Jerzy Stempowski i Lew Szestow – egzystencjalizm spowity wschodnią melancholią. Krótka historia przyjaźni


  • Adriana Zimnowoda



Russian existentialism, French existentialism, Mihajlo Mihajlov, Albert Camus, Fiodor Dostoevsky, reason, irrationality, absurd, the tragic, pessimism


Jerzy Stempowski and Lev Shestov — existentialism imbued with eastern melancholy. A short history of a friendship: The main objective of this article is to present the friendship between Jerzy Stempowski — Polish writer, essayist and Lev Shestov — Russian writer and philosopher. The article consist of three parts an and short conclusion. In the first part I focus on Stempowski’s predilections for Eastern Europe, and I also explore Stempowski’s complicated, though clearly evident, relation with existentialism. It is in this context that I show both Stempowski’s close affinity with Shestov philosophy, and his evident antipathy to French existentialism. In the second part I attempt to answer the following question: why did Stempowski have such a strong aversion to Albert Camus’ work. In this part of my essay I briefly refer to a Serbian writer and dissident — Mihajlo Mihajlov. In the third part I explore Stempowski’s friendship with Shestov and I also sketch the ideological horizon they both shared. Moreover, I mention Shestov’s presentations at the philosophical conferences in Kraków and Berlin as well as his meeting with Edmund Husserl in Amsterdam. In the short conclusion to my article I suggest that Stempowski’s existentialism is an individual, original project even if his existentialism draws upon most of the major themes in philosophical treatises and literature of existentialism. His “existential project” is based on: 1. reason which rationally orders reality, 2. sympathy towards antirational and prophetic philosophy of Russian thinkers which he analyses from the positions of a professed atheist and 3. deeply-rooted humanistic values.