This is a study of Tadeusz Rózewicz's fiction of the late 1940s and 1950s, dominated by the theme of war. These narratives are in a way contrasted with his earlier 'Forest Echoes' (1944). But principally the article traces the evolution of Rózewicz's writing, seen as the writer's search for the most apt form of narrative expression. That process is believed to have been completed in the stories of 'The Leaves Have Fallen Off the Trees' (1955). Rózewicz's artistic growth is marked by a pattern of revaluations, which affected both his worldview and his aesthetic views and were carried even to the point of self-directed polemics. The article identifies and discusses the most important elements of that transformation, ie. choice of theme, hierarchy of values, the author's interpretations and evaluations, characterization and construction of the represented world, choice of narrative style. Rózewicz war stories reach their culmination in harsh, accusatory accounts of the psychological and ethical cost of war experience for the individual person. Written in a debunking, antiheroic tone, the stories show the squalid reality of the occupation, the senselessness of war and characters that are invariably tired, helpless, physically maimed and morally degraded. The article tries to account for Rózewicz's disillusionment, reflected also in his choice of literary technique, by drawing both on the biographical factor (the experience of guerilla fighting, family problems, etc.) and the literary contexts of his writing career. As far as the latter is concerned the article tries to record the stages of Rózewicz's moving away from the conventions of Young Poland and the disciplining of his own inclination for a poetic, metaphor-saturated style. Moreover, the article stresses the influence of the postwar literary climate on Rózewicz's artistic self-awareness and consequently on his writings from the moment he became a regular contributor of quality literary magazines 'Odrodzenie' and 'Twórczosc'.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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