The Power of Illusions: Enlightenment, Romanticism, and National Catastrophe in Poland

The aim of the paper is to show the consequences of the loss of independence for the public discourse in Poland in the context of 19th comparison between Poland and Spain. The loss of independence is considered a "catastrophe" so the first part of the paper deals with the meaning of the concept of catastrophe. In the second part, the author tracks the traces of this catastrophe in Polish literature in 19th and 20th century using as the examples texts of such authors as Krasicki, Lelewel, Mickiewicz, Prus, Brun, and Gombrowicz. Drawing on psychoanalysis the author argues that in Polish discourse thes ophisticated system of illusions have been developed which has helped to maintain Polish national identity during the itmes of oppression. The paper ends with the question about the usefulness of this system of illusions in independednt Poland after 1989.


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