Leopold Staff's Horror of war: Rainbow of Tears and Blood
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The poems in Leopold Staff's 'Tecza lez i krwi' (Rainbow of Tears and Blood) (1919) were written in the years of World War I. They are a record of his attempts to grapple with the horrors of that war, which presented a radical challenge to humanity. Although historians of literature have a low estimate of that volume, it is worth re-reading. Its oddly incoherent design may reflect traces of a pre-Postmodern design. The incoherences certainly cannot be accounted for by a low ebb of Staff's poetic talent. Apart from poems reviving Romantic and patriotic clichés, Staff also projects a pacifist attitude (which is rather rare in the Polish tradition). The voice of his poetic pacifism questions and subverts the sentiments of traditional poetics. The incompatibility of the two attitudes functions as both a text and a metatext, an expression of a cultural crisis.
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