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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

About the author

Vasily G. Shchukin (pol. Szczukin Wasilij),  Krakow (Poland), Doctor of Humanities, Professor. Place of employment — Jagiellonian University, position — full professor.

ORCID ID: 0000–0001–9083–6780.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The article describes the phenomenon of the so-called “democratic estate”, which took on the function of a cultural nest. Democracy, in accordance with Russian tradition, dating back to the discourse of the intelligentsia of the XIX century, is identified with the plebeian, motley origin of the inhabitants of the estate. This problem is considered on the basis of the art culture of Krakow at the end of the XIX and beginning of the XX centuries. In the era of modernism, in the wake of the neo-romantic enthusiasm for the problems of the national spirit and the “organic” life of the common people, in western Galicia, which is one of the provinces of Austria-Hungary, such forms of homestead life appeared that could be called exceptional, unique against the background of other manifestations of the democratization of the estate. Cracow artists and then poets and playwrights, discovering the beauty of the village of Małe Bronowice, located near Cracow, and captivated by folk costumes and the beauty of village girls, married them one by one and moved to village huts, but at the same time transformed the latter into real cultural nests. One of these weddings — the poet Lucian Rydel and the daughter of the village headman Jadwiga Mikołajczyk — inspired the outstanding artist and playwright Stanislav Wyspiańsky to create the most famous national drama of the modernist era — the play “The Wedding” (1901). This work, among other things, depicts the tragedy of mutual misunderstanding of the people and the intelligentsia, which impedes the national revival and, ultimately, the restoration of the country’s independence. The author of the article seeks to prove that the “democratic estate” served not only the necessary simplification of the educated stratum of society, but also the introduction of a high, essentially metropolitan culture into the life and consciousness of the lower strata.

  • Keywords: estate, cultural nest, Poland, Cracow, Małe Bronowice, Modern Period, Wyspiańsky, elitism, democracy, mind of capital city.


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