This paper discusses Polish and Russian prose of the post-war era. Parabolic strategies, employed in Andrzejewski’s The Inquisitors (1957) and Szczypiorski’s Mass for Arras (1971), enabled their authors to examine recent Polish history under the guise of representing the medieval Inquisition’s persecution of heretics. Herbert’s essays on medieval topics in Barbarian in the Garden (1962) present a more systemic and universalising view of repressive apparatuses. These contrast with the Stalinist exposition of Russian history in terms of Moscow’s subjugation of Novgorod at the end of the 15th century [Iazvitskii’s Ivan III (1946-1951)], and Balashov’s more nuanced take in the 1970s-80s.
Petrus Zwicker, a Celestinian monk, was an inquisitor designated by the Pope to eliminate the Waldenses from Austria, Eastern Germany, and Hungary. His treatise entitled Contra Waldenses (or Cum dormirent homines), written in 1395 spread all over Europe and played an important role in a struggle against heresy. In my paper, I focus on the rhetorical aspects of the above-mentioned text and compare them to the work of an ancient Christian apologist, Tertullian. Both tracts were published with an aim to disgrace the heretics. The means used to achieve the intended goal were, however, different.