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How is Sienkiewicz's Trilogy perceived in today's Poland?


Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
17 Feb 2011 #1
Is the Trilogy required reading in Polish public schools? It seems fairly obvious that Sienkiewicz used Homer's Iliad as a model for the Trilogy, are the two epics ever taught in conjunction in Polish schools? How is Sienkiewicz's satire of the Szlachta's Sarmatian pretensions by having Pan Zagloba claim descent from the Massagetai seen in todays Poland (if it's noticed at all)? How are Sienkiewicz's depictions of Ruthenian women as witches that love to flash their white teeth seen in today's Poland? Is the legend Sienkiewicz relates about vampires appearing as toddlers with green glowing eyes by the side of lonely roads from actual Polish folklore or is it Sienkiewicz's own invention? What do Poles today make of Sienkiewicz's blaming Armenian merchants for the surrender of the city in the last book? Is Pan Wolodyjowski seen as a role model for the Poles of today as Achilles had been for the Hellenic Greeks?
JaneDoe 5 | 114
17 Feb 2011 #2
One question at a time, please. What again?
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
17 Feb 2011 #3
As an American of Polish descent I cannot comment on how the Poles in Poland think about Henryk Sienkiewicz's works. I will say that the thing that was noticeable was his use of long Polish names in most of his characters. That must have been intentional.
OP Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
17 Feb 2011 #4
What again?

It is in the part of the first book where the heroes have gone to rescue Pan Michael's fiancée from the hideout Bohun had placed her in and they talk about these bizarre infantile vampires as well as monsters that are human heads with spider's legs.
Gregrog 4 | 100
17 Feb 2011 #5
Is the Trilogy required reading in Polish public schools?

Yes it is. In primary school "With fire and sword", High School - "Deluge". The last part isn't required("Mr Wolodyjowski?").

It seems fairly obvious that Sienkiewicz used Homer's Iliad as a model for the Trilogy, are the two epics ever taught in conjunction in Polish schools?

To be honest I don't see much connection to Homers Iliad. Of course Iliad and Odysey is taught in Polish school, but not as a whole, but as parts.

How is Sienkiewicz's satire of the Szlachta's Sarmatian pretensions by having Pan Zagloba claim descent from the Massagetai seen in todays Poland (if it's noticed at all)?

Trilogy tells about Szlachta/nobility so we have many different people there. Zagłoba is one of them, and he is the most "brightest" one. In my opinion Zagłoba is one of the funniest part ot this book. He was drunk "warchoł" and coward, but he was also great patriot, he has never betrayed Poland and friends.

How are Sienkiewicz's depictions of Ruthenian women as witches that love to flash their white teeth seen in today's Poland?

Not existance? I don't even remember what you are talking about.

Is the legend Sienkiewicz relates about vampires appearing as toddlers with green glowing eyes by the side of lonely roads from actual Polish folklore or is it Sienkiewicz's own invention?

I ahve no idea what you are talking about. I need to see it in Trylogia...

What do Poles today make of Sienkiewicz's blaming Armenian merchants for the surrender of the city in the last book?

Nothing. It's just part of plot not related to present day. Armenians wasn't Poles, so it's hard to consider as treason.

Is Pan Wolodyjowski seen as a role model for the Poles of today as Achilles had been for the Hellenic Greeks?

In present day Poland Trygoly doesn't affect so much as it used to affect 100 years ago. It's just a book. It was much more important during partitions. When Sienkiewicz finished Trylogy, and when Wołodyjowski died, some lady pay for mass for his soul.

I will say that the thing that was noticeable was his use of long Polish names in most of his characters. That must have been intentional.

This long Polish names was normal in described times. For example, imć Skrzetuski was real man, who escaped from Zbaraż and informed King about situation. Sienkiewicz gave Skrzetuski other name than it was in reality because he had wrong sources. However that is the fact. Most of characters in Trylogy was real humans, mostly aristocrats. Only the most important characters are invented by Sienkiewicz.

It is in the part of the first book where the heroes have gone to rescue Pan Michael's fiancée from the hideout Bohun had placed her in and they talk about these bizarre infantile vampires as well as monsters that are human heads with spider's legs.

So you are talking about this. Hmm it was beetwen Rzędzian, Zagłoba and Wołodyjowski?
Maybe it was in times of Sienkiewicz, or maybe he had some sources about how it was seen in times of Trylogy, but now there's no such a folklore... or I have never heard about it.
OP Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
18 Feb 2011 #6
Not existance? I don't even remember what you are talking about.

The Ruthenian witches' teeth flashing took place in the first book around the person of Chiemelnicki in his tent, and there was also a giant Ruthenian witch guarding Pan Michael's fiancée in Bohun's remote hideout.

So you are talking about this. Hmm it was beetwen Rzędzian, Zagłoba and Wołodyjowski?

Yes it was between them.

In my opinion Zagłoba is one of the funniest part ot this book.

I agree that most of the humor in the Trilogy derives from the rascal Zagloba, but the part with Pan Michael's servant relating his family's dispute with their neighbors over a pear tree while the heroes are waiting for him to impart other urgently awaited information gave me the most laughs. Also the whole moustache theme throughout the Trilogy was funny culminating in the weakly mustachioed Pan Wołodyjowski's attraction to the brunette with a light moustache in the third book. I suspect Sienkiewicz had read Schopenhauer's writing about the laws of sexual attraction wherein the genius of the species would make a unimpressively mustachioed man attracted to a woman with a moustache because their offspring would have healthy moustaches.

Thank you for answering my questions Gregog.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,442
18 Feb 2011 #7
I suspect Sienkiewicz had read Schopenhauer's writing about the laws of sexual attraction wherein the genius of the species would make a unimpressively mustachioed man attracted to a woman with a moustache because their offspring would have healthy moustaches.

I bet he did;)
alexw68
18 Feb 2011 #8
Also the whole moustache theme throughout the Trilogy was funny culminating in the weakly mustachioed Pan Wołodyjowski's attraction to the brunette with a light moustache in the third book.

That figures. Didn't make Henryk any better at writing female characters though. The Trylogia in this respect is lamentable for someone of his literary gifts - and for someone who earlier in his career had written short stories about injustice and poverty with well-rounded characters from all walks of life.
OP Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
18 Feb 2011 #9
Didn't make Henryk any better at writing female characters though.

Alex, you don't think the third book, in which a great portion is devoted to the odyssey of Pan Wołodyjowski's wife after she escapes her abductors, absolves Sienkiewicz of the charge of only having weak female characters in the Trilogy?
alexw68
18 Feb 2011 #10
The charge wasn't one of weakness. Wołodyjowski's wife is a cipher, the characterisation hollow, whatever the heroism of her deeds. This, again, compared to the earlier work which is just more ... three-dimensional.
OP Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
18 Feb 2011 #11
Ironside if that engraving is suppossed to be of the giant Lithuanian's death from the first book I'd say that the artist didn't make him look tall enough.

Anyone having seen the ending of the movie Grand Torino with Clint Eastwood has seen a homage to the scene pictured above.
ender 5 | 398
19 Feb 2011 #12
Anyone having seen the ending of the movie Grand Torino with Clint Eastwood has seen a homage to the scene pictured above.

Death of Longinus Podbipięta

Death of Longinus Podbipięta by

Książę Jeremi Wiśniowiecki na mogile


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