Promethean struggle. Shelley, Keats, and Norwid in search of rescue in the risky world


Abstract

The myth of Prometheus sacrificing his freedom to give men authority over a powerful element of nature despite the will of the gods has, in modern times, inspired authors of different languages who kept transforming it according to their views. Both Western and Polish poets of Romanticism favoured the Promethean idea. In their Promethean – or Messianic – visions Mickiewicz and Słowacki emphasized the importance of armed or spiritual struggle for Polandʼs independence against Tsarist Russia, while English language poets praised the individualʼs rebellion in the face of the oppressive society. Cyprian Norwidʼs interpretation of the myth combined the individual and the collective. He saw Prometheus as a craftsman whose gift, fire – ʻteacher of all artsʼ – is a tool for ultimate salvation through Beauty incorporated in masterpieces. Norwidʼs philosophy is profoundly rooted in Christian soteriology. According to the poet, the revival of both his nation and of the individual is possible only through arduous work, through creative effort understood as cooperation with Christ the saviour in the attainment of salvation leading to both individual and national resurrection.


Keywords

Norwid, Keats, Shelley, Byron, beauty, truth, Promethean struggle

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Published : 2022-10-01


Niemirycz, A. (2022) “Promethean struggle. Shelley, Keats, and Norwid in search of rescue in the risky world ”, Crossroads. A Journal of English Studies, (37). doi: 10.15290/CR.2022.37.2.04.

Aleksandra Niemirycz  aniem@wp.pl
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4380-7256

Aleksandra Niemirycz is a Polish researcher, poet, philosopher, literary translator and conference interpreter. In the past she worked as an editor, a journalist and a high school English and Polish teacher. She graduated from the University of Warsaw (M.A. in Philosophy 1988, M.A. in Polish Studies 1989; Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies in Translation and Interpreting), and continued her literary education in the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In November 2016 she earned her doctorate at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.