Antoni Lange

Antoni Lange

Infobox Writer
name = Antoni Lange

imagesize = 200px
caption = Portrait of Antoni Lange by Stanisław Wyspiański, 1899
pseudonym = Antoni Wrzesień, Napierski
birthdate = 1861 or 1863
birthplace = Warsaw, Poland
deathdate = 17 March, 1929
deathplace = Warsaw, Poland
occupation = Poet, Philosopher, Novelist, Translator
nationality = Polish
period = 19th-20th century
genre = poem, epic poem, narrative poem, novel, short story, essay, drama, frame story
subject =
movement = Modernism, Symbolism, Young Poland
precursor to existentialism, collage, imagism and science-fiction
spouse =
children =
relatives =
influences = Gustav Meyrink, Mikołaj Sęp Szarzyński, Edgar Allan Poe, Stéphane Mallarmé, Juliusz Słowacki, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Guy de Maupassant, Edward Young
influenced = Bolesław Leśmian, Antoni Słonimski, Leopold Staff, Jerzy Żuławski, Stefan Grabiński, Tadeusz Miciński, Mieczysław Smolarski, Stanisław Baliński, Jerzy Hulewicz

website =

Antoni Lange (1863 - 17 March 1929) was a Polish poet, philosopher, polyglot (15 languages), writer, novelist, science-writer, reporter and translator. A representative of Polish Parnassianism and symbolism, he is also regarded as belonging to the Decadent movement. He was an expert on Romanticism, French literature and a popularizer of culture of Eastern cultures. He is famous for his novel "Miranda".

He translated English, French, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Indian, American, Serbian, Egyptian and Oriental writers into Polish and Polish poets into French and English. He was also one of the most original poets of the Young Poland movement. His work is often compared to Stéphane Mallarmé [A. Hutnikiewicz, Młoda Polska, Warszawa 2004, p. 316] and Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle.

Lange was an uncle of the poet Bolesław Leśmian.


Little is known about Lange's personal life, even the date of his birth is doubtful. He was born into a strongly patriotic Jewish family who were influenced by the ideals of Romanticism. His father Henri Lange took part in the November Uprising. Young Antoni studied at Warsaw University but he was expelled for his patriotic activity by the Tsarist Russian authorities who ruled Poland at the time. For this reason he decided to study in Paris where he encountered new trends in literature, philosophy and art. In France he became familiar with the theories of Jean Martin Charcot, as well as Spiritualism, parapsychology, the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, oriental religions, European and Eastern literature and modern literary criticism. He took part in the literary meetings of Stéphane Mallarmé.

He soon returned to his homeland, having become a dandy, and he became one of the best known members of Polish Bohemian life. Bolesław Prus, Julian Ochorowicz and Lange were the first Polish spiritists. In the 1890s he lived in Nowy Świat Street together with Władysław Reymont, a Polish writer and the winner of the Nobel Prize of 1924. Stanisław Brzozowski called Lange "a real and not frequently European mind" [S. Brzozowski "The Legend of Young Poland" (Legenda Młodej Polski):] and Julian Tuwim called him "a master of reflective poetry" [Note from "Władca czasu" (The Master of Time), edited by Julian Tuwim, Warsaw 1983] . During this time Lange was a member of the Polish Academy of Literature. However, with the sharp growth of his popularity as a poet his poems became more sceptical, pessimistic and hermetic. The main theme of the poems of this period was the feeling of being isolated and misunderstood by the crowd.



In Lange's cosmogony-philosophy, he announced that evolution of the soul is parallel to evolution of a nation. Capitalism is the enemy of this principle because it acts against individualism, so capitalism is the ideology of the anonymous crowd. If there is no individualism among the people, then there is also not a problem of "bad" versus "good". Then the world comes to disturb its own logic. According to Lange, a world that 'was being born' from ideal space, is still coming to the highest stage of evolution; sometime, it will return to its primary stage. Every step to evolution is a step to the ideal primary. An exception of this "rule of time-line" is the person of genius, who is between the times. In Lange's philosophy he referred to Giambattista Vico and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

Lange was interested in spiritualism and parapsychology to contain his own philosophy.

Critic of Romanticism

An important part of Lange's writing was the criticism of legacy of romanticism in modern poetry. In 1924 he founded "Astrea", a science-magazine and the first forum about the Polish and European romanticism. Lange rejected romantic illumination and brainwave. In his view theological truth is within the reach only of erudition, intellect and afterthought. Lange criticized also the importance of individualism and the authorial personality. Placing the poem as an artwork at the center, as an "eidos" of poetry, he affirmed the "poem's own existence" and a "clear idea of creation", therefore he disagreed with the cult of individualism.

Literary theories

Lange's original literary speculations were collected in books such as "Rzuty" ("Projections"), "O poezji współczesnej" ("On Contemporary Poetry") and "Studia i wrażenia" ("Studies and Impressions").

Other works

* "Vox Posthuma" - a philosophical treatise about an archetypical "enfant du siècle"
* "Godzina" ("The Hour") - an occult novel about the connections between the ideal and the material world, estheticism in poetry and real life etc.
* "Pogrzeb Shelleya" ("The Funeral of Shelley") - an ode to Percy Bysshe Shelley
* "Księgi proroków" ("Books of the Prophets") - a collection of cosmogonical poetry referred to Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Islam
* "Exotica" - an historiosophical poem about the "genesis" of the world, God, Man and Woman
* "Pogrobowcy" ("Posthumous Verses") - a collection of early poems strongly influenced by positivism
* "Rozmyślania" ("Contemplations" or "Thoughts") - a philosophical poem about the dead, strongly influenced by Romanticism, Baroque poetry and decadentism
* "Ballady pijackie" ("Drunken Ballads") - a lyrical essay about the drugs and alcohol enjoyed by decadent poets
* "Stypa" ("Meeting") - a frame story about the suicide of young man after a tragic love affair
* "Widzenie świętej Katarzyny" ("The Vision of Saint Catherine of Alexandria") - a lyrical story about the social and metaphysical consequences of the death of God
thumb|left|225x|">"Call me Eternity in the time's turnstile,""because there isn't the end""of the moment when I will knock" "at your door" [A faithful translation from Poland]
* "W czwartym wymiarze" ("In the Fourth Dimension") - one of the first science-fiction books in Polish literature
* "Miranda" - an occult novel about tragic love and the vision of an ideal woman in an ideal civilisation of Brahmins
* "Róża polna" ("The Wild Rose")
* "Atylla" ("Attila")
* "Malczewski" - a play about the life of the Polish Romantic poet Antoni Malczewski
* "Vita Nova" - a cycle of 11 philosophical poems about an ideal vision of love, pain and loneliness
* "Pieśni dla przyjaciół" ("Odes to Friends") - a collection of odes to Polish poets such as Jan Kasprowicz and Zenon Przesmycki

elected translations

* English (poems from "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, poems of Lord Byron, Edgar Allan Poe, short-stories of Herbert George Wells, "Paradise Lost" of John Milton, "Novum Organum" of Francis Bacon)
* French (poems of Charles-Marie-René Leconte de Lisle, Charles Baudelaire, Théodore de Banville, selected works of Gustave Flaubert, poetry by Maurice Maeterlinck)
* Italian (works of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, "New Science" of Giambattista Vico)
* German (works of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche)



* "Sonety wedyckie" (1887)
* "Pogrzeb Shelleya" (1890)
* "Wenus żebracza" (1890)
* "Ballady pijackie" (1895)
* "Księgi proroków" (1895)
* "Logos" (1895)
* "Poezje" (I – 1895; II – 1898)
* "Pogrobowcom" (1901)
* "Świat" (1901)
* "Fragmenta. Poezje wybrane" (1901)
* "Pocałunki" (1902)
* "Deuteronomion" (1902)
* "Akteon" (1903)
* "Księgi bogów" (1903)
* "Rozmyślania" (1906)
* "Pierwszy dzień stworzenia" (1907)
* "XXVII sonetów" (1914)
* "Ilia Muromiec" (1916)
* "Trzeci dzień" (1925)
* "Groteski. Wiersze ironiczne" (1927)
* "Rozmyślania. Z nowej serii" (1928)
* "Gdziekolwiek jesteś" (1931)
* "Ostatni zbiór poezji" (1931)

Novels and short stories

* "Godzina" (1894)
* "Elfryda: nowele i fantazje"(1895)
* "Zbrodnia" (1907)
* "Dwie bajki" (1910)
* "Czterdzieści cztery" (1910)
* "Stypa" (1911)
* "W czwartym wymiarze" (1912)
* "Miranda" (1924)
* "Nowy Tarzan" (1925)
* "Róża polna" (1926)
* "Michałki" (1926)


* "Atylla" (1898)
* "Wenedzi" (1909)
* "Malczewski" (1931)


* "O sprzeczności sprawy żydowskiej" (1890)
* "Analfabetyzm i walka z ciemnotą w Królestwie Polskim" (1892)
* "O poezji współczesnej" (1895)
* "Studia z literatury francuskiej" (1897)
* "Studia i wrażenia" (1900)
* "Lord Byron" (1905)
* "Rzuty" (1905)
* "Panteon literatury wszechświatowej" (1921)
* "Pochodnie w mroku" (1927)


ee also

* Young Poland
* Juliusz Słowacki
* Narrative poem

External links


* [ Lange's poems in Esperanto]
* [ A poem "Madame S..." original written by Lange in French]
* [,%20Antoni%20%20(1861?-1929)%22&isRemote=off&encode=true&action=SearchAction Copies of the first editions of twenty books of Lange]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.