Verrader of patriot? Stanisław August Poniatowski en zijn beeldvorming in de Europese context
Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland, was forced to abdicate in 1795. In the literature of those times his image is very ambiguous. In my article this ambiguity is very evident. For some (mostly Dutch) authors Poniatowski is a disloyal person, who betrayed Poland and caused the final partition of the Kingdom of Poland. For others he remains a man of enlightenment, who tried to develop Poland and its culture, but still was dependent on the dominant political strengths as Russia or Prussia. For some reasons Poniatowski is one of the most interesting persons for the European literature at that time. The literary image of Poniatowski reflects a tragedy of Poland with its moral weakness, chaos and political dependence. This makes him an literary allegory, which can explain the growing popularity of this individual in the Dutch and European literature of the 18th century.