The presented essay contains a historical-literary outline of Polish adaptations of 'Les mysteres de Paris' by Eugene Sue during the second half of the nineteenth century. The authoress analysed 'Tajemnice Warszawy' (The Mysteries of Warsaw, 1908) by A. W. Koszutski, 'Tajemnice Krakowa' (The Mysteries of Cracow, 1870) by Michal Balucki, 'Tajemnice Nalewek' (The Mysteries of Nalewki, 1889) by Henryk Nagiel and 'Tajemnice Warszawy' (The Mysteries of Warsaw, 1887) by Bojomir Boncza within the context of the development of popular literature. The article indicates the fundamental elements of the genre: the fairy-tale structure with a morally satisfying end, the one-dimensional protagonists, the didactic commentaries and frequent passages addressed to the reader, the motif of love and money as the prime motor forces of the plot, the expanded dialogues and, first and foremost, the specific feature of mystery in the depiction of the city, the protagonist and their past. By resorting to the instruments used by the sociology of literature, the authoress proposes a critique of the assessment of the Polish mystery novel undertaken by Józef Abhors, and sketches the mechanism of the functioning of this genre of popular literature. In doing so, she shows the method of involving the reader into the course of the narration by means of a created illusion of reality, and thus discloses its persuasive strategy.
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