Biblical motifs in Maria Konopnicka’s early oeuvre
Maria Konopnicka (1842–1910) can be placed somewhere between traditional and liberal Catholicism. This means in practice that she took into account legitimate aspirations of the Church to defend its position. At that time the tsarist authorities sought to eradicate religion from the consciousness of the Polish population and to apply Russophile measures with regard to it. These prompted the writer to adopt a radical approach to the Polish cause. When it comes to the relevance of Konopnicka’s actions at the time, they took the form of strong protests against the restrictions imposed on the Church. She was convinced that only by speaking directly could the effects of the partitioner’s action be alleviated. In this she did not forget about the papacy, being usually critical about it. Her opinion was based on a conviction that the institution was inept and that it falsified religion.
On the opposite extreme stood Catholic modernism, which in many respects shared a romantic perception of faith. Romanticism was in any case a strong characteristic of Konopnicka’s entire oeuvre. Her poetry is imbued with a cult of national poets and deliberate references to their writings.