“Połniejszyj bardak i untiergang”. On Degeneration in Literature (with Recurring Reference to Max Nordau) Cover Image
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„Połniejszyj bardak i untiergang”. O degeneracji w literaturze (z nieustającym odniesieniem do Maxa Nordaua)
“Połniejszyj bardak i untiergang”. On Degeneration in Literature (with Recurring Reference to Max Nordau)

Author(s): Eliza Kącka
Subject(s): History, Anthropology, Social Sciences, Language and Literature Studies, Cultural history, Studies of Literature, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: Max Nordau; degeneration in literature; H.G. Wells; Wacław Berent; Jerzy Żuławski; Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz

Summary/Abstract: The article deals with the topic of degeneration, thereby bringing back the name MaxNordau for reflection on the literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.Nordau’s writings are not, however, the subject of autonomous reflection or ideologicalreconstruction here. The aim is to present a model of the attitude stigmatizing everything thatthe author of Entartung considered a disease. Branding literature and art as degenerate meetswith the crisis of the late nineteenth century – partly envisaging this crisis, partly aggravatingit. In this perspective – tracing the signs of degeneration not following Nordau, but referringto his diagnoses – I read selected works of H.G. Wells, Wacław Berent, Jerzy Żuławski, andStanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz. The theme of degeneration itself is differently functionalizedand metaphorized in their writings. Common for them appears to be a pessimistic attitudeto evolution as in fact involution, increasing morbidity, bestiality, misfortune.

  • Issue Year: 462/2018
  • Issue No: 3
  • Page Range: 83-95
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: Polish