Positivism in Poland: characteristics of the epoch

Positivism is another - after Romanticism - era in Polish literature. Its beginning is considered to be 1863 (the January Uprising). Its closing date is approximate and falls in the last years of the 20th century. What is worth knowing about positivism? Who created then? What works were created? Read on.

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1. Positivism - the name of the era

The explanation of the term 'positivism' should be sought in the Western European philosophical and philosophical trend, which was characterized by the French philosopher August Comte. In his six-volume work "A Course in Positive Philosophy" he stated that "positive" is real, contradicting everything miraculous, useful. In this era, researchers and philosophers focused on the individual as part of society and humanity.

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In Poland, the ideology of positivism was closely related to the socio-economic program (the so-called organic work). It is also not without significance that Poland was still divided between the three partitioners.

2. The generation of "young"

The generation of people born between 1840 and 1850 came to the fore in positivism. Most of them came from declassed nobility. They grew up in captivity and had to face the defeat of independence uprisings. They rebelled against the ideas promoted by the romantics. They did not agree to further uprisings for independence, which did not help at all in regaining freedom.

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Many people from the "young" generation are graduates of the Main School, founded in 1862, the only university in Warsaw with a humanistic profile.

The voice in the worldview discussion, most often in the pages of the extremely popular press in positivism, was spoken by, inter alia, Aleksander Świętochowski, Piotr Chmielowski, Bolesław Prus, Henryk Sienkiewicz and Eliza Orzeszkowa.

3. Main assumptions of positivism

Positivism was guided by two important program slogans: grassroots work and organic work. Their goal was to rebuild social awareness and encourage all social strata to work. Special emphasis was placed on education, which makes positivism similar to the Enlightenment.

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The hero of positivist literature was a man of action, gifted and energetic. He had to live off work, opposing the idle behavior of the aristocracy.

In the era of positivism, the press played an extremely important role, especially daily newspapers, incl. "Kurier Warszawski", "Gazeta Polska", "Kurier Codzienny" or "Dziennik Poznański". Outstanding works of the era were published in newspapers, incl. "The Doll" by Bolesław Prus or the Trilogy by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

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4. Creators of the era of positivism

Many works important for Polish literature were written in positivism. During this period, they created:

  • Henryk Sienkiewicz ("Sketches with coal", "Deluge", "With fire and sword", "Pan Wołodyjowski")
  • Bolesław Prus ("Doll", Vest "," Emancipants ")
  • Eliza Orzeszkowa ("Nad Niemnem", "Tadeusz")
  • Maria Konopnicka ("Mendel Gdański")
  • Adam Asnyk
  • Maria Konopnicka
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