The Value of Cultural Deficiency. The Colonial Syndrome of Mickiewicz’s Work

Kuziak, Michał

The article presents and interprets within the postcolonial context the specific reversal that takes place in the poet’s thoughts on culture in the 30s that lead to a positive qualification of the cultural lack and the critique of the modern culture. Mickiewicz disappointed with it (treating it as a colonization culture and a culture that legalizes the doings of Russia) begins to build a vision of culture based on spiritual and moral values, supported by ressentiment (the climax of this approach is rendered in Paris lectures). Thus a vision of the identity of a Slav and Pole is created by the poet (its inconsistency should be noticed because on the one hand it is a vision of the Other in Europe, and on the other hand, this vision is within the cultural model of Europe). This is another anticolonial motif of Mickiewcz’s story about the Slavs: an attempt to reintroduce their literary output to the European historiography. Exposing the Slavic cultural deficiency by Mickiewicz leads to a reversal of the colonial argument – the cultural deficiency is an advantage and not something that should be made up for. The poet transforms the old identity language of Ith Res Publica into a language of messianism (based on the category of sacrificial suffering) that is an answer to the situation of colonization.

ISSN: 1733-165X

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