“Despite such great virtues of our sex, we rule the world but we are ruled by women.” The male and female points of view in Enlightenment poetry
The article, the title of which includes Ignacy Krasicki’s aphorism “Despite such great virtues of our sex, we rule the world but we are ruled by women.”, deals with a different — from the one assumed by the traditional Enlightenment poetics — view on poetry, seen not only from the male, but also from the female point of view. As part of apreliminary investigation of Enlightenment writings from agender perspective, the author discusses two poems presenting very different views on literary oeuvres of women.
The analysed texts constitute acontribution to the discussion about the place of women’s poetry in the deeply patriarchal society of eighteenth-century Poland. Anna Chreptowicz’s piece shows that awoman, in addition to being a wife and amother — an image firmly rooted in the Church and society — is also capable of writing poetry. She also stands up to the patriarchal moral system of her time, asystem that favoured male superiority and domination, as is expressed in the piece by her opponent in the discussion, Andrzej Chreptowicz.
Both eighteenth-century texts presented here demonstrate that in such apatriarchal society, in which writers were predominantly men, there was nevertheless room for poetry written by women, who sought to the change the perception of the world, hitherto seen only from the perspective of patriarchal domination. Anna Chreptowicz’s poem is one of the first attempts in Poland to oppose such patriarchal views.