FROM HISTORIOGRAPHY TO HISTORIOSOPHY. MICKIEWICZ'S REFLECTIONS ON METHODS OF KNOWING THE PAST (1832-1840)
By analyzing Mickiewicz's original attempts to develop his historiographical ideas 'Ksiegi narodu polskiego i pielgrzymstwa polskiego' (The Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pilgrimage), 'Pierwsze wieki historii polskiej' (The First Centuries of Polish History), his Lausanne and Paris lectures), the author shows how the poet's views evolved during the years 1832-1840: from his fascination with the rationalistic view of historical processes (i.e. with Enlightenment inspirations) to his messianic, mythical, mystical and theosophical conception of them, shaped under the influence of Andrzej Towianski's theosophical doctrine, during the period when he was Professor of Slavonic Literatures at the College de France. The analysis reveals the process by which two historiographical tendencies overlap and interact in Mickiewicz's texts: the 'realistic' and the 'messianic'. The latter leads to a transformation of his historiographic interpretation of historical phenomena into a vision characteristic of a messianic philosophy of history. Moreover, under the influence of messianism, a reinterpretation takes place in Mickiewicz's approach to the question 'what is an historical narrative?”. According to the realistic conception, it was the 'narrating' of events which had taken place in a defined time and place, their treatment in chronological order, and with reference to the criterion of truth. In the historiosophic conception, on the other hand, the historiographic narration undergoes a metamorphosis and becomes a narrative whose aim is, above all, to grasp the 'spiritual essence' of the historical process created both by man and by Providence.
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