Andrzej Ciolkosz once argued at length that the replacement of candles and oil lamps by electricity inflicted a mortal blow on the novel. As usual, this charming and brilliant young man’s reasoning was seemingly facetious, with that contrary grin of his, but actually terribly serious. The light of a candle or an oil lamp cast a different, enigmatic dimension on the way in which a novelist looked at people; it sited the understanding of human destiny on the fragile border between the seen and the unseen, between the graspable and the ungraspable. The incandescent bulb dispelled the dark and created a flat and shallow illusion of clarity.
- Gustaw Herling