biografizmu

Piotr Śniedziewski

Literature as the History of a Human Being – on Some Aspects of the Romantic Biographism

The aim of this paper is to discuss the Romantic version of biographism present, among others, in the sketches by Mochnacki, Mickiewicz and Sainte-Beuve, which emphasise that literature is a written history of a human being. This conviction was related to the expressive theory of poetry that was dominant in the first half of the 19 century, according th to which a literary text is an expression of the author’s personality, experiences and emotions. Therefore, the mentioned writers decisively opposed the model of classicist critique – strongly formalised and based on the analysis of the conformity of a text with abstract rules. This disapproval was manifested in their fascination with biography, which was perceived not as a set of dates and events but as an attempt to comprehend literature in its various considerations: historical, social, cultural, political. They were described with the use of a literary portrait: a genre closely related to biographic writing and popularised in Romanticism by Sainte-Beuve.