Przybyszewski, Stanislaw (1868–1927) By Fialek, Marek
Stanislaw Przybyszewski (1868–1927), highly controversial author of German tongue and Polish provenance, catalyst of German-Scandinavian modernity, and satanist, was widely read in Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. He began his writing career with Zur Psychologie des Individuums, a treatise with the subtitle Chopin und Nietzsche. By means of a highly selective presentation of Nitzschean doctrine, he tried to determine his own aesthetic-philosophical position. He propagated a new type of art that is, essentially, created in an outburst of emotion, placing sexuality and the opposition of the sexes at the very beginning of any artistic creativity. Art is, in Przybyszewski’s interpretation, the constant struggle between the sex and the brain, or the sublimation of erotic desire. Diegesis is often replaced by memories, dreams, visions, images from the subconscious of the narrator, and situations of pure madness and ecstatic excruciation. His language use was novel in being filled with medical terminology, colourful imagery, and scientific analogies, combining terms adapted from the exact sciences to the field of intuitive psychology with a vigorous ambition to coin new terms. Przybyszewski’s psychic naturalism and his understanding of the soul as a ‘perpetually introversive view’ embodied an animadversion on the limits of language itself, which is why, to him, Munch’s Fieber und Vision represents a felicitous depiction of the most difficult-to-grasp operations of the human soul.