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Barbara Zwolińska
Uniwersytet Gdański

Romantic Melancholy and Decadent Anxiety as a Trait of the Elite Distinctiveness of the Heroes of the Novel by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz

     In the article, I am interested in the way Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz makes reference to romantic models of existence, growing out of age disease, alienating a hypersensitive hero, usually an artist, a society of philistines, a mass of common bread eaters, as well as later models of decadent melancholies straight from Modernism. Both of these attitudes were perceived as elitist, alienating from non-comprehensible crowds. For a more detailed analysis, I submit the heroes of the Pasje błędomierskie from 1938: writers of two generations - Tadeusz Zamoyłło and Leopold Kanicki, as well as the hero of Czerwone tarcze (1934), Henryk Sandomierski and Edgar Szyller and Janusz Myszyński of Sława i chwała (1956-62). All these heroes are joined by a feeling of existential anxiety, resulting largely from the entanglement in time, into the consciousness of passing away and uncertainty about the meaning of human life. They do not know suicidal inclinations, the kind of balancing on the border between life and death, and the lack of rooting in existence, becoming a burden. All these features are a model of a man of unnecessary, often immoral, decadent and melancholy, who is severely affected by his mismatch to the place and time in which he came to live. On the other hand, these attitudes are rooted in the era of Romanticism and Modernism, so it seems interesting to trace the above-mentioned connections in so different, as it seems, Iwaszkiewicz's novels.

     Keywords: Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, melancholy, decadent anxiety

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