Ryszard Przybylski

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  • fot. Ela Lempp

This outstanding essayist, born in 1928, is a historian of Polish and Russian literature and a professor at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Ryszard Przybylski's unique position in Polish intellectual life is based on his original and attractive style of writing, which unites the essayist's ease of expression with the discipline and precision of academic reflections on literature. His publications enjoy the highest esteem within scholarly circles while also attracting a wider, non-specialist readership. His unusual ability to move in both of these modes makes each new book by Przybylski a major cultural event. He has won acclaim as proponent of a modern concept of classicist values, and according to Przybylski, classicism is more than a question of style. It is the foundation of an outlook on the world, a choice of the order and tradition of culture over randomness and chaos. In the first of his books that evoked wide interest, Et in Arcadia ego, he traced the Arcadian myth in the work of Mandelstam, Eliot and Tadeusz Rozewicz. In This Is Classicism, he took up the present situation of classicism, proposing the defense of the language of our forefathers and the Mediterranean idea of man as agent rather than object. The book The Gardens of the Romantics, 1978, was a major intellectual event, enthusiastically accepted as a sort of "manifesto" by classicizing poets and young people in search of the beautiful. This book, like its successors, is primarily interesting because of its special approach to literary works - Przybylski's own profound dialogue with the text, in search of metaphysical experience. Przybylski's essays reveal an uncommonly wide range of experience. Aside from studies of his favorite authors (Dostoyevsky, Mandelstam and Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz), he has also written an artistic biography of Chopin, The Shadow of the Swallow, and a consideration of the spirituality of early Christianity (Eremites and Demons). Przybylski's whole essayistic output is a protest against the vulgarity of today's world, a refusal to accept the loss of beauty and the moral order.

Bibliography

  • Et in Arcadia ego. Esej o tęsknotach poetów, Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1966.
  • Eros i Tanatos. Proza Jarosława Iwaszkiewicza, Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1970.
  • To jest klasycyzm, Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1978.
  • Ogrody romantyków, Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1978.
  • Wdzięczny gość Boga. Esej o poezji Osipa Mandelsztama, 1980
  • Podróż Juliusza Słowackiego na Wschód, Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1982.
  • Pustelnicy i demony, Kraków: Znak, 1994.
  • Cień jaskółki. Esej o myślach Chopina, Kraków: Znak, 1995.
  • Baśń zimowa. Esej o starości, Warszawa: Sic!, 1998.
  • Rozhukany koń, Warszawa: Sic!, 2000
  • Sardanapal. Opowieść o tyranii, Warszawa: Sic!, 2001.
  • Mityczna przestrzeń naszych uczuć, Warszawa: Sic!, 2002.
  • Krzemieniec, Warszawa: Sic!, 2004.
  • Ogrom zła i odrobina dobra, Warszawa: Sic!, 2006.
  • Uśmiech Demokryta, Warszawa: Sic!, 2009. 

Translations:

English:

  • An Essay on the Poetry of Osip Mandelstam: God's Grateful Guest [Wdzięczny gość Boga], Michigan: Ardis Publishers

French:

  • Wdzięczny gość Boga, Paris: Libella, 1980

Hungarian:

  • Téli rege: esszé az öregségről [Baśń zimowa: esej o starości], Budapest: Orpheusz Lengyel Kvk., 2001.