We talk to Prof. Jerzy Jarzębski from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and the Eastern Europe State University in Przemyśl about Stanisław Lem and the future he foresaw, his cautionary tales and whether he is still an author often misunderstood.
“Isolation would be most unfortunate. We would be doing science in our own company, completely indifferent to what is happening outside our own universe. This would be totally self-destructive and I hope it will never happen,” says Professor Michał Głowiński in an interview with Grzegorz Wołowiec, titled “A Time Unexpected,” a fragment of which is presented below.
Provence has been playing an important role in Russian literature for two hundred years. Numerous Russian artists have visited this French region or settled there for a longer time; enchanted by the beauty of south European nature and mild climate, they depicted it in their poems, stories or travel journals. The list includes, e.g. Semen Nadson, Alexandr Kuprin, Ivan Bunin, Sasha Chyorny, Vladimir Nabokov. Galina Kuznetsova (1900–1976), representative of the first wave of Russian emigration, spent several years in Provence. The poet lived in Grasse on and off from 1927 to 1942. Her stay on the south of France greatly influenced the journal she then wrote (Грасский дневник, 1967), and her only poetry collection published in her lifetime, entitled The Olive Garden (Оливковый сад, 1937). This article covers the Provence threads present in both texts. Kuznetsova depicts in these works the beauty of exotic nature, combining descriptions of landscape with her own emotional states, using solutions characteristic of impressionism.
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.
Crossing borders: between literature and science – Italian culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has offered significant examples of renewal through crossing boundaries between different disciplines. Several writers (Levi, Calvino, Gadda, Sinisgalli, Del Giudice, Giordano, Arpaia, Odifreddi) have overcome the dichotomy between the two cultures that was denounced by Charles Snow in 1959. Sixty years after the famous essay by Snow, the paper will show several examples of connections between literature and science, by using the concept of the “four frontier customs”: “the transit”, “the trespass”, “the alliance”, and “the conflict”.
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.
The 2014/2015 revolution at the Kiev Maidan (and elsewhere in Ukraine) made a wide-ranging impact on the literature. In this paper I analyse diaries devoted to the events of the dignity revolution. I have selected three texts written in three different languages: “ Приватний щоденник ” by Marija Matios (in Ukrainian). “ Дневник Майдана ” by Adrjej Kurkov (in Russian) and “Ogień Majdanu. Dziennik rewolucji 22.11.2013– 22.02.2014” (in Polish). These texts are highly interesting mostly because they allow looking at the Maidan through the eyes of witnesses. Because of that we do not receive mere facts, but a testimony which tells us most about the people involved, represented by the specific author reporting their experiences, impressions, emotions, and thoughts. It is characteristic for the personal document literature that it is positioned somewhere between the events being described and the internal experiences, judgements and preferences of the author. It is shaped by their knowledge, experience, and moral code. These texts often con- centrate on the fates of specific individuals, their behaviours, the reasons and consequences thereof. They differ both in terms of the form and the motivations of the authors. They are all, however, rather unique, because they speak of the events of most recent history which so violently cut through the daily lives of Ukrainian citizens.
This paper intends to present an semantic and cultural analysis of Rabī‛ Jābir’s novel Druzes of Belgrade. Published in 2011, the story deals with a period in Slavic history of the 19th century that parallels the reality of Middle East in the same time. The aim of the contribution is to examine the narrative context of historical events in the hero’s life which are narrated primarily through the juxtaposition of historical facts. Distinctions that are made between the real and the imaginary in the novel are bound to mystify – perhaps even mask – the historical and cultural relationship between Arab and Slavs. The writer is not only involved in producing the story of the mutual Arab – Slavic (co)existence within the Ottoman empire in Lebanon and Balkan as well, but is equally intent on providing the story behind the (hi)story. As a mode of representing reality the analysed literary work isn’ t neutral; it presupposes system of moral values which underlies the Arab Christian hero’s factual statements connected with the powerstructure and power-relations of the Ottoman society the protagonist lives in. Between history and narrative literature exists a relationship of complementarity that can only enrich and deepen reader’s understanding of a given culture and society. The narrative representations of historical facts in the novel Druzes of Belgrade are semantic and philosophical operations and as such can be misrepresentations according to Rabī‛ Jābir’s literary tendency in a specific historical and intellectual setting.
Julius Margolin (1900–1971), a Jewish author of Russian and Polish origins, wrote his famous Russian-language novel A Journey to the Land Zeka in pre-State Israel, one year after his release from a Soviet concentration camp (1946–1947). Having been one of the earliest testimonies about Stalin’s atrocities, this book was published in 1952 in its abridged version, whereas the unabridged version came out only in 2016. While the social and political significance of this book has been repeatedly discussed, its poetical and discursive strategies are understudied. This article makes a few steps in the direction of understanding of Margolin’s book seriocomic style, discourse of fairytale and fantasy, the Palestine-Zionist text, the sea motif and other themes. The analysis unveils the author’s ambitious literary project that hides behind the historical testimony and is intended to strengthen it.
Egyptian writer ʼIhsān ‛Abd al-Quddūs is one of the most prolific contemporary Arab writers and gained great popularity, especially in his country, but also all over the Arab world. The author deals with issues considered by society, including literature, taboos as the relationship between man and woman outside the context of marriage, the description of physical contacts, carnal and passionate love, prostitution, drugs, and the emancipation of women. In his stories he was interested in the feelings of the human being and in his relationship with the society. Al-Quddūs can be regarded as one of the most multifaceted intellectuals in the whole Arab world: in addition to being a writer and journalist of great popularity, he also occupied a prominent place in Egyptian cinema. ʼIhsān ‛Abd al-Quddūs was a provocative artist of great popularity in his time, but little known in the West, because of the scarceness of translated texts. Through the translation and analysis of his works it is possible to open up a wider glimpse into the knowledge of contemporary Arab literature.
Mario Puccini between Italy and Argentina – The Italian writer Mario Puccini travelled to Argentina in 1936 to attend the Pen Club Congress. In the essay, the results of Puccini’s stay in Argentina are studied for the first time in Italy: books, stories, articles, translations, correspondences, unrealized projects. Puccini is confirmed as an important cultural mediator in relations between Italy and the Spanish-speaking nations.
The article integrates the 18th century vampire discourse with problems and approaches of postcolonial studies on the one hand, and with the Galicia research in historical and cultural studies on the other hand. For this purpose, vampirism and postcolonial studies are defined at first, while the change of the vampirism discourse – passing from the revenant image to the one of bloodsucker – is analysed in the next step. Finally it is shown how the vampire’s character and discourse have been adjusted and narratively transformed in 18th-century travel literature on Galicia
On the example of selected works by Oksana Zabuzhko, Volodymyr Lys, and Vasyl Shklar, I discuss the narrations of memory and ways of writing about history in Ukrainian contemporary prose. Historical topics concerning the traumatic experiences of the twentieth century appear in Ukrainian prose along with the regaining of independence and develop after 2000. The authors refer primarily to those issues which in the Soviet era were silenced, erased, censored. An important place in literary narratives of memory is occupied by the threads of OUN-UPA fi ghts, the Ukrainian-Bolshevik war, UNR times, Soviet terror, Great Hunger, the demythologization of World War II is also important, as well as an uncensored description of post-war Soviet reality. In the text, I do not carry out a detailed analysis of selected novels, but only highlight the main problems and ways in which authors write about history.
The officials behind the Soviet onomasticon development campaign chose desktop calendars, a publicly available and widely circulated printed medium, to serve as a vehicle for the propagation of the new revolutionary anthroponomy. The paper looks into the masculine names recommended for general use by Universal Desktop Calendars issued by the State Publishing House in 1924–29. Mimicking the Russian Orthodox Church Calendars, its editors proposed their readers from up to six (in 1924–1926) to three (in 1927–1929) masculine names for each day. Based on a comprehensive analysis of the total body of the existing calendar material, the paper proceeds to classify the proper names by their actual source, including: Orthodox Church calendars, Catholic canons, antique mythology, later world literature and folklore sources, celebrated names of the past, toponyms, the Slavic name corpus, and, of course, ideologized sovietisms. The general picture of the sovietisized name list is accompanied with a description of its five-year dynamics refl ecting annually introduced modifications.
This article takes as its starting point the Greek term μεταξύ, a preposition meaning ‘between’, first turned into a noun in Plato’s Symposium, and in that substantivized form adapted for their own ends by a number of 20th-century philosophers, most notably by Simone Weil. In her Gravity and Grace (French: La Pesanteur et la grâce) she defines le metaxu as in-betweenness, a social and metaphysical category which embraces all that connects and divides (as, for example, a wall that both separates two prisoners and can be used by them to tap messages). In this article Weil’s concept of metaxu is applied to the language and then to various readings of two of Wisława Szymborska’s poems, ‘Funeral’ and ‘Elegiac Calculation’. Pragmalinguistics and semantics, too, play a role in the interpretation of these poems.
The object of our deliberations is structuralism in literary studies, whose beginnings in Poland can be traced back to the thirties of the 20th century. It was developing at two centres at the time: at the Stefan Batory University in Vilnius, around Professor Manfred Kridl, and at the University of Warsaw. Structuralism was reborn in Poland in the sixties and it impacted all of literary studies; its main centres were: the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. Focusing on the analysis of literary systems, it combined them with theory of text and interpretation of individual works, emphasizing their broadly understood linguistic, discursive and rhetorical properties. In the culmination stage of its advancement, it tackled the fundamental problems of our discipline, including those that were only starting to emerge, such as reception of literary works as intended by its structural properties, or intertextuality. Structuralism had (and still has) a strong impact on the entirety of literary studies in Poland. It also became a sphere of reference for researchers of the younger generation, who prefer newer methodological tendencies.
Kazimierz Jaworski contributed to a great extent to popularising Yevhen Malaniuk’s poetry in the interwar period. Most of Jaworski’s translations of Malaniuk’s poems into Polish were published in the years 1933–1937 in the magazine Kamena in Chełm. The poet from Lublin undertook to translate less popular poems, unknown to Polish readers. He opted not to work with the Ukrainian poet’s patriotic works, familiar to Polish literary circles, and chose poems of intimate and existential nature instead. From the two collections which were known in Poland, Earth And Iron (1930) and The Earthly Madonna (1934), he selected poems which in a special way correlate with his own lyrical works from the To a Red And White Mistress (1924) collection. What deserves special attention among Kazimierz Jaworski’s translating techniques is his exceptional diligence in choosing suitable Polish semantic equivalents and in rendering an appropriate rhythm of poems. Most of his translations can be described as adequate. They are not absolute, but they convey the originality of a given work through preserving the form and contents of the translated poem in the most faithful way possible. Jaworski’s translations show his inclination to poetise and dynamise the text. The translator readily uses his own metaphors and expands phrases with emotionally charged elements. Kazimierz Andrzej Jaworski was also a tireless propagator of information concerning the most recent translations of Yevhen Malaniuk’s poetry as well as the publishing activities of one of the most valued representatives of the Ukrainian immigration in Poland.
The debate around the relations between Christians and Jews has recently become one of the discussed issues in the cultural Israeli world. This article examines the references to Christianity and to Jesus in the contemporary Israeli fiction. Through the analysis of some literary works produced by the best-know Israeli writers, we will try to describe the way the authors deal with Christian elements and explore their personal considerations. In particular a great attention will be devoted to Amos Oz’s last novel Judas, published in 2014. The story is based on the life of a young student who is writing a doctoral dissertation on “How Jews see Jesus” but it ends up focusing on the figure of Judas. In revealing the intent of his research the protagonist presents a detailed investigation of the Jewish attitude towards Christians quoting sources from the ancient times until today. Through Oz’s book it is possible to explore the complex relationship between Christians and Jews and offers new starting points for the future debates.
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 great 13th century scholar Yāqūt al-Hamawī, compiled his well-known geographical dictionary – Mucğam al-Buldān – using an incredibly vast corpus of sources that allowed him to describe the lands lying beyond the realm of Islam. The aim of this paper is to identify the sources he used to describe issues dealing with the Slavs or those peoples and areas thought by Arab writers to belong to or be connected with the Slavs. The results shed some light on the state of knowledge of this area among 13th century inhabitants of the caliphate. At the same time, the author’s analysis of the methods employed to compose the material on the Slavs that appears in the Dictionary helped determine the aim and the role of this work in the caliphate.
The Koran became an inspiration to the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799–1837), made obvious in many of his works, such as Imitations of the Koran, The Prophet, and In a Secret Cave. Pushkin studied the translation of the Koran carefully and used many verses of its Surahs in his texts. Many of his contemporary poets and followers were influenced by his poetry, like Ivan Bunin (1870–1953), who continued the traditions of Pushkin. Bunin repeated many thoughts from Koranic discourse and placed them in his poems that were full of faith and spirituality. He wrote many of them at the beginning of the 20th century1, before his emigration to France in 1918, for example: Mohammed in Exile, Guiding Signs and For Treason. It has been noted that Bunin was quoting verses from the Koran to create an intertextual relationships between some Surahs and his poems, showing a great enthusiasm to mystical dimension of Islam. We find this aspect in many works, such as The Night of al-Qadr, Tamjid, Black Stone of the Kaaba, Kawthar, The Day of Reckoning and Secret. It can also be said that a spiritual inspiration and rhetoric of Koran were not only attractive to Pushkin and Bunin, but also to a large group of Russian poets and writers, including Gavrila Derzhavin, Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Tyutchev, Yakov Polonsky, Lukyan Yakubovich, Konstantin Balmont, and others.
Contemporary Arabic literature is slowly approaching a local production of the “fantasy” genre through attempts that can be considered an important starting point for this new genre still being defined in the Arab world. During the last decades the influence exerted by Western countries on the production of this literary genre, that reaches the Arab world around the twentieth century, has been evident mainly through the translations of Western fantasy novels. Among the various genres of fantasy novels which still enjoy international fame and have been translated into Arabic we find: The Lord of the Rings (1954–55) by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien; A Song of Ice and Fire (1996–2005) by Raymond Richard Martin and Harry Potter (1997–2007) by Joanne Kathleen Rowling. The delay in the introduction of the fantasy genre in the Arab countries has begun to be overcome in recent years, in fact many Arab authors have tried to write new fantasy novels. The fantastic tradition of Arab Islamic civilization is also an important part of drawing on the creation of original fantasy works. The study shows a general propensity of the contemporary Arab world to create a local fantasy, in which the Arab authors try to put the accent on the characteristic elements of Middle Eastern culture, though also drawing on the Western fantasy tradition.
The purpose of this article is to establish a frame for arranging and classifying observations relating to the indigenous knowledge and oral traditions of the San people of southern Africa, mainly in Namibia. Oral literature of the San people serve, therefore, as a valuable source for re-constructing and reinforcing a positive collective identity of their history and cultural diversity. Several forms of expression such as folklore, poems, plants' names and personal narratives will be provided.
After the collapse of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan in April 1920, the Azerbaijani intellectual and political elites suffered repressions from the Bolshevik authorities. The most prominent figures had to leave the country fearing for their lives. Among them was the renowned journalist, publicist and head of the Musavat party - Mehemmed Emin Resulzade. Fearing the Bolshevik expansion westwards, Polish authorities strived to weaken and destroy the Soviet Union's integrity. Their goal was to create a "sanitary cordon" of independent states between Poland and Bolshevik Russia. Thanks to the direct financial support from the Polish government, the political emigration from Azerbaijan, Georgia, North Caucasus and other states published their magazines and newspapers. In the second half of the 20th century, there was a political rapprochement between Turkey and the Soviet Union. As a result, the political situation of anti-Soviet emigration worsened. Therefore, the main burden of Azerbaijani emigration, headed by Resulzade, moved over the Vistula. The Polish period was very important for the publishing activities of the whole Azerbaijani emigration, represented by Resulzade. He mainly contributed to anti-Soviet press, tied to the Promethean movement, but not only. The author will present here rarely known Resulzade articles on other topics. The article also presents his book in Polish Azerbaijan in its Fight for Independence.