|Abstract: ||The following dissertation makes a claim that psychoanalysis is a crucial element of our cultural history, contributing to Polish society’s embracement of modernity. The research material focuses chiefly on the oeuvre of interwar Polish society’s one of the most perceptive observers, Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz.
The first part of the thesis covers a number of issues. First, it presents the history of psychoanalysis in Polish lands between 1911 and 1939 so as to outline its historical context. Second, it indicates the relations between the Viennese neurologist’s theories and literature in the times of The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma’s author’s literary career, and it also explains the choice of research method. Finally, it attempts to capture the period’s zeitgeist.
Specifically, the discussion begins with an analysis of the first of Freud’s works translated into Polish, On psychoanalysis. Its translator, Ludwik Jekels, is important not only for his translation contribution, but also for his therapeutic work which was firstly undertaken in a Sanatorium in Bystra Śląska whose many famous patients included Julian Fałat, Maria Konopnicka, Józef Piłsudski and Gabriela Zapolska. Jekels’ both professional and private life were permeated by interest in the relations between psychoanalysis and literature. He wrote analyses of Shakespeare’s works and was married to a playwright.
Apart from Jekels, the first part of the thesis discusses other significant contributors to the development of psychoanalysis in Poland, including Marian Albiński, Stefan Baley, Maurycy Bornsztajn, Stefan Essmanowski, Karol Irzykowski, Helena Ivanka, Ludwika Karpińska, Stefan Marcus, Roman Markuszewicz, Beata Rank, Leopold Wołowicz or Gustaw Bychowski. The latter becomes famous in interwar Poland for writing Psychoanalysis in 1928 and Słowacki and his Soul from 1930, as well as editing the Polish translation of Introduction to Psychoanalysis, and interpreting literature in “Wiadomości Literackie,” a weekly with a focus on society and culture and aspiring to the title of bold and progressive, issued between 1924-1939. Its role in disseminating psychoanalytic theories in Polish interwar period cannot be overestimated.
Some of the works published in the magazine, including the serialized novella Killed by Mirrors by Stanisław Baliński or Freud’s Dream Theory, a drama by Antoni Cwojdziński are interpreted here using psychoanalysis and form a significant context for analyzing Dołęga-
-Mostowicz’s 1925 debut, a humoresque entitled Mrs Tuńcia’s Dream, through the lens of dream interpretation in the second part of the thesis.
The second part of the thesis is largely interpretive and discusses the following works by Mostowicz: Third Sex (1934), The World of Mrs Malinowska (1934), The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma’s (1932), The Quack (1937), Professor Wilczur (1939). The analysis focuses on the concepts of sexual difference, Oedipus complex, libido and narcissism, nature/culture, death drive and melancholia. The use of psychoanalytic method allows for reinterpreting Dołęga’s works and for making a social diagnosis, as popular literature is a perfect vessel for broader, superindividual tendencies that include traditions, fashions, desires and fears of the Polish society and which seem to be reflected in the studied material.
The conclusions cover the culture model which was developing the 1930s and which tended to increasingly rely on a phantasmatic function of the father and on subversion of the status of the man-hero. Owing to the growth of psychoanalysis, the problem of gender identity becomes part of social debate over male and female roles. Emancipative values, development of industrialism and the foundation of modern Polish state moves Poland away from national mythology rooted in Romanticism. This implies that Polish culture is regressive, transitioning from a promethean to a narcissist attitude.|