Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

When Tadeusz Róewicz’s plays began appearing in the early 1960’s, he was already a famous and prolific poet—one of the most influential of the postwar period in Polish literature—as well as a short-story writer. His poetry, prose, and drama are all interconnected. Róewicz himself has stated that some of his poems are minidramas, written in preparation for his plays. Thus, The Card Index is clearly related to the famous poem “Ocalony” (1947; “The Survivor,” 1976). Similarly, The Witnesses seems to have developed from the poem Zielona róa (1961; Green Rose, 1982). His first two volumes of lyrics, Niepokój (1947; Unease, 1980) and Czerwona rn kawiczka (1948; the red glove), are funeral laments over those who perished in World War II, laments expressed through a new kind of “antipoetic” poetry. Volumes of the late 1960’s, such as Twarz trzecia (1968; the third face) and especially Regio (1969), contain new elements of an existential and philosophical nature.

Like his poetry, Róewicz’s prose is concerned with psychological analysis. A recurring theme is the contrast between the moral and spiritual emptiness of the present and the horror of wartime and occupation. This theme appears in the title story of a collection of five stories, Wycieczka do muzeum (1966; an excursion to a museum). Róewicz’s most important piece of fiction is his novel mier w starych dekoracjach (1970; death amid old stage props), which exhibits a traditional Polish theme of the hero who travels outside his native land and discovers himself in the process of his encounter with the West.