Theatre and the „atrium of heavenly things”. Irena Sławińska's Reading of Norwid's Plays

  • Wojciech Kaczmarek


Norwid, and his dramatic output in particular, hold a particularly important place in the scholarly work of Irena Sławińska. The present writer tries to capture the main strands of Professor Sławińska's research into Norwid's drama since 1935. Against the background of the Norwid studies of the 1930s one can notice at once the innovative quality of Sławińska's proposals in the areas of methodology and interpretation: she combined an immanent analysis of the text with sensitivity to its context. Her publications which appeared while she worked at the University of Toruń (such as the 1947 study on Słodycz) show further innovations regarding such concepts as dialogue, action, conflict, motivation and the tragic. Her research into Norwid flourished during her years at the Catholic University of Lublin (1950-1986) and she continues to pursue it actively in her retirement. Her most important achievements regarding method and interpretation were published in two books which are discussed in the present article, O komediach Norwida (1953) and Reżyserska ręka Norwida (1971). The books deal with the theatrical form of Norwid's plays and with innovations of form and genre in the structure of his dramatic texts. The two books make an original contribution to Polish research on Norwid. The author of Kleopatra is also fascinating to Sławińska as a deeply religious artist, and this dimension of his work has been a constant topic of reflection on her part. The present article seeks to answer the question: who is the Norwid that emerges from the many studies Sławińska has devoted to his work? We point out two principles of Norwid's poetics which she has discovered: the theatric mode in the formation of his poetic world and the Christian vision of man and history which is inherent in his works. In the first phase of her research, Professor Sławińska focused more readily on that theatric stigma, while her more recent publications (Chrześcijańska drama Norwida, 1991, Europa przeciw-chrześcijańska i bękarcia, 1992) dwell rather on religious, anthropological and axiological problems.

Articles and Sketches