The concept of city has got broad analytical perspectives, one of them are: the structural perspective, sociological, psychological, political, cultural, industrial and also the pedagogical perspective. In opposition to the concept of city is the concept of countryside, within which the concept of nature is regarded as an idyllic place, it is the place of childhood, the place of longing, it is the lost place that has been starting to go under the knife of time since the 20s of the last century. The apotheosis of the concept of city, that is being practiced by many artists, embracing the symbolics of the concept of city by mass culture and later by popular culture, causes the necessity to take the initiative of conducting the research that would attempt to establish the identity of the concept of city in modern culture. The article attempts to specify how the concept of city functions in popular culture through the analysis of chosen texts in popular music, starting from the 50s of the XX century until the XXI century.
This article is built on the premise that the topos has become a potent unit of cultural memory, an image that stores a wealth of often vague, buried or forgotten ideas. Its contents, like those of literature, tend to become extraordinarily condensed and confl ated; in consequence, some topoi (in particular the Holocaust topos) defy conventional tools of understanding and analysis. A solution to this problem can be found in an approach which broadens the scope of the sources of the Holocaust to include pop culture; gives up the rigid classifi cation of topoi, based on ‘hard’, documentary evidence; and, draws on a conceptual frame that connects the topos with the mechanisms of remembrance. A practical application of this approach is offered here in a series of readings of selected passages from Marcin Pilis’s novel The Meadow of the Dead (Łąka umarłych), Zygmunt Miłoszewski’s crime story A Grain of Truth (Ziarno prawdy), Marcin Wolski’s alternate history novel Wallenrod, Justyna Wydra’s war romance The SS-man and a Jewess (Esesman i Żydówka), Krzysztof Zajas’s thriller Oszpicyn [local Yiddish: Auschwitz] as well as some poems by Jacek Podsiadło from his volume The Breguet Overcoil (Włos Bregueta).