Ludwik Bohdan Grzeniewski (1930–2008) was Polish essayist, poet, critic and novelist. He was born and died in Warsaw, where he spent all his life. Well known as varsavianist, he was also master of literary miniature. It is not a literary genre in the strict sense. “Literary miniature”, coherent artistic statement, as short as possible, combines elements of poem, essay, short narrative and others. Grzeniewski always highly valued precision, he preferred condensed form of expression. I therefore think, that the books of this writer (Igły w stogu siana, “Drobiazgów duch, wspaniały i powietrzny…”, Taniec z mufką and others) deserve attention.
Paul Valéry (1871-1945) was considered in the 1930s one of the greatest French poet and essayist. He was the author of the famous poems: La Jeune Parque (The Young Fate) and Le Cimetiere marin (The Graveyard by the Sea). Many times in different situations he spoke very highly of Poland and Poles. Wednesday, October 28th 1936, Valéry arrived in Warsaw. He delivered two lectures during his brief stay. They met with great interest, they were in the papers, they have been mentioned by Polish writers: Wacław Grubiński, Zofia Nałkowska, Tadeusz Breza. Also, Czesław Miłosz and Ludwik Hieronim Morstin have written about meetings with Paul Valéry. Poet`s visit, although very short, was a significant event in Polish cultural life.
The given article is an analysis of Władysław Wężyk’s Travels to the ancient world taking into consideration the most important problems and components of the 19th century Romantic worldview. Particular attention will be paid to the great Romantic themes such as folklore, art, music, spontaneous literary works and concepts of new humanity. Wężyk’s memoir reveals his openness towards the Other and the understanding of foreign cultures which is by far the most important feature of a Romantic intellectual.
The aim of the article is an attempt to reconstruct a description of the image of Arab World on the basis of selected (yet representative) writings from the second half of the 18th century. In that period, due to the trending Enlightenment orientalism understood as a fascination with the Orient and references made to it in the culture, the Arab world appeared among Polish representatives of the Age of Reason. These trends were expressed in art, customs, literature and – in the form of various concepts and images – in social consciousness. These images differed between each other both in terms of content and form. Some of them aimed to depict the Arab world objectively and extensively, whereas the other, on the contrary, were merely delineations focused on particular elements of the Arab world, depicting only one or a few aspects. Some of them, such as the image of Arabia Felix or utopian reminiscences refer to the tradition and update it. Some of them were created for the time being. Nevertheless, each of them reflects the topics, problems and questions which concerned the minds in Enlightenment Poland. Moreover, relatively high correlation between European archetypes and the image of the Arab world which occurs in the writings of the Polish Enlightenment confirms that Poland belongs to the Old Continent cultural group, which was crucial for the promoters of Polish Enlightenment.
Polish Literary Bibliography shows the documentation material in an annual order records of the texts of Polish authors, also translated into foreign languages and foreign authors translated into Polish. It notes works in the theory of literature and also history of literature, literary life, literary criticism, theater and film. Is a complete theatrical and film bibliography, presents records of radio plays and television theater. In the years 1954–2000 it appeared in annual cycles, including in 38 volumes material from the years 1944/1945–1988. To the volume for 1985, it was subjected to constant censor interventions. Since 1989, it exists as an online database. The creator of PLB was professor Stefan Vrtel-Wierczyński, who has also established in 1948 Department of Current Bibliography in which the bibliography is being developed.
This article examines the relationship of disgust and perversion in Lovetown (Lubiewo bez cenzury) by Michał Witkowski. An overview of the reception of the book reveals that reviewers and critics have focused mainly on Witkowski’s portrayal of the LGBT community, the structure of the novel (dubbed the ‘queer Decameron’), and the textual (meta) creation of the writer’s voice, but it ignored his handling of disgust and perversion. Central to this reading of Lovetown, which draws on Sigmund Freud’s analyses of disgust and perversion, is the observation that the narrator interlards his lingo with neutral, ‘objective’ explanations of the main characters’ deviant behaviours. This glossary, written for the general reader, tends, in effect, to legitimize deviance. An in-depth analysis of the writer’s handling of the categories of the disgusting, the perverse and the sacred leads to the conclusion that Lovetown exemplifies a cathartic-therapeutic narrative in which disgust becomes a tool of self-fulfi llment.
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 questions the consensus view of The Invincible (Niezwyciężony) as one of Lem’s classical sci-fi fictions. The author contends that in this novel the familiar conventions (later rejected in His Master’s Voice) coexist with a structural design characteristic of his late novels. An analysis of two pieces of the world of The Invincible, usually disregarded by the critics because of their sketchiness, i.e. the story of the extinct Lyrans and the account of the ancient biosphere of Regis III, reveals that in either case Lem no longer cares for the realist credentials of his fiction and does not put the two planets on the astronomical map (which is no doubt deliberate choice). Moreover, in contrast to his earlier novels, his outline histories of the two biospheres contain hidden (but nonetheless unmistakable) parallels to the prehistory of the biosphere of the Earth (though he was no believer in evolutionary repeatability). As this article tries to demonstrate the two peripheral facets of the world depicted in the novel are clearly related and subordinated to the central story line (concerned with the ‘necrosphere’ and humanity). This structural dependence as well as the way in which key aspects of the world depicted in the novel seem to illustrate the theses articulated in Lem’s essays justifi es the conclusion that The Invincible should be treated as the first novel of his late phase, represented – on account of its form – by His Master’s Voice.
This article combines a general introduction to the crime fi ction of Walery Przyborowski with a study of the structure of the plot of his novels. The analyses of ten of his novels conclude with a typology of their narrative schemes, shown in the context of certain invariant patterns and the conventions of related literary genres. While the main objective of this study is to outline the structure of crime story and the social issues depicted in Przyborowski’s crime fi ction, it also pays some attention to the ways in which it refl ects his concerns about contemporary life and the condition of Poland under foreign rule. Basically, Przyborowski’s formula is to make use of the staples of the genre – mystery, adventure, romance – and the techniques of the popular novel. Moreover, his novels, like all of the 19th-century crime fi ctions, are clearly indebted to the conventions of the historical novel.
This article takes up Adam Dziadek’s somatic approach to literature to explore the theme of erotic experience in two poems by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, ‘L’amour Cosaque’ and ‘Amore profane’. With the help of inputs from gender studies and the contemporary theories of the subject it has been possible to profi le the ‘I’ of the poems as a deeply fragmented and sexually ambiguous subject, and, upon the evidence of the elusive autobiographical details woven into the text, as a subject suspended in a liminal space, between the real and the fi ctive world. After analyzing the body represented in the text, both perfect and decrepit, as well as traces of the poet’s carnality that interfere with the text and the reader’s sense of his own soma the article arrives at the following conclusion: in Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz’s lyrics the body seems to project its impressions and experiences onto reality, thus blurring the border between the inside and the outside.
The discovery of some hitherto unknown documents relating to Bolesław Leśmian’s family has made it possible to re-read his autobiographical poems as responses to circumstances and events from the poet’s real life. An analysis of his poems in the light of the information supplied by the newly-discovered source shows that they provide a thoroughly accurate record of events as they happened, especially deaths. Not only do the deaths of his mother, father and his siblings hurt him deeply and foreshadow the end of his own life, but also make him feel guilty for not being able to remember them properly: as his memory fails him, they are condemned to a ‘second death’.
In this article Maurycy Mochnacki’s martyrological and messianic declarations in the Preface to the Uprising of the Polish Nation in 1830–1831 are examined in the context of the martyrological discourse in the literature of the Great Emigration. Such an affirmation may appear puzzling given Mochnacki’s rejection of martyrological interpretations of Poland’s history or messianic readings of his political philosophy, let alone his reputation of being radically opposed to Adam Mickiewicz’s idea of the sacrifi cial victimhood of the Polish nation. In this study the ideological and rhetorical aspects of their statements are compared and analysed. There can be little doubt that in the Preface Mochnacki’s phrasing is steeped in patriotic pathos which seems to be at odds with the tone of his other writings. This article claims that it was a tactical move on his part: he chose the familiar martyrological loci merely as a means to enlist the readers’ support for his own pragmatic programme of restoring Poland’s independence. A general conclusion to be drawn from this apparent inconsistency is that already at that stage (The Uprising was published in Paris in 1834) the logosphere of the Great Emigration had become so dominated by the martyrological discourse that Mochnacki could not afford to ignore it.
After moving to Italy in 1856, Teofil Lenartowicz, inspired by the great Italian art and supported by the best Florentine artists of the time Giovanni Dupré and Enrico Pazzi, began studying sculpture. Lenartowicz’s sculptures were always connected with literature: his work shows howone influenced the other. It is no accident that his style as a sculptor has been called ‘poetic’ by the critics. The Polish immigrant was fascinated by the Italian Renaissance, and especially by the art of Lorenzo Ghiberti. At the same time, he never forgot about Polish folklore, which played a significant role in his artistic vision. One of the most impressive examples of this intersection of influences is the bas-relief The Holy Workers, complemented by a poem bearing the same name.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908) enjoys unprecedented popularity in Poland and has played a considerable role in the shaping of modern Polish culture. As many as fourteen different translations of the fi rst volume of the series have been published; moreover, there exists an active Polish fandom of Montgomery’s oeuvre. The authors of this article briefly discuss the cultural and social aspects of this phenomenon which was triggered off in 1911 by Rozalia Bernsteinowa’s Polish translation of Anne of Green Gables. Her translation, still regarded as the canonical text, greatly altered the realities of the original novel. As a result, in Poland Anne of Green Gables has the status of a children’s classic, whereas readers in the English-speaking world have always treated it as an example of the sub-genre of juvenile college (school) girls’ literature. The identity of the Polish translator of L.M. Montgomery’s book remains a mystery, and even the name on the cover may well be pen name (though, at any rate, it strongly suggests that she must have belonged to the Jewish intelligentsia of the early 20th century). What we do know about her for fact is that she was a translator of German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and English literature. Comparing Rozalia Bernsteinowa’s Polish text to its English original has been a subject of many Polish B.A. and M.A. theses. The argument of this article is that her key reference for was not the English text, but that of the fi rst Swedish translation by Karin Jensen named Anne på Grönkulla (1909).
This article presents a comparative analysis of two poems, Stéphane Mallarmé’s ‘Soupir’ (1866) and Wacław Rolicz-Lieder’s ‘To My Sister’s Smile’, published in 1891. ‘Soupir’ is one of Mallarmé’s early poems, yet in many respects, as this analysis demonstrates, looks forward to the French poet’s mature phase and foreshadows the poetics of Wacław Rolicz-Lieder. Chief among the similarities are the autothematic focus and the intent to convey feelings of emptiness and longing for an ideal in poems refined to the point of préciosité. However, for all their preoccupation with the craft of poetry, either poet believed that inspiration was absolutely vital for creativity. This article argues that Mallarmé’s poetics, especially his ideas of inspiration and originality, was taken over by Wacław Rolicz-Lieder, who adapted it to suit his own poetic project.
This article focuses on paralogical figures (amphibology, equivocation, hypallage and syllepsis) in the poems of Jan Zych. Paralogicisms are phrases in which the combination of logical and syntactical form produces an irresolvable semantic conundrum. The article is divided into three parts, each dealing with one aspect of Zych’s handling of the opposition of distance and proximity: air metaphors expressive of the channel of poetic speech; communication by post (letters); and images of the labyrinth. The paralogical figures are discussed in terms of their function as textual building-blocks, a mark of the author’s subjectivity, and an invitation for performative reading. In this way, Zych’s poems, in particular Labirynty (The Labyrinths) are reconstituted as literary performances, analogous to the labyrinthine prose of J. L. Borges and Octavio Paz.
Whereas Wincenty Pol’s topographical verse has usually been viewed as an expression of a ‘sentimental geography’, this article proposes a new reading of a well-known poem A Song about Our Land by Wincenty Pol in terms of ‘imagined geography’, a key term of an approach inspired by geopoetics and postcolonial studies. ‘Imagined geography’ refers to a poetic map, i.e. travelogue laced with motifs from the repository of national heritage. Its images, reshaped by the writer’s imagination, form an ideologically charged whole in which an emotive sense of place or scenery (‘touching the heart’) uncovers a complex cultural stratigraphy of the ‘imagined geography’. In the light of this approach, based on the insights of geopoetics, Wincenty Pol’s poem can be treated as textual representation of a map of the real and the symbolic territory of Poland.
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 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.
The ten years Stanisław Pigoń spent in Wilno (1921-1931) was a very important phase of his life. Wilno not only attracted a great deal of his research but also became the focus of a lasting emotional attachment, a sentiment which he reaffirmed in a memoir published shortly before his death in 1968. Although a lot is already known about Pigoń’s Wilno decade, there are some episodes that are worth a closer examination. One of them is a debate about Konrad’s cell which he triggered off just before leaving Wilno. The controversy concerns a cell in the former Basylian Monastery where Adam Mickiewicz was imprisoned in 1823 and where Konrad, the main character of his Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve) undergoes a spiritual transformation, the climax of the poetic drama. Pigoń contributions to this interminable debate exhibit a fine balance of scholarly precision and passionate conviction. This article not only looks at the origin and the early phases of the Konrad’s cell controversy in their contemporary background but also tries to show Pigoń’s involvement in the life of the university and the cultural and literary life of Wilno.
The article examines the relationship between the lyrics and prose of Mieczysław Romanowski, the most talented poet of the last generation of the Romantics, and the work of other contributors of the weekly magazine Dziennik Literacki, published in Lwów between 1852 and 1870. Although their concerns and poetics have a lot in common, the high tone of Romanowski’s patriotic art is distinctly his own. In this article the analysis of his poetry is complemented by an examination of his essays and other writings which contain his views on contemporary social issues.
The article analizes Stanisław Pigoń’s essay ‘Some Golden Thoughts on the Chair of Polish Literature’ written to commemorate the 600th jubilee of the Jagiellonian University. Stanisław Pigoń (1885-1968), Distinguished Profesor of Polish Literature, had it published in the Cracow weekly Życie Literackie in May 1964; its expanded version was published two years later in a volume of essays Drzewiej i wczoraj [In the Old Days and Yesterday] in 1966. Both versions were published again in a a bibliophile volume in December 2018 (the manuscript and the printed versions). At the heart of Pigoń’s essay are the twin ideas of freedom and the ‘spiritual life of the nation’, borrowed from Juliusz Słowacki’s epic poem The Spirit King. The article examines Pigoń’s key theme and the manner in which, as he saw it, it shaped the lectures of the most eminent professors of Polish literature in the 19th and 20th century (Michał Wiszniewski, Karol Mecherzyński, Stanisław Tarnowski, Ignacy Chrzanowski). Pigoń’s survey ends in 1910, but, as the author of the article observes, by that time the ideas he so strongly believed in were as relevant as ever.
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.
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.
The problem of Hungarian identity is one of the themes of Stanisław Vincenz’s essays written at the time of the Second World War. Inspired by Wincenty Pol’s thinking about relationship between the sense of geographical place and literature, he decided to explore the ‘general impact of landscape’ and in particular identify the place that would convey the essence of ‘Hungarianness’. The article looks at various aspects of this problem in Vincenz’s essay ‘Landscape – the background of history’ in the context of his other essays in which the idea of place is discussed. In effect, the article lays down a theoretical formula of indeterminate spots in modern literature. The indeterminate spot possesses six constitutive features: changeability and transmutability; fuzzy borders; shifty positioning between utopia and atopia; great semantic potential; the experience of place is involved in irreducible inconsistencies but rests on a solid ideological foundation.