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How Was the “Manuscript Found in Saragossa” Lost and Is It Worth Finding?

Exegetical fragments

Michał Otorowski, an outstanding connoisseur and original interpreter of Jan Potocki’s work, takes us for an erudite journey through the life of the author of the mysterious Manuscript Found in Saragossa and through the story of the book’s main character, Alfonse van Worden. The numerous motifs, entangled together in Potocki’s work, find explanation and new connections thanks to the author’s brilliant knowledge of the motifs intertwining in the wordly, mental and spiritual life of Potocki himself. Thus in the book we find: a lecture on, among others, Lurian Kabbalah, freemasons’ symbolics or the traditionalism of De Maistre.

Once again, the author joins into the international discussion around the question of which version of the famous Manuscript should be recognized as the object of the studies proper, standing in opposition to the now prevalent idea of the Professors Francois Rosset and Dominiue Triaire.

„Due to the non-linear construction of The Manuscript Found in Saragossa, everyone willing to venture an attempt at presenting its thought content, has to count with some loops of exposition, whereas speaking about a detail always turns out to be speaking about the whole. However, in the face of the shortage of analytical criticism of those details, one cannot perform such a summaric presentation without identifying and solving many questions. Those issues often require very specialist framework as well as drawing at disciplines to which literature researches usually have no need of referring. In other words, it is hard otherwise to answer the only apparently simple question: what is Jan Potocki’s book about and thus, what it is in general. And exactly for that reason, the hereby publication realizes its monographic aspirations by means of sixteen separate sketches, put in a different sequence than that of the treatise, but all the better reflecting – in the author’s design – the inner dynamics of the subject, without blurring away the inevitably accompanying gaps in continuity.”

The future of the Manuscript – so far permanently suspended – is solved, in a certain degree, right now. Also – and, consequently, first of all – due to the cultural meanings and applications which the piece can only gain from now on.

The book’s publication has been co-financed from the means of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, from the Culture Promotion Found