Henryk Sienkiewicz as the theorist of a historical novel Cover Image
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Henryk Sienkiewicz jako teoretyk powieści historycznej
Henryk Sienkiewicz as the theorist of a historical novel

Author(s): Michał Nikodem
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Literary Texts, Studies of Literature, Philology, Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Summary/Abstract: In my article, in accordance with the idea of looking at metaliterary work of authors done “on the side”, I consider the paper O powieści historycznej (On historical novel) by Henryk Sienkiewicz. I begin my considerations with referring to earlier studies on the problem (Żabski, Bujnicki) and treating them as a point of reference for my own analysis. Reading “seriously” the theoretical assumptions postulated by Sienkiewicz, which can be identified also in his literary practice, I have discovered unobvious connections and ideas of the Polish Noble‑prize winner that are convergent with the findings put forward by contemporary literary theorists, such as Hayden White or Roland Barthes. I also look on the scientistic language used by the Polish writer (references to Cuvier), as well as on the traces of romantic heritage that are visible in his paper (the countries of North and South, quotingShakespeare). Another important aspect for me is creating the ideal reader as projectedby Sienkiewicz and pointing to a diary as an important source for the writers of a historical novel. The reconstruction of Sienkiewicz’s views on human nature that I undertake on the basis of various remarks scattered about the text might also be interesting for the readers of the present article. I also point out to the functions that the Noble‑prize winner attributes to literature and to historical novels. My article, therefore, in a short and concise form, gathers and discusses the postulates of Henryk Sienkiewicz concerning the historical novel, and become a point of departure for further studies on the work of this Polish writer.

  • Page Range: 179-202
  • Page Count: 24
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Language: Polish