Stanisław Czycz’s night paths
The article examines the motif of existentialism in Stanisław Czycz’s story entitled And. Focusing on negative categories of human being, like suffering, transitoriness, absurdity and tragedy, Czycz creates figures of two friends who try to protect their authentic existence from the omnipresent emptiness of existence on the one hand, and state collectivism on the other. They become outsiders and fugitive from the reality that surrounds them. They engage in games with themselves and with others, they put on masks in order not to reveal their true intentions. However, And as well as the narrator use this to look for their own authenticity or to protect it from disintegration. The world surrounding the two protagonists is also permeated with an aura of existentialist objectivisation of the other as well as constant being-towards-death. Both protagonists are amazed by life; they sense the tragedy of existence, but also proximity of death. They know that after years of war they should not exist and that the life of an individual in the 20th century matters little. Czycz’s story exposes the absurdity of existence in a world devoid of values.
In the article the author also presents an outline of an existentialist interpretation of a literary text as well as the relations between philosophy and literature. In addition, he points out that the philosophy examined here could and even had to emerge in Polish reality in the late 1950s and the 1960s. Existentialism was not a homogeneous phenomenon occurring only in the Western world, but emerged wherever people lost their values-rooted support and felt emptiness, which can also be seen in the history of this philosophy.