scribes and letters

 this scribe sigh-murmurs 

reading words grown-written green

flawlessly fuzzy


















Photos of 1.Nov.2012, haiku 26 April 2014

© A. Dąbrówka

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Easter Trope Drama

Liturgical factors  (language, people, ceremonies and institutions) are not likely to decrease their importance for the explanation of earliest drama.

It is so obvious, that no such discussion is any more possible in the search for the sources of vernacular religious poetry. I don’t know how many European languages have to point to a Latin liturgical sequence as source of its first poem or carol that was created and performed as vernacular trope needed to accompany the Latin singing.

In Central Europe the Latin Easter sequence Victimae paschali laudes… gave birth to vernacular tropes in German, Czech, Polish and Hungarian – performed as Easter procession songs parallel to the sequence Victime paschali laudes. All of them are reflecting the sequence’s words surrexit Christus (from the verse 3b: Angelicos testes…), and they share the melody drawn from its beginning verse.

In my paper I want to pay attention to the second part of the Victime-sequence:

2b. Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando,
Dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.

Its content is an extremely compressed Redemption history, echoing or preceding the separate episodes as Processus-Belial, the Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection of Christ. In the duel between devil and Christ, represented metaphorically by Death and Life we can find the starting point of the long career of narrative and visual genres developed around the character of personified Death, known best from the death dances, but preceded by treatises, short narratives, dialogues and simple dramas. Some of  them will be reflected upon.



Andrzej Dąbrówka (Warszawa)

Mors et Vita – Another Easter Trope Drama?

The duel between death and life: Victimae paschali laudes (2b)

The literary style of allegoresis generated a rich harvest, whose diversity makes it impossible to assess its volume or even to only estimate numbers of works or its percentage. The main technique in question, the personification, can be found everywhere in all genres, not only in lyrical poems or in heroic epics (frequent parodies included), further in moralizing and didactic works, also used in school curricula and preachers repertoires, even allowed in theological exegesis. More than that, we see allegoresis applied in liturgical texts undergoing very strict procedures of promulgation executed by bodies rather suspicious towards imaginary and visual expression, and allowing it only after deep consideration, or tolerating its strong embedding in tradition.

A good case in point can be the Easter sequence Victimae paschali laudes, one of a few left after the Tridentine reform bringing discipline in rituals and forms of liturgy and removing most of the apocryphal narration and poetic invention.


Victimae paschali laudes

immolent christiani


2a|         Agnus redemit oves Christus innocens patri

reconciliavit peccatores

2b|         Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando

dux vitae mortuus regnat vivus


3a|         Dic nobis Maria quid vidisti in via

sepulcrum Christi viventis et gloriam vidi resurgentis

3b|         Angelicos testes sudarium et vestes

surrexit Christus spes mea praecedet suos in Galilaeam


4a|        Credendum est magis soli Mariae veraci

quam Judaeorum turbae fallaci

4b|        Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere

tu nobis victor rex miserere.[1]


The extreme popularity of the Victima-sequence was a result of its place in Easter liturgy,  and its soon getting vernacular progeny. The latter is very well known for everybody acquainted with the origins of European poetry in the vernacular:  in German, Czech, Hungarian, Polish – to name the closest ones. We all know those carols translating and re-troping the phrase of the Latin trope „surrexit Christus”. The number and importance of this progeny could possibly have obliterated other paths of our Easter trope, not marginal at all, as I’m showing below. What we do see after having heard in the first stanza the topic of the feast of the paschal sacrifice (immolent Christiani), is the recalling (in the second stanza) of the episode preceding the Paschal offering, alluding to the earlier events which actually started the Passion: the Temptations in the Desert (after Christ’s baptism),










and to the Agony in the garden of Gethsemane, started with Christ addressing his disciples, but also his death: „My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” (Tunc ait illis: Tristis est anima mea usque ad mortem: sustinete hic, et vigilate mecum. Matthew 26:38).










The stanza is generalizing the roles of the protagonist and antagonist in their contest for the power over the world and its creatures.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando,
Dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus

The question of man’s salvation is being conceptualized as a matter of life and death in general, and accordingly as a duel of the two characters, two personifications who clashed with each other in a combat. The poet doesn’t allow the individual aspect of life’s personification to be obliterated and is giving verbal expression to this “person’s” real existence by speaking metaphorically about his life in personal categories, as “the duke of life” (dux vitae).

And turning our attention back to the subject of the feast – the death sacrifice of that duke – the poet doesn’t forget the balance of that duel, worded in an artistic paradox, saying that the killed duke is alive and reigning.

The impersonation of the introduced characters is not complete: their semantic status is that of oscillating between the sphere of metaphor for real persons (Christ=duke of life, Satan = death), and the sphere of personification, standing for general abstract concepts like life or death.

So is also the duel only a metaphor of a combat.

A matter so important that it cannot be reduced in status to mere rhetorical figure, the duel had to be characterized as uncommon, miraculous: duellum mirandum. This semantic ambivalence or oscillating if not coupling is a common feature of complex allegories and even of single personifications.[2] They take a part of their expressive force from the semantic oscillator ‘concrete-abstract’. It happens even in case of independent or self-providing personifications, as Death we know from the danse macabre, who left the status of a skeleton playing in mortuaries, and was promoted to the function of God’s servant, but couldn’t remove from its transcendent emploi the obligation to remain always somebody’s death, the act of dying of each separate human being.

This quality reflects the distributive character of the life phenomenon that is possible only in separate individuals. In the same way death cannot be different than distributive in its working. It may be so obvious but the thrill we experience from looking at artistically performed death dances, all their ambivalent charm, comes from stating those distributive necessities: death doesn’t kill life in general, but only individual beings and this is what we should be watching with horror: that everybody has to take into account a sudden kidnapping and including into her procession.

In the Paschal sequence death is “the dying of all people, of all human race and of all life (omnia viventia), and even she is the personal perpetrator of this dying.[3]

Nam ego sum mors, que claudo omnia vivencia et finem eis impono
Deo volente et permittente et non est, qui se abscondat a meo dominio.

We hear that in her self-presentation in the Latin dialogue Colloquium de morte which was the source of the Slavic versions of the conversation of Polycarp, also of the Polish Dialogus magistri Polycarpi cum morte.[4] In both the bold and curious teacher, has to listen to her boasting about her power over all life, but to see her well-known scythe, and the lesser known attribute, sort of „Pandora’s box” containing all diseases and causing the extermination of all creature.[5]

The necessarily distributive character of death is responsible for the construction of death figure in the Victima-sequence as a personal enemy of God and his creation. She has to be sort of knight challenging another knight – Life. For the duel to be one between equals (otherwise it would be not credible as a serious combat) the second knight figure had to be someone more than an individual although special human person, but it had to mean also the life of each human.


(First part of my paper delivered to the 14th congress of the SITM, Poznań July 2013

See the pdf-file here)



[1] Standard text in the Database Cantus: ID 508002 The phrase „mors et vita” has there two entries: one in the sequence Victimae Paschali laudes (ca. 20 records), and another in the antiphon for  the feast of the Inventio Crucis: Mors et vita apposita sunt tibi si non ostendas mihi crucem Christi, Cantus  Sung with English text at

[2] See the “simultaneous realities” in allegory, C. Erickson, The Medieval Vision, Oxford 1976, p. 8, and N. Crohn Schmitt 1982: 312, applying the notion to the interpretation of the allegorical drama The Castle of Perseverance; N. Crohn Schmitt, The Idea of a Person in Medieval Morality Plays, in: C. Davidson C. et al. (ed.), The Drama of the Middle Ages. Comparative and Critical Essays, AMS Press, New York 1982. 1982: 304–315.Cf. also oscillation of meanings in the characters in the Erfurt morality play (H. Linke, Figurendarstellung in der Erfurter Moralität. Geistliche Dramatik als Lebensorientierung, „Zeitschrift für deutsches Altertum” 1995, 124.2, p. 129–42.1995), and the „plurality of truths” in Piers Plowman, G. Rudd, Managing Language in „Piers Plowman”, Piers Plowman Studies IX, D. S. Brewer, Cambridge 1994.

[3] Nam ego sum mors, que claudo omnia vivencia et finem eis impono Deo volente et permittente et non est, qui se abscondat a meo dominio.

[4] Editor’s title: Czesława Pirożyńska, Łacińska Rozmowa mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią. Dialogus magistri Polycarpi cum morte [in:] Średniowiecze. Studia o kulturze, t. 3, Wrocław 1966, pp.74-187.

[5] …omnes morbos creaturarum in vase ferreo portans in sinistro brachio et tota existens pallida et in manibus tenens falcastrum horribile, coram se habens celum apertum et retro se infernum

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Monument of the Book

In Lesko, a small town in the south-east of Poland you can see a monument of the book, established in 2008.

It was invented by the artist Andrzej Pityński, living since 1974 in the USA,



The open book held by a hand shows two quotes. One by the Polish poet C.K. Norwid, reading:

Not the sword or shield are defending the language but masterpieces. 


The second quote is from the German writer T. Mann, reading

Today’s books are the deeds of tomorrow.







(C) Photos made in 2011

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Being reflected

World Water Day 22.03.2014


It was more than it is

life bringing seed and an empty cog


It is more than it shows

one waterdrop in a leaky cockleshell


It shows more than it bears

two skies, one sun, a house roof with chimney, many trees




It bears more than it gives

nothing to touch to take away, only in mirror



It gives more than it takes

a spoon stardust for a second world


???????? SONY DSC ????????

It takes so much more

when disappearing

than it was

in the beginning




© A. Dąbrówka, photos 31-March 2013, text 22 March 2014

WordPress weekly photo challenge Reflections

Many posts on this blog show water drops and photo-like reflections, starting with the previous Inflection

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074castle-inside 076icicle-photo-house-dkw 076castle-inside 074castle-inside-dwp 071lodoplastyka-foto-dwp 072lodoplastyka-foto-d1wp 076icicle-photo-house-dwp 074castle-inside-2dwp 075foto-dom-dwp




inside of things are pictures of the things
remaining outside visible off frame
or otherwise looking quite different
from their image they reflect or are

a common house resembles a high castle
built on an iceberg or a lustered rock
with doors too narrow to be entered
by anyone from Euclidean world

lean trees elongate bowing to each other
and bending to squeeze in above the house
the tiny sky denies them enough space
as if they had to grow in a glass bottle

© A. Dąbrówka (photos 8.02.2013, text 16 March 2014)

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Appeal Concerning the Latest Events in Ukraine and in Kharkiv

2014-03-04 11:56 GMT


Dear friends,

I am sending you the text of the appeal to the world community of intellectuals

by the Kharkiv Historico-Philological Society. 

Please circulate it among your contacts.

Serhii Vakulenko

Шановні друзі,

надсилаю Вам текст відозви Харківського історико-філологічного товариства
до світової інтелектуальної спільноти англійською мовою для поширення серед
Ваших контактів.

Сергій Вакуленко


To all scholars of the world, learned societies,
university staff, men of letters and arts

The Kharkiv Historico-Philological Society, founded in 1886 by the leading
professors of the University of Kharkiv, addresses the following message to
the scholarly community of the world.

On the 1st of March 2014, a violent clash was staged in Kharkiv between the
supporters of Ukraine’s European integration and the so-called ralliers
„for stability and restoration of order”. The supporters of the Maidan for
Europe, numbering a little over 100, most of them university freshmen, were
peacefully located in the premises of the Provincial Administration to
which they had been invited on the 23rd of February by the Deputy Governor
Vasyl Khoma. They were demanding the appointment of a new Governor instead
of the deeply compromised Mykhailo Dobkin, a long-time henchman of the
ousted President Yanukovych.

That same Dobkin, together with his accomplice Hennadii Kernes, the Mayor
of Kharkiv (a former criminal convict, backed by Yanukovych’s Party of
Ukraine’s Regions) orchestrated a pro-Russian rally to which about two
thousand participants from the nearby Russian city of Belgorod were brought
across the border. To avoid any clashes, the Co-ordinative Council of the
Maidan for Europe cancelled its own rally, previously summoned at the same
time and place. After the end of the pro-Russian rally a large group of
well-trained fighters, armed with bats, compliance weapons and tear-gas
attacked the building of the Provincial Administration and severely beat
its defenders, throwing them afterwards in the midst of the enraged
pro-Russian (and largely imported from Russia) crowd striking and kicking
them. The police, corrupted by the Mayor Kernes, did not intervene.

Among the injured defenders of the Provincial Administration were Serhii
Zhadan, a writer of international renown, and one of the members of our
Society Valerii Romanovskyi, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Ukrainian
Academy of Culture in Kharkiv.

Russian official propaganda and media try to portray the supporters of
democracy and freedom in Ukraine as nationalist nazi-like radicals and
extremists that menace the existence of the Russian-speaking community.
This Goebbelsian rhetoric has nothing to do with the Ukrainian reality. The
nazi tendencies can rather be observed on the other side. Suffice it to say
that the person who put the Russian flag on the top of the building of
Provincial Administration of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Mika Ronkainen,
is a Russian citizen and a Moscow dweller, exhibiting his overt admiration
for Adolf Hitler on the web.

There is sufficient evidence to affirm that this was a part of the
aggression against Ukraine which is now carried out on the order of the
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In this connection, we confidently declare that the pretext of defending
the rights of Russian-speaking population in Ukraine, used by the Russian
propaganda, is a pure invention. The Russian language has always been
freely used in the Ukrainian media, schools and universities, and everyday
life. Ukraine has one of the best legislations in the world ensuring the
rights of ethnic minorities, including state-run schools using not only
Russian, but also Crimean Tatar, Hungarian, Polish, Rumanian as languages
of education. In many areas, including Kharkiv, it is the Ukrainian
language that indeed needs protection and support.

The attempts to play the ethnic and linguistic card in order to destabilize
the situation in Ukraine come from abroad. During the 22 years of
independence, Ukraine has learnt to handle its ethnic and linguistic
problems in a responsible way. Unlike many other post-Soviet states, it has
never had conflicts on ethnic grounds. In case of need, we solve all our
problems by means of open discussion resulting in a viable compromise. No
intervention from outside is necessary.

We launch an appeal to the world scholarly community to help promulgate
truthful information concerning the real state of affairs in Ukraine. Those
of you who can address the general public through all kinds of media,
please do it as soon as possible. The disinformation campaign engineered by
the Kremlin must be thwarted. We want the world to know the truth. The
savage rampage, inspired from Russia, that took place in Kharkiv last
Saturday is part of it.

On behalf of the whole Society

Ihor Mykhailyn, PhD, DLitt.
Михайлин Ігор Леонідович – доктор філологічних наук, професор, завідувач кафедри журналістики Харківського національного університету імені В. Н. Каразіна. Член Національної Спілки письменників України

Permanent Secretary

Assistant Professor Serhii Vakulenko, PhD
Вакуленко Сергій – науковий секретар Харківського історико-філологічного товариства.

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The Vision of Polycarp: Medieval Conversations of Man with Death

Book in preparation, edited by A. Dąbrówka & P. Stępień

To appear at the Publishing Office of the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, 2014

In the relatively small corpus of preserved medieval poetry in Polish a special place belongs to a dramatized dialogue between a teacher and personified Death. It stands out by its size (almost 500 lines) and artistic elaboration (fluent rhymed distichs and rich style).

Its only known copy, now lost, was called De morte, and in critical editions  and scholarly usage it goes under the title “Conversation of master Polycarp with Death” (Rozmowa mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią). The Polish dialogue belongs to a rich Central European tradition of prose treatises, narrative poems, dramatic dialogues in different vernacular languages, mostly Slavic (Czech, Polish, Croatian, Russian, Ukrainian).

Our book is the first monograph since the dissertation of Czesława Pirożyńska (1966), whose study accompanied a critical edition of the Latin source of the Polycarp tradition. Even older is the state of knowledge in the most extensive studies about he Polish and Chech Polycarp delivered by Vrtel-Wierczyński.

As groundbreaking as both studies were, they became inevitably outdated, and with our monograph we want to give impulse for new research, by offering a review of our knowledge and unknowing about the work and its multifarious tradition and contexts. It could be a starting point for an international comparative research project that should result in a common critical edition of all language realizations. Only then a necessary fundament would be given for any responsible investigations.

The monograph gives orientation in three problem fields which need necessarily to be accounted for in any analysis of such a prominent piece of cultural tradition: the background and soil of its origins (part I), the ways of its functioning in different areas of culture (part II), and (part III) its impact as a whole or the reception of its separated motifs.  Some of them (e.g. a death personification, a conversation with Death), are older than the dialogue itself, and have a life of their own, an afterlife included.


Part One  of the monograph gives a sketchy panorama around the Polish Polycarp drama, with three directions: Biblical context (Starowieyski), further vernacular neighborhood in Italian literature (Lenart), and the closest kinship of Slavic text family (Siatkowska, Dürrigl, Jiroušková).

Marek Starowieyski in „Ezra’s controversy with God over soul’s leaving the body” (Spór Ezdrasza z Bogiem w sprawie wyjścia duszy z ciała) deals with Christian apocryphs around Ezra, originating in late Antiquity but popular in the Middle Ages, trying to reveal any links (substantial or contextual) between them and the medieval conversation of man with Death.

Ewa Siatkowska’s „Some questions at issue in the research on the De morte prologus” (Kilka kwestii spornych w badaniach nad De morte prologus) points at the pressing necessity of thorough investigation of sources, style, authorship, place and  time of origin of the Polish Polycarp, as well as on the correctness of our understanding of the single preserved copy (lost after 1945), and on the relations between the Slavic adaptations of the Polycarp-matter.

Lenka Jiroušková makes a first important step in this direction, taking under comparative scrutiny the relations between the medieval Latin, Czech, and Polish conversations between Death and man, and vice versa:  ,Rozmlúvanie Smrti s člověkem a člověka se Smrtí‘: Komparativní úvahy nad staročeským, latinským a staropolským zpracováním. Her thorough study could not answer the most urgent question of priority between the Czech and the Polish version, but they appear even more closely related to each other than they seemed earlier. With a new description of the Latin mss whose inventory she enriched, the students of the topic are helped to advance the further research more easily.

Marija Ana Dürrigl in Some Features of the Croatian Text „Slovo Meštra Polikarpa” gives a review of the literary construction and style of the two 15th c. versions of the Conversation of Master Polycarp written down in Glagolitic script of the Croatian language, both in prose stylistically and semantically not far from the Latin source, but sharpening its irony and antithetic features in the structure of the dialogue.

Mirosław Lenart turns to another vernacular stream of traditions – around the durée longue of the Italian conversations between man and Death („L’anima mia che con la morte parla”. Długie trwanie rozmów człowieka ze Śmiercią w literaturze włoskiej) spanning the 13th-19th centuries, and represented by literary, pictural, theatrical and paratheatrical sources documenting the multifariousness, popularity and longevity of the phenomenon in both elitary and popular culture.

Part Two of the monograph consists of studies devoted to the Polish Polycarp (De morte), situating it in different cultural functional contexts and investigating new intellectual and esthetic dimensions, including them all in the interpretation of the circumstances of the early Russian adaptation in the 16th century.

Tomasz Wojczak’s Dialog mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią” a średniowieczna kultura ludowa. Symbolika utworu i jej percepcja [Dialogue of master Polycarp with Death and the mediewal folklore] tries with help of the apparatus of historical anthropology (Geertz, Gurievich) to answer the question if and to what extent the Polish Polikarp can be useful as a source in research on medieval folklore and its awareness of death symbolism.

Jacek Kowzan in „Miła Śmierci, gdzieś się wzięła”? Konteksty eschatologiczne „Rozmowy mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią” [„Beloved Death, where are you from?” Eschatological contexts of the Conversation between Master Polycarp and Death] points at the necessity of the research of theological traditions behind the Polish dialogue. In a case study he is situating the conversation’s ideas on the origin of Death in theological thinking. The context of medieval eschatological visions explains the reason for Death’s appearing to Polycarp in a church, and for the teacher Polycarp’s assuming the role of a schoolboy.

For Witold Wojtowicz („Nie lękaj się mię tym razem”. Ciekawe spotkanie mistrza Polikarpa [Don’t be afraid of me this time. An interesting meeting of master Polycarp]) the topic of the Conversation is the metamorphosis of the learned Hero into a fool, aimed at reform and metanoia, turning the fool into a wise, penitent Christian. The chapter goes into details of the different faces and meanings of Polycarp’s  foolishness. Some topics of the dialogue are discovered in moralities of the 16th c.

Andrzej Dąbrówka in Rozmowa Polikarpa [Polycarp’s conversation] examines the cognitive circumstances accompanying the origin of the Polish dialogue, putting it in the vicinity of some other central-European writings of the 15th century containing the motif of the conversation with Death: De duello mortis et vite, Ackermann aus Böhmen, Dyalogus vite et mortis, Leven und Dod, Lübecker Totentanz. Reading of those texts allows an insight into the skills of their authors and helps recognize the literary competence of the Polish writer. The latter’s skills are better visible thanks to the comparison of his Polish text with the qualities of its Latin source.

Paweł Stępień („Czyż nie uczynił Bóg głupstwem mądrości świata?” {1 Kor 1, 20}. Mądrość mędrców i mądrość Boża w „Rozmowie mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią” [Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? {1 Cor 1:20}. The wisdom of the sages and Gods wisdom in the Conversation of master Polycarp with Death]) debates the status of the Polycarp figure as a biblical sage of whom Death – the teacher is prevailing intellectually, because her school is the ars bene moriendi developed and taught in scholarly writings since the Middle Ages until the modern time. Some important schools studying the art of good dying are presented in more detail, included the moral reform coming from the death dances including learned figures.

Viviana Nosilia in the chapter Polycarp in Muscovy investigated the possible way the Polish Polycarp took to reach the Duchy of Moscow. The strategy of the anonymous  Russian monk of the Volokolamsk Cloister has been analyzed. He translated the Polish text reducing thoroughly all rhetorical effects, to adjust the result for the strictly religious circuit whose needs consisted only in reading. The study places the Polycarp matter in the Russian-Byzantine tradition of visionary literature. This may suggest that it was just this visio-dimension (we have put into the title of our monograph), that made the Polish text interesting for the Russian monk. On the contrary, the Czech version (as Jiroušková has shown it) removed all visionary signals from the Latin source and used the naturalistic (or fictional) convention of a meeting in natura, not in visione.

In the third part of the book we leave the Middle Ages and consider some special cases: works (Gostomska, Gruntkowska, Rok) and genres  (Marciniak-Sikora and Žuromskaitė), whose topic is a form of man’s thinking about death images. Authors of the following chapters examine writings from the centuries 16-18.

Anna Gostomska (Dziecko w obliczu spraw ostatecznych, czyli o «Rozmowie Panienki ze Śmiercią» Kaspra Miaskowskiego [The child facing the last things, or about the “Conversation of a young lady with Death” by Kasper Miaskowski]) asks the methodological question of plausibility of comparing a poem of the 17th c. with a medieval one only because they share a common topic, quite frequent also in death dances.

Dominika Gruntkowska («Rozmowa Mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią» a «Nędza z Biedą z Polski precz idą». O oddziaływaniu dialogu średniowiecznego [The “Conversation of master Polycarp with Death” and «Nędza z Biedą z Polski precz idą». On the impingement of the medieval dialogue]) compares the structure of two dramas casting death, and examines mainly the aspects of origin, the mode of reception and the meaning of the motifs contributing to the composition of the personifications.

Anna Marciniak-Sikora («Codzienna w całym świecie praktyka, nieuchronny wyrok Boski, iż kto się rodzi, umierać musi… ». Kilka uwag o arengach w staropolskich testamentach szlachty krakowskiej i sandomierskiej) reviews different attitudes towards the expected death hour, which have been identified by the Author in a vast corpus of wills.

Brigita Žuromskaitė (Postać śmierci w XVI–XVII-wiecznych kazaniach pogrzebowych i testamentach rodziny Sapiehów [Death figure in the funeral sermons and wills of the Sapieha family from 16th-17th centuries]) worked through a substantial corpus of funeral sermons and wills of one of the most prominent families of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania could extract the modes of representing and looking at the death phenomenon. A general eschatological dimension prevails in the sermons, while the wills contain examples of authentic conceptualizations of the phenomenon and personal reflections on the end of one’s life.

Bogdan Rok (Reformaci polscy czasów staropolskich wobec problemu przygotowania wiernych do śmierci [Polish observants in the face of the task of preparing the faithful for death]) examines two manuals for a preacher serving the last sacraments to the dying believers. Their authors were resp. Józef Dąbrowski and  Rajmund Tworkowski. Different in style, both convey a similar ars bene moriendi – not shy of practical hints, at times palliative. At the same time they induce thinking about the last things durign all life, not in the last moments. They teach priests to be mild towards the dying people, and to help them meditate rather than stirring up emotions.

We close the book with a full bibliography of the editions of the Polish Polycarp (since it has been descovered in 1886), of its old and recent translations, and of secondary studies.

The Aneks contains the most recent transcription of the Dialog mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią, by Roman Mazurkiewicz and Wacław Twardzik, printed with their kind permission.


Widzenie Polikarpa

Średniowieczne rozmowy człowieka ze śmiercią

(red.) Andrzej Dąbrówka & Paweł Stępień

Spis rzeczy



Ks. MAREK STAROWIEYSKI Spór Ezdrasza z Bogiem w sprawie wyjścia duszy z ciała

EWA SIATKOWSKA Kilka kwestii spornych w badaniach nad De morte prologus

LENKA JIROUšKOVá  Rozmlúvanie Smrti s člověkem a člověka se Smrtí‘: Komparativní úvahy nad staročeským, latinským a staropolským zpracováním

MARIJA ANA DÜRRIGL Some Features of the Croatian Text Slovo Meštra Polikarpa

MIROSŁAW LENART „L’anima mia che con la morte parla”. Długie trwanie rozmów człowieka ze Śmiercią w literaturze włoskiej


TOMASZ WOJCZAK Dialog mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią a średniowieczna kultura ludowa. Symbolika utworu i jej percepcja

JACEK KOWZAN „Miła Śmierci, gdzieś się wzięła”? Konteksty eschatologiczne Rozmowy mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią

WITOLD WOJTOWICZ „Nie lękaj się mię tym razem”. Ciekawe spotkanie mistrza Polikarpa

ANDRZEJ DĄBRÓWKA Rozmowa Polikarpa

PAWEŁ STĘPIEŃ „Czyż nie uczynił Bóg głupstwem mądrości świata?” (1 Kor 1, 20). Mądrość mędrców i mądrość Boża w Rozmowie mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią

VIVIANA NOSILIA Polycarp in Muscovy


ANNA GOSTOMSKA Dziecko w obliczu spraw ostatecznych, czyli o Rozmowie Panienki ze Śmiercią Kaspra Miaskowskiego

DOMINIKA GRUNTKOWSKA Rozmowa mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią a Nędza z Biedą z Polski precz idą. O oddziaływaniu dialogu średniowiecznego

ANNA MARCINIAK-SIKORA „Codzienna w całym świecie praktyka, nieuchronny wyrok Boski, iż kto się rodzi, umierać musi…”. Kilka uwag o arengach w staropolskich testamentach szlachty krakowskiej i sandomierskiej

BRIGITA ŽUROMSKAITĖ Postać śmierci w XVI–XVII-wiecznych kazaniach pogrzebowych i testamentach rodziny Sapiehów

BOGDAN ROK Reformaci polscy czasów staropolskich wobec problemu przygotowania wiernych do śmierci


Rozmowa mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią. Bibliografia 1886-2011. Opracował PAWEŁ STĘPIEŃ

ANEKS. Gospodzinie wszechmogący… [Dialog mistrza Polikarpa ze Śmiercią]. Opracowali ROMAN MAZURKIEWICZ i WACŁAW TWARDZIK

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