Henryk Sienkiewicz wrote 'Wiry' (The Whirlpools), a political novel of manners in 1910. Contemporary opinion regarded it as the grand old man's response to the sniping from left-leaning intelligentsia. They accused him of glamorization of the Polish nobility of a bygone age and of ignoring or misunderstanding the present. The first shots in that campaign had been fired in 1903 in the Warsaw press by Stanislaw Brzozowski, leading ideologist journalist and author of a book titled 'The Whirlpools' (published in 1904). As if to show his determination to confront Brzozowski's challenge head-on, Sienkiewicz chose an identical title for his book. In it he concerns himself again with the situation of the Polish nobility and denounces all those who became attracted by the ideas of the left. The novel also alludes to the Revolution of 1905, which is the subject of disparate opinions and assessments. Sienkiewicz's own judgment was guided by three sacred touchstones - the family, Catholicism and the Poland's independence. Finally, by writing 'The Whirlpools' Sienkiewicz, who had never been fully accepted by his fellow-writers, wanted to prove that he was neither alienated nor out of touch with contemporary social problems.
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