This article looks at Professor Stanisław Jaworski’s contribution to the development of textual criticism in Poland. It was his book I write, therefore I am that offered Polish readers a comprehensive and erudite introduction to French genetic and textual criticism. Published in 1993, it set this enormously important critical movement in the broader perspective of cultural and literary anthropology. The second part of the article examines the impact of this book on Polish studies into the processes of text creation and the ‘avant-textes’. The third, final part surveys the late Professor Jaworski’s role in organizing conferences and stimulating debate on all aspects of genetic criticism.
This article looks at the key themes of Stanisław Jaworski’s memoir Którędy [Which way], published in 2018. They are embedded in a highly personal (autobiographical) idea of poetry with its recurrent motifs of return to childhood, the experience of loss of a beloved person and multifarious refl ections on the experience and poetics of oneirism.
This article contains a bilingual, Latin-Polish, edition of a letter written by Erasmus to John Sixtin (Ioannes Sixtinus), a Frisian student he met in England. In it Erasmus describes a dinner party at Oxford to which he was invited as an acclaimed poet. In the presence of John Colet, leader of English humanists, table talk turned into learned conversation. Erasmus’s contribution to the debate was an improvised fable (fabula) about Cain who, in order to become farmer, persuades the angel guarding Paradise to bring him some seeds from the Garden of Eden. His speech, a showpiece of rhetorical artfulness disguising a string of lies and spurious argument, is so effective that the angel decides to steal the seeds and thus betray God’s trust. Seen in the context of contemporary surge of interest in the art of rhetoric, Erasmus’ apocryphal spoof is an eloquent demonstration of the heuristic value of mythopoeia and the irresistible power of rhetoric.
This article deals with Janusz Makarczyk’s bestselling historical romance Jafar of Baghdad, first published in 1950. Makarczyk had a varied career as a journalist, travel writer of the ‘globtrotter school’, military officer, diplomat and academic; his deep involvement with the Middle East and Arab history began in the 1926 when he was sent to the Polish consulate in Jerusalem. The life of Jafar ibn Yahya provided him not only with enough material for a gripping story of love and romance but also a pretext for painting a broad canvas of historical events and personages. Addressed to younger readers, the book is didactic in the sense that it offers them basic information about Islam (e.g. the division between the sunni and the shia) as well as lots of facts about the Arab world at the peak of the Abbasid Age (e.g. Harun al-Rashid and the struggle for his succession; rise and fall of the powerful Barmakid family, Harun al-Rashid’s half-sister Abassa; the great Islamic jurists Malik ibn Anas, Muhammad al-Shaybani and Al-Shafi ‘i; an assortment of poets and scholars, including the translator Ibn al-Muqaffa). In addition to countless allusions to the Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, the narrative is encrusted with explicit and covert quotes from the Qur’an, Arabic adages and proverbs (32), the poems of Abu-l-’Atahiya and Abu Nuwas. The writer is aware that the allusions and learned references need to be contextualized in a way that is functional and that their incorporation into the main text must be handled with maximum flexibility. The great popularity of Jafar of Baghdad in its time can be taken as proof that Makarczyk did succeed in bringing the two functions of his novel, the cognitive and the aesthetic – to instruct and to please – into a harmonious whole.
This article looks at a character of Jakub Frank, the 18th-century Jewish Messianic leader, in Andrzej Żuławski’s book of idiosyncratic essays Moliwda (published in 1994). Żuławski, a controversial fi lm-maker and writer, whose historic musings are usually focused on an individual who embodies the spirit of the age in this case turns his attention to Jakub Frank. Moliwda is typical of the early phase of Żuławski’s writing career characterized by a radically revisionist explorations of the Age of the Enlightenment in search for parallels with the modern age and his own life. Jakub Frank is presented as a trickster, religious charlatan, political fraudster and fateful ancestor of 20th-century tyrants, but at the same time as a rebel against the idea of God and history enshrined in the Judaic tradition. The article views Żuławski’s interpretation as an attempt to appropriate certain elements of the history of religion to create an authoritarian vision of modernity and its historical roots, based on mechanisms of self-aggrandizement, sexualization of power and subversion of all hierarchies.
Czarny Paryż [The Back Paris] is a crime novel written by Jolanta Fuchsówna, journalist and writer, and Jan Brzękowski, leading poet of the Cracow Avant-garde who lived in Paris, and serialized in the Cracow daily Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny in 1932, but not published as a book. In this article two typescripts of the novel are analyzed and compared with the printed text, taking note of all the corrections and amendments introduced by the authors. An integral supplement to this textual study is an extract from Chapter XIII ‘A Party in the Studio of the Japanese Man’ reproduced in two versions, 1) with footnotes and modernized spelling, and 2) the original text from the typescript with all annotations.
This article analyses the transformative influence of Marcel Proust’s fiction on early works of Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (1925–1927) in the light of the short story Nowa miłość [A New Love]. The article argues – on the basis of a reconstruction of the order in which Iwaszkiewicz read the volumes of In Search of Lost Time – that the date of its composition has be to revised and proceeds to explore the affinity between the two writers. The analyses, which draw on Harold Bloom’s infl uence theory, compare and contrast their handling of scenes and narratives, relations of analogy and visions of love. The article claims that Iwaszkiewicz was keen to enter into dialogue with the French author and adopted some of Proust’s techniques, yet without compromising his own creative autonomy. In the course of that dialogue he developed a notion of Proust’s literary art which, it is argued, provides the key to the interpretation of homoeroticism and narcissism in Nowa miłość.
This article presents a profi le of Stanisław Jaworski as a literary scholar with a life-long involvement in avant-garde literature. He defi nes the avant-garde as a mosaic of diverse trends with no common aesthetic or ideological denominator and, at the same time, as a transcultural network of artists apparently unrelated artists. Focusing on his major studies (Foundations of the Avant-garde, Tadeusz Peiper: Writer and Theoretician, Between the Avant-garde and Surrealism, and The Avant-garde) the article reconstructs Jaworski’s insights and theoretical constructs in the context of contemporary network studies and reassesses his commitment to both history and theory of literature.