The world of lofty feelings and good manners, or Norwid’s law of inversion

  • Eliza Kącka University of Warsaw
Keywords: cleanliness, anthropology, nineteenth-century Paris, irony, inversion


This article regards Norwid’s Tajemnica Lorda Singelworth in the context of his anthropology as well as historical and cultural background. The author’s notion of “cleanliness,” inspired in some measure by the Gospels, is connected to the circumstances of both Norwid himself and the main character of his puzzling novella. This reading revolves around the image of a balloon flight during which the Lord – as it is argued, following hints already present in studies of Norwid – discards a piece of paper with “physiological content.” This scene is placed in the context of other literary balloon flights and the eccentricity of Baudelaire’s friend Philoxène Boyer. Finally, the article discusses Norwid’s law of inversion, which can be applied in the case of Singelworth.

Author Biography

Eliza Kącka, University of Warsaw

Eliza Kącka is assistant professor in the Department of Polish Studies at the University of Warsaw, author of Stanisław Brzozowski wobec Cypriana Norwida (2012) and Lektura jako spotkanie. Brzozowski – tekst – metoda (2017), as well as prose books Elizje (2017) and po drugiej stronie siebie (2019). She edited an anthology of contemporary poetry Poeci i poetki przekraczają granice (Katowice 2011) and selections of older poetry (e.g. by Cyprian Norwid: “Klucze od Echa”. Osobność. Wiersze, Kraków 2018). Member of the Management Board of the Adam Mickiewicz Literary Society (TLiAM)


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