Apeniny we wspomnieniach Anieli Walewskiej
Kilka chwil we Włoszech w latach 1847 i 1848 [A few Moments in Italy in 1847 and 1848], a volume of memoirs published in 1850 and written by Aniela Walewska — a forgotten author of the Romantic era — is a historically, culturally and socially interesting travel account which, in addition to notes devoted to the political situation at the time, also features descriptions of cultural and natural landscapes which Walewska had an opportunity to admire during her Italian voyage. Particularly worthy of note are her reflections concerning mountain landscapes reflecting the author’s romantic sensibility as well as her emotional and aesthetic attitude to new places. Spending a few weeks in the Tuscan resort of Bagni di Lucca, Aniela Walewska had an opportunity to admire the Apennines, which generated admiration and lofty feelings in her and prompted her to engage in existential, philosophical and religious reflection. Using a variety of means of literary expression, the writer sought to convey the varied aspects of the mountains: solemn beauty, picturesque charm, severe and wild appearance. Yet despite her lively interest in the Apennine landscapes, the Polish traveller was preoccupied primarily with the political situation in her distant homeland, which determined her perception of and feeling for the mountains so much that her observations often departed from purely aesthetic evaluation in favour of patriotic associations. However, the descriptions in her memoirs are vivid, full of admiration and rapture, which makes them worthy of being brought back from obscurity and analysed thoroughly. As evidence of individual and feminine way of experiencing the world of nature, they certainly make a valuable contribution to the Romantic travel literature and expand our knowledge of the history of mountain voyages of Polish women in that period.