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The article attempts to outline Adam Mickiewicz’s concept of subjectivity. He introduces it in his visionary poetic drama Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve) where a radically ambivalent situation is presented through the duality of the main character Gustaw/Konrad. The article describes this duality in terms of Paul Ricoeur’s distinction between cogito exalté and cogito brisé. In Dziady Mickiewicz dramatizes the transition from exaltation to dejection, the condition of cogito brisé (living with a wound). His romantic subject cannot throw away his past, but because he is acutely aware of his failings and his inadequacy he is able to free himself from delusions of grandeur and self-centered pride. The condition of uncertainty, inadequacy and chronic insatiability is like a gaping wound or a lack which may lead the ‘I’ to open up and seek the Other. It is a vision of man who knows he is deeply flawed but capable of pursuing a noble desire; vulnerable and fallible, beset by ‘endless error’ and yet able to act and get his act together; self-centered and yet, because of the relational nature of the human identity, capable of redirecting his emancipatory energy to Others. It can be summed up the concept of homo capax (homme capable) which, as this article argues, provides the key to Mickiewicz’s anthropology.
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