zobacz powiększenie

Mirosława HANUSIEWICZ-LAVALLEE – „Half my soul and the crowning of my head.” The Idea of the Wife-Friend in Early Modern Polish Literature

Cena brutto: 7,00 PLN

The article presents various incarnations of the idea of the ‘wife-friend’ in early modern Polish literature. Drawing on Aristotelian and Ciceronian ethics, Renaissance humanism produced a sophisticated philosophy of friendship, distinctive rituals which accompanied it, and a special rhetoric of friendship. These, however, were considered as characteristic of the friendly relations between men exclusively. Humanist decorum, together with the literary forms expressive of it, was adopted also in the Poland of the 16th and 17th centuries. Still, the traditionalism typical of Polish culture, together with the strong heritage of the Middle Ages, resulted in a modifi cation of the humanist paradigm: the humanist ideals were intertwined with the Augustinian idea of marriage as a union based on friendship, developed and augmented in medieval theology. Thus the female spouse began to be addressed with a masculine noun ‘friend’ (which stressed her dignity) and seen as a partner or collaborator. Following humanist rhetoric, she was now described as “the other me.” Such an image of the wife, assisting her husband with advice, equal to him, full of devotion and prudent, not simply a friend of his, but his best friend, was present in Polish Sarmatian literature, from the times of Mikołaj Rej of Nagłowice up to late Baroque. Humanist rhetoric was used in pair with Biblical motifs, in particular taken from the Book of Genesis and the Proverbs, the spouses being no longer considered merely two souls in one body, but also one soul in two bodies: thus the fullness and perfection of friendship accomplished in a mutual spousal relation was stressed. The misogynistic undertones, not infrequent in old Polish literature, become softened, and despite the conviction that women have a sanguine temperament by nature and yield to the bodily and the natural, marriage is considered to compensate for these defects and make a woman capable of constituting a unity with a man, which consists in a perfect friendship, by no means inferior to those between men, but even more excellent.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: friendship, marriage, humanism, Renaissance and Baroque Polish literature, rhetoric, the Bible, woman, misogyny

Department of Old Polish Literature, Institute of Polish Studies,
Faculty of Humanities, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin,
Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
E-mail: mirhan@kul.lublin.pl
Phone: +48 81 4454314

Pliki do pobrania:

» Hanusiewicz.fragment.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887