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Lange, Antoni

(1861–1929), poet, literary critic, and translator. Born into an assimilated, patriotic Polish family in Warsaw, Antoni Lange first studied sciences in Warsaw, then spent 1886–1890 in Paris, studying oriental languages, philosophy, and literature. There he met members of the French literary elite, including Stéphane Mallarmé. Back in Warsaw, he wrote literary criticism, popular essays on history, philosophy, and aesthetics, as well as poetry, literary translations, and plays.

Lange published volumes of poetry, titled Poezje (1895–1898), Rozmyślania (Reflections; 1906), Pierwszy dzień stworzenia (First Day of Creation; 1907), Trzeci dzień (Third Day; 1925), and Pocałunki (Kisses; 1925). He also wrote the novels Stypa (Wake; 1911) and Miranda (1924); a volume of stories, W czwartym wymiarze (In the Fourth Dimension; 1912); critical studies, cultural-philosophical essays, and translations of Baudelaire, Shakespeare, Flaubert, Pushkin, and Chekhov; and of oriental poetry, including Hebrew (Dywan wschodni [Eastern Carpet]; 1921). The tradition of Polish romanticism and positivism influenced Lange’s early poems, which are dominated by patriotic and social themes; his mature writings (reflective, erudite, and formally refined) were connected with the tendencies of Parnassianism, while in his prose some interest in esoterism is apparent.

Culturally Polonized, Lange placed Hebrew mythological motifs (e.g., the poem “Lilith”) on an equal footing with those of Hindu and Polynesian mythology. Lange discussed Polish–Jewish relations in the brochure O sprzecznościach sprawy żydowskiej (On the Contradictions of the Jewish Question; 1911), advocating full assimilation (criticizing the Zionists and Polish nationalists for opposing this stance), and recognition of Jews as native to Poland. Stressing Polish–Jewish cultural commonality (e.g., Adam Mickiewicz’s messianism), Lange argued that Polish predated Yiddish as the original language of Polish Jews, and that mixed marriages were a way to bring the two communities together.

Suggested Reading

Maria Podraza-Kwiatkowska, “Ideał jedności doskonałej (O Antonim Langem jako krytyku),” in Somnambulicy, dekadenci, herosi. Studia i eseje o literaturze Młodej Polski, pp. 340–389 (Kraków, 1985); Jan Prokop, “Antoni Lange,” in Literatura okresu Młodej Polski, ed. Kazimierz Wyka, Artur Hutnikiewicz, and Mirosława Puchalska, vol. 1, pp. 421–436 (Warsaw, 1968); Beata Szymańska, Poeta i nieznane. Poglądy filozoficzne Antoniego Langego (Wrocław, 1979).



Translated from Polish by Christina Manetti; revised by Magda Opalski