The subject of this article are ”Memoirs of a Kashubian Goblin by Bolesław
Jażdżewski as an epic form of memory and a document of the times.” The narrative forms
of memory concern the author’s memoirs, comprising of three parts that go back to different
periods of historical reality. The first part covers the years 1921–1943, the second – the period
from the author’s inclusion in the ranks of the Wehrmacht, while the third – refers to the postwar
reality of Pomerania and Kashubia after the end of World War II and the construction
of a new system in post-war Poland. The presented article is mainly based on the first part
of the Memoirs of a Kashubian Goblin and the narrative strategies introduced in the course
of reporting about the historical, social, cultural or religious events. B. Jażdżewski primarily
relies on the category of memory, thanks to which the told world carries a heavy load of authenticity.
In the first part of my research statement, I situate the autobiographical work of
Jażdżewski on the map of Kashubian literature, with particular reference to such writers as
Aleksander Majkowski, Jan Karnowski or Anna Łajming. In part two, on the other hand, I
focus on the category of memory and related narrative strategies, which mean that this prose
should be read as a document of the times and a record of history. This work is strongly rooted
in the reality of existence in Kashubia and Pomerania in the interwar period and the first
years of German occupation during World War II, as well as the post-war reality.


The paper examines Uskok poems, especially those dedicated to the Uskoks of Senj,
primarily from the point of view of the relationship between epic poems and history. The
people of Senj worked from 1537 to 1617, fighting as paid soldiers or volunteers on the side
of the Austrian Monarchy, but also going on campaigns on their own, fighting almost to the
same extent with the Turkish invaders and the Christians from the wider region. In contrast
to the relatively short period of eight decades of their historical presence, the people of Senj
have survived in the oral epics in a very wide Balkan area over a long period of time covering
a wide anachronistic field. The paper presents an assumption that the Uskoks of Senj were
a warrior-patriarchal world, one that has created and spread oral epics. There were many
events in their real lives that were themed in the oral epics. In addition, those who jumped
from the mainland to the Austrian territory and settled in Senj probably carried some songs/
poems in their spiritual baggage, primarily those about Hajduks. And they were ready to
create new ones. Thus, the first known records are proof that the early poetic narrative was
suitable for depicting the Uskoks of Senj, and then that it survived in time and space. In
certain interpretations, to which the second part of the work is dedicated, it is shown on the
basis of anthological examples of poems, how the mythical, ritual and the historical intersect
in the poetics of oral epic poetry; how the anachronistic field of a particular poem is formed,
whether it is about gathering "power and dominance" in wedding processions,
about concentrating heroes around certain events, personalities or spaces important for national
history, or about opposing worthy opponents, and how it affects the aesthetic values
and meanings that are shaped in the poems; how different genre features intertwine in such poems (epic and epic-lyric poetry, for example); and form complex and witty, full of twists
novelistic plots. All this contributes to the meaning of the epic story: it seems that the past of
one’s own community is brought into a meaningful, paradigmatic order, which can serve as
a basis for future actions.


The aim of the paper was to provide historical background of the so-called second
battle of Kosovo that has occurred in October 1448, as well as the oral tradition that came
out from the battle. In the battle, Janos Hunyadi (Sibinjanin Janko in the Serbian oral epic
tradition) fought and lost against the Turks at the very same place where prince Lazar had
encountered the same enemy in 1389.
From the historical point of view, the most important facts about this event are the
following: Hunyadi led the army of Hungarians, Czechs, Germans, Poles and other Christians
who had encountered the Ottoman army of Sultan Murat II; the Christians were defeated;
Janko’s nephew Szekely Janos lost his life; and Hunyadi himself escaped.
Later on, Hunyadi became one of the most prominent heroes of the Serbian folk tradition
and epic songs about heroic deeds. Beside him, Janos Szekely, who governed Slavonia and
Croatia also become an epic legend, under the name of Sekula Banović. A part of the tradition
of the battle of Varna, which took place in the year 1444, also came into the tradition of the
Kosovo battle, from which emerged one complex oral memory of the heroic fights against
the Ottoman conquerors. Even though there are a lot historically vague facts, even a lot of
fictional characters, the tradition of Hunyadi’s valiant clashes with the Turks on the field of
Kosovo has remained and survived through different epochs.

BUT, HERE COMES LJUTICA BOGDAN. History and tradition in interpretations of a biography

Among the songs from Vuk’s collections, Ljutica Bogdan is best known as an opponent
of Kralljević Marko. However, multiple lyrical-epic adaptations of international motives
are connected to his name and family relations. In addition, older generations of scholars of
Serbian oral poetry have sought to recognize the historical background from which Bogdan’s
character developed. On this occasion, a review of such approaches was presented. After the
literary-historical synthesis, poems about Ljutica Bogdan were analyzed (older records, Vuk’s
corpus, material printed during the 19th century). The types of characterizations, conditioned
by the poetics of the genre and the archaic layers of the Serbian tradition, which could
give impulses for the construction of this poetic biography, are pointed out in this paper.


The Bulgarian hajduk (rebel) and later Byzantine despot and sebastokrator, the
epic „Duke Momčilo“, is a figure who left a big mark on South Slavic epic singing, among other
things, as a fictional uncle of Marko Kraljević. He is one of the few people who remained
in folklore memory for over six centuries. Biographical elements determined the later singing
about this hero („tall as a minaret“; death at the gates of a closed city), and key details of the
established epic biography undoubtedly determined the range of Momchil՚s domains and his
further appearance in epic patterns, mostly in Bulgaria.


The paper deals with a particular illustrated manuscript of the Tabaqat-i Nasiri
in which scenes of Persian heroes are also depicted and illuminated. Analyzing this
manuscript, but also the codicological tradition of the Prince Baysunghur era and various
other manuscripts, the author raises the question whether in reality the author of these
illustrations had in mind Persian princes when he depicted characters of epic heroes.


Yamato Takeru is one of the most famous Japanese heroes. He has a carefully
chosen name, which connects him with the state of Yamato, the predecessor of todayʼs
Japan. He is characterized by all the features of a mythical hero: courage, strength and
ingenuity, but mythological story includes also fairy-tale motifs such as a miraculous
sword, helpers, disguise, falling in love, and finally, supernatural death due to encounter
with a numinous force. The oldest variants of the myth about this fearless warrior we
can find in the first Japanese historical chronicles (8th century). Adding certain elements
to the common ground and combining them in accordance with their own narrative
aspirations, these texts gave their own recognizable variants of the myth of Yamato Takeru,
which were a clear reflection of the ideology of the time. Regardless of the differences,
these variants describe the achievements of Yamato Takeru as a key turning point, because in that semi-historical time that is also the beginning of national consolidation.
By “calming and subduing” western and eastern countries, he contributed to increasing
the territory under imperial rule and strengthening the authority of the Yamato court. In
the following centuries, new variants of the myth about this hero were created on these
bases. Some are focused on territorial conquests and spreading of the influence of the
imperial government, while the miraculous events related to the Kusanagi sword were
more important to the others. Recently, Yamato Takeru has been used, in the same way
as the other national icons, to create and highlight Japanese national identity, especially
when it came to inspiring the people to selflessly lay down their lives for the country and
the emperor.