Jan Kochanowski and Dying in the Renaissance – call for papers

This year marks the 440th anniversary of Jan Kochanowski’s death which is an excellent opportunity to make a deeper insight into the existential problems connected with transience and death in the poet’s biography, work, and his world and times. The Regional Museum in Zwoleń, which takes care of the burial chapel of the Kochanowski family, has the honor to invite researchers  to the interdisciplinary academic conference on the experience of death and the awareness of transience in Jan Kochanowski’s works and in his times. The Conference takes place on June 6-7, 2024.

Death dramatically marked the author of Laments: tragic death of his grandfather, the Radom castle court judge, Jan Kochanowski, murdered before the poet was born (1507) but after whom he was named; presumed death of his siblings in childhood (sister Anna and half-brother Stanisław); loss of his father, the Sandomierz Land judge, Piotr (1547), during the poet’s studies in Krakow, and his mother Anna Białaczowska (1557) during his Italian peregrinations; the death of Erazm Kretkowski (1558) associated with Kochanowski’s literary debut, and of the “court period” friends – courtiers and dignitaries immortalized in Trifles (Fraszki); the death of the King of Poland (1572), ending a certain stage of his career; loss of his brother, the Sandomierz Land court penman, Kasper (1576), to whom he owed so much; finally, the death of his beloved daughters, Urszula (1579) and Anna (1580); and the murder of his brother-in-law, Jakub Podlodowski (1583), hastening the death of the poet himself (1584).

The multitude of issues arising from Kochanowski’s contacts with death, joined with the troubled era of Renaissance, invite participants to careful, interdisciplinary re-examination of those seemingly obvious topics. Therefore, we are welcoming submissions dealing with history, art history, literary history, language history, philosophy, musicology, anthropology and theology. We would like to create a platform for exchanging ideas on the topic, to explore new fields of interpretation and set new research possibilities. The order of the proceedings is therefore determined by the themes of suffering, transience, death, commemoration of the dead. We expect especially papers which address the following topics:
– personal and collective experiences of loss, death, suffering in all social strata of the Renaissance Europe and their possible influence on Jan Kochanowski’s personal and literary perception of the phenomena;
– Kochanowski’s inspirations – literary and non-literary – and his influence on contemporary and later funeral culture;
– funeral culture of the 16th century;
– commemorating the dead in the Renaissance culture, Kochanowski’s work, and their mutual connections.

The preferred format of participation is in-person, but the Organizers do not exclude a hybrid format. There is no conference fee, the Organizers provide dinners and two-night stay, but we do not refund the travel costs. The meeting takes place in Zwoleń. Expected presentation time is 20 minutes. Conference languages are Polish and English.

Paper proposals should be submitted by March 15th using the attached form. The academic committee will evaluate the proposals and inform the applicants about the results at the beginning of April. Proposals are to be sent to: muzeum@muzeum.zwolen.pl

The proceedings will be published in 2025.


Organizing committee:

Mariusz Kozdrach Ph.D. (Regional Museum in Zwolen)
Katarzyna Madejska Ph.D. (Regional Museum in Zwolen)

Academic committee:
Prof. Elwira Buszewicz (Jagiellonian University, Cracow)
Prof. Dariusz Chemperek (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin )
Marek Janicki Ass. Prof. (University of Warsaw)
Prof. Waldemar Kowalski (Jan Kochanowski University of Kielce)
Prof. Dariusz Kupisz (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin )
Paweł Madejski, Ass. Prof. (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin )
Prof. Luigi Marinelli (Sapienza University of Rome)
Prof. Dainora Pociūtė-Abukevičienė (Vilnius University)
Prof. Jörg Schulte  (University of Cologne)
Marta Wojtkowska-Maksymik Ass. Prof., (University of Warsaw)