Maria Dąbrowska Manfred Kridl - Essay

Manfred Kridl

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[When Noce i dnie (Nights and Days) first appeared, the] public (and probably some critics as well) already were a little weary of [recent] experiments in novelistic structure. Accordingly it was with relief and joy that they greeted a book the essential trait of which was simplicity—simplicity in all its component elements: structure, language, characters and the type of life portrayed. With regard to the structure Dąbrowska reverted to an old novel form, which might be called that of a chronicle. Like a chronicle, such a novel 'begins at the beginning' with the genealogy of the characters; the narration of events then follows in chronological order and continues for a longer or shorter period of time; it could, for that matter, continue indefinitely, presenting the history of one, two, three or more generations. Such method brings the structure of the novel closer to the normal course of human life and endows it with the charm of 'authenticity.' The latter trait becomes even more pronounced because of the kind of the characters, the method of their treatment and the langauge of the novel. The characters are simple and average. In addition to the two leading heroes there appears a crowd of secondary persons, frequently without any essential necessity, especially in the latter volumes of the novel. This also corresponds to 'the way things are in life.' The author's narrative is also of the simplest kind; it flows slowly, in a broad...

(The entire section is 435 words.)