Polish poetry written after 1864, once disregarded and considered to fall far short of the work of its great Romantic predecessors, has at long last received some absorbing exegeses in recent times, among which the most prominent is undoubtedly the monograph of Krakow scholar Tadeusz Budrewicz, which bears the modest and unassuming title Wierszobranie (druga połowa XIX wieku) [Selection of Verse (Late Nineteenth Century)]. (...)
Precz mi z Febem! – Febus żak,
Precz z harmonią, czczy to dym!
Wiwat modnych wieszczów smak,
Wiwat podkasany rym!
(Down with Phoebus! – Phoebus the schoolboy,
Down with harmony, it’s vain smoke!
Long live the taste of trendy bards,
Long live frivolous rhyme!)
Thus wrote Stanisław Okraszewski, a poet of the late Enlightenment, mocking the jarring one-syllable consonances he is referring to. (...)
One recognizable trait of Urszula Kozioł’s poetry is undoubtedly her self-reflexive attentiveness, her particular sensitivity to the material nature of the word and tendency to showcase the active nature and consciousness of writing, which has been transposed onto the metaphysical orientation of her work, intensifying with the continued output of her books over the years. (...)
The greatest terror of Danny’s life was DIVORCE, a word that always appeared in his mind as a sign painted in red letters which were covered with hissing, poisonous snakes. … The most terrifying thing about DIVORCE was that he had sensed the word—or concept, or whatever it was that came to him in his understandings—floating around in his own parents’ heads, sometimes diffuse and relatively distant, sometimes as thick and obscuring and frightening as thunderheads. (...)
In Lieu of an Introduction
Virginia Woolf has a resonant, often-quoted sentence in her famous essay on George Eliot from 20 November 1919, asserting that Middlemarch, for all of its flaws, was “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people.” In a less frequently quoted passage grappling with the previously mentioned flaws, the most important British high-modernist author writes:
It is partly that her hold upon dialogue, when it is not dialect, is slack; and partly that she seems to shrink with an elderly dread of fatigue from the effort of emotional concentration. (...)