Alchemy under the sign of Saturn. The tragic and the comic in Sędziwój by Józef Bohdan Dziekoński Cover Image
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Alchemia pod znakiem Saturna. Tragizm i melancholia w Sędziwoju Józefa Bohdana Dziekońskiego
Alchemy under the sign of Saturn. The tragic and the comic in Sędziwój by Józef Bohdan Dziekoński

Author(s): Oskar Kalarus
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Literary Texts, Studies of Literature, Philology, Theory of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Summary/Abstract: In the novel Sędziwój by Józef Bohdan Dziekoński, alchemists are shown as people strongly connected with the night. In accordance with Romantic poetics, the night makes it possible for the human being to reach beyond the limitations of rational thinking, traditionally associated with the day. Alchemists’ way of life, different from the widely adopted one, contributes to their isolation from the society – a situation which they themselves treat as one of the factors indispensable for the development of their skill. In Dziekoński’s view, alchemists are melancholic geniuses, forever alone, consciously sinking in despair and aware of the fact that happiness is one of the greatest obstacles on the way to excellence. The real value of the protagonists’ life consists in the determination and readiness to sacrifice everything to achieve their set goals rather than in any tangible effects of their work. The sacrifice of earthly life is the proof of reaching the height of humanity, which in the novel is symbolically expressed as possessing the secret of the philosopher’s stone.

  • Page Range: 103-112
  • Page Count: 10
  • Publication Year: 2016
  • Language: Polish