Medieval Literature in Poland
Fimmtudaginn 10. mars 2016 kl. 12.05
In his lecture Professor Dariusz Rott will give a general presentation of medieval literature in Poland. Most literary works in Poland until the 16th century were written in Latin and had a religious character. The greater part of this literature was anonymous. However, some works were written in Polish. The earliest and the most famous theological poem in Polish, written in the 13th century, is the Anonymous Bogurodzica / Mother of God, “carmen patrium” (the song of our fathers), a prayer based on the idea of „deesis”. The song is an important work for Polish culture, and has become an inseparable part of Polish history as the battle song of Polish knights.
In the lecture, other anonymous works will also be presented. The De Morte prologus / Dialogue between the Master Polycarpus’ and Death, written in Latin (a moralistic-didactic poem, which contains a variant of the popular motif of the death-dance); the Ars bene moriendi / Lament of Dying Man, the lyrical poem Lament of our Lady under the Cross (a dramatic monologue of Saint Mary speaking to her Son who is dying on the cross), and the oldest text of religious prose, the anonymous The Holy Cross Sermons (a collection of six homilies for the holy days, written in Polish and Latin in 13th century). An important work of 12th century Polish Latin literature is the Galli Anonymi cronicae et gesta ducum sive principum Polonorum composed by a monk, the so-called “Gallus Anonymous” (probably from Provence in France). It is also the first written history of Poland. The chronicle became a popular genre of medieval historiography in Poland – gesta – description of the deeds of kings and princes with mysterious stories of Poland’s mythological origins.
Dariusz Rott graduated from the University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland, 1989). He is associate professor at the University of Silesia in Katowice and full professor at the Jesuit University Ignatianum in Cracow. His main field of research is the history of Old Polish literature.