A b s t r a k t
This paper outlines the history and modern usages of the concept of “tenderness” in Polish literary criticism. It introduces the genealogy and origins in the esthetics of sentimentalism, along with its romantic modifications and its place in Polish literature and modern criticism. Modern usages of tenderness in national literary criticism have been discussed, followed by the analysis of the notions of “tenderness” and “the tender narrator” from Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize speech. The final part focuses on selected examples of international reception, which combines tenderness with eco-criticism and issues of world literature.