The Last One

Sławomir Mazurek

Andrzej Walicki, the last Polish world-renowned humanist of the 20th century, passed away in August this year. The article offers a concise description of his personality and work, which partly undermines some aspects of his autobiography published in 2010. Walicki, who, like Leszek Kołakowski, was a member of the 56’ generation, also known as the “thaw” generation, became famous, first and foremost, as an expert in Russian thought. His publications, devoted to, among other things, retrospective utopianism and liberalism in the 19th and 20th century Russian philosophy and social thought, were novel on a world scale. Equally novel were his works on the history of Marxism, where he challenged Kołakowski’s standpoint. Moreover, Walicki signifi cantly contributed to research on the history of Polish romantic philosophy, which had previously been overshadowed by great poetry. Walicki is considered to be one of the personalities who, in the 1960s and 70s, the time when Poland was part of the Soviet empire, made Polish humanities flourish. However, no matter how highly one estimates Walicki’s achievements, the impression that humanities were thriving in the communist Poland aft er de-Stalinization is an illusion. The illusion is an eff ect of the crisis in which humanities in Poland found themselves aft er the change of the regime, under neoliberal and populist governments.

DOI: 10.37240/AHFiMS.2020.65.1


Keywords: Walicki • Poland · humanities · Russia · romanticism · communism

Sławomir Mazurek — Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Expert on Russian Philosophy; author of several books about so called Russian religious Renaissance, among others: Wątki katastroficzne w myśli rosyjskiej i polskiej (Catastrophical Currents in Russian and Polish Thought 1917–1950); Utopia i łaska. Idea rewolucji moralnej w rosyjskiej filozofii religijnej (The Utopia and The Grace. Idea of Moral Revolution in the Russian Religious Thought).   »  

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