'THAT'S HOW HISTORY ENDS...'. A PORTRAIT OF A HISTORICAL BREAKTHROUGH IN TOMASZ MICINSKI'S 'COUNT POTEMKIN' (Jak konczy sie historia... Obraz dziejowego przewrotu w 'Kniaziu Patiomkinie' Tadeusza Micinskiego)
This article traces the mechanism of the elimination of metaphysics from fictional representations of the historical process. In the Polish tradition Zygmunt Krasinski's Un-Divine Comedy (1835) established itself as the archetypal drama about the revolution. Its pre-eminence was not undermined until the 20th century, when history as chaos, stripped of any providential design, made its appearance in Polish literature. Tomasz Micinski's 'Count Potemkin' comes somewhere in between Krasinski's lofty philosophical drama and the earthy, pessimistic vision of historical change in the absurdist plays of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz. In his play Micinski inscribes the revolutionary goings-on into the structure of a three-tier medieval stage. As a result the characters have to move along a vertical axis - they emerge from the depth of evil, or literally the engine room of a ship, and strive upwards, towards redemption. Moreover, the revolutionary frenzy and turmoil is made to resemble the Dionysian ecstasy. The wild rite symbolizes both a nostalgic desire for perfect unity and an uninhibited display of the animal urge. In the course of the action the mob becomes polarized between two leaders, one resembling Christ, the other Lucifer. The conclusion that can be drawn from this spectacle is as follows: history does not conform to the pattern of providential plays, yet the very search for such a pattern is a noteworthy attempt at saving it from meaninglessness.
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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