Between Orality and Writing. Some Remarks on Old Polish “Legend of Saint Alexis” Cover Image

Między oralnością a pismem. Kilka uwag o staropolskiej „Legendzie o św. Aleksym”
Between Orality and Writing. Some Remarks on Old Polish “Legend of Saint Alexis”

Author(s): Witold Wojtowicz
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Instytut Badań Literackich Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: orality and writing; "Legend of Saint Alexis"; formality of language

Summary/Abstract: Pronounced features of the Polish account of "Legend of Saint Alexis" spring out from economy of orality, suitable methods of its composition; one observes here the dominating oral habits of thinking and expressing. "Legend of Saint Alexis" constitutes a system of reciprocally connected interactions between the conscious and the unconscious oral forms and modes of expressions related to writing. In its written form, it is a stable oral account primarily “rooted” in Latin, and directly in high middle German, and – presumably – in old Czech. Orality coexists here with writing in the remembered text of a relatively stable form, and subsequently the text is written. Formularity of language, narration construction with the standard thematic structures, frequent repetitions, “errors” are striking here. Absence of the characters’ introspections and analytic abilities in understanding of a character position, no interest in the will as such and lastly – the lack of the sense of differentiating between present and past point out at the rich oral residuum in "Legend of Saint Alexis" in the text as well.

  • Issue Year: 2007
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 185-206
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Polish