The popularity of spiritism at the time of Prus was closely related to the notion of scientific and empirical approach to knowledge. For the writer, it was an attempt to reconcile the material and the spiritual.
For Prus and other positivists, scientific cognition was the most important category in our knowledge about the world. At the same time, they did not automatically reject religion and existing morality. The clash between science and religion is a central motif in Prus’s works.
Erected in the days of Prus, the building of today’s Zachęta National Art Gallery (in the nineteenth-century, Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych; Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts) held the most important exhibitions of Polish art, which were critically reported and commented on by the writer.