FOKA SZUMEJOWY'S JOURNEYS TO THE SOURCE. THE NAVEL OF THE EARTH AS PRESENTED BY STANISŁAW VINCENZ
Continuing Jacek Kolbuszewski’s exegesis of the spatial orders in Stanisław Vincenz’s Na
wysokiej połoninie (On the High Mountain Pastures), the author of the article attempts to recreate the “philosophy of space” as formulated by the Homer of the Hutsuls. He carries out a detailed analysis of two fragments of the Hutsul epic: Maksym the seer’s story of a rock church from Barwinkowy wianek (Periwinkle Wreath) and Foka Szumejowy’s expedition to the navel of the earth described in Zwada (Squabble). In both case inspirations from Dante’s Divine Comedy can be seen primarily in the expansion of space: on the one hand to include the world of the dead and on the other — the universe understood in Platonic terms. Both journeys also have many characteristics testifying to their initiation-related nature. Particularly important in this respect is the expedition undertaken by Foka and his friends to the source of the Cheremosh River deep inside the Palenica Mountain, on top of which Wincenty Pol placed the point where the borders of three countries — Poland, Hungary and Romania — met. Although in the light of modern research such a location of the old border between the three states is wrong, this is precisely where Vincenz places the navel of the earth. It appear as a distant echo of the omphalos stone from Delphi; a mystical place marked by extraordinarily dense symbolism: centre of the world, bringing together the heavenly and the earthly orders, the living and the dead, and annihilating the temporal dimension. The interpretation of the symbolism of Vincenz’s navel of the world is complemented by Klucz (Key), which opens Zwada and in which the author suggests a universal dimension of the history of culture, and, at the same time, mystery-like nature of art, especially literature.