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’.
This article examines two collections of manuscripts (previously unanalyzed) with poems which make up Leopold Staff’s debut volume The Dreams of Power. The poet offered them as a gift to Maryla Wolska who deposited them in the Michał Pawlikowski Archives at Medyka. With access to the fi rst, nearly complete, collection we can get an insight into the process of selecting poems for the version that was to go to print (1899–1901). As most of the poems are dated, we are able to establish their sequence and reconstruct the changing concept of their selection. Of special value are twelve poems which had been dropped in the process, and for most part remained unpublished. Each of them is presented briefl y in the article. Apart from making this discovery, the article demonstrates that Leopold Staff’s debut volume as we know it had an earlier version with a set of poems, different from the one that was earmarked for publication under that title.
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.
This article examines the relationship of Maryla Wolska with the poets and artists of the Young Poland in Lwów and, more broadly, with the literary community of the early 20th century. She was a leading light of Płanetnicy (The Rainmakers), an informal group of artists who met at her house in Lwów. The role of a friend and mate, someone who was treated equally as a writer, did not sit well, however, with her role as mistress of the house, hostess of a literary salon and representative of a family which occupied a high position in the social hierarchy. To ride on the crest of the wave she strove to combine two strategies, a modern jauntiness and a studious attention to 19th-century proprieties. Although she did well for herself, her success was by no means complete.
The article presents a previously unknown poem by Jalu Kurek, found in the Józef Czechowicz Museum of Literature in Lublin. The youthful poem titled Nostalgia shows Kurek’s breaking away from the spell of futurism and edging towards an avant-garde poetics with a great deal of juxtaposition.
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.
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 looks at Leopold Staff’s translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s volume of poems Fruit-Gathering (1921). A close analysis of the translator’s decisions and miscomprehensions in the Polish text – in confrontation with the French, German and English versions of the original – suggests that he made use of the English translation. The article throws light on the circumstances which led to the introduction of Tagore’s poetry to the Polish audience; reviews the main features of his poetics; and undertakes a comparative reading of the two texts, the original and its Polish rendition. The latter appears to be in many ways beholden to early 20th-century modernist taste, in particular its idealizing aesthetics and a fascination with the exotic Orient.
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.
This article is an attempt to confront the autothematic refl ection in Leopold Staff’s (Ars poetica and The Artist’s Sadness) with two poems, inspired by a somewhat similar approach, by Tymoteusz Karpowicz and Krystyna Miłobędzka. What they seem to have in common are textual signs of welcome with ‘open arms’ and ‘the outstretched hand’. These emblematic gestures invite the reader/the Other to a diffi cult dialogue and at the same time indicate the nature of the authors’ poetic ambition. The analysis of the two pairs of poems is set in the context of the 20th-century evolution of the idea of poetic genius and the poet’s self-awareness. Crucial to this comparative study of the poetic practice of Leopold Staff, Tymoteusz Karpowicz and Krystyna Miłobędzka is an appraisal of the authenticity of their vision and the language they used to express their maximalist ambitions.
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.
This article brings together two authors/two poems and makes them enter into an intertextual dialogue that involves the discourses of the new materialism (Catherine Malabou), postphenomenology (Natalie Depraz and Marc Richir) and Delphic maxims. Concepts like plasticity, transformation masks, alterations in the passage of time (chronos, kairos, aeon), subjectivity, emotional excess, and the living body are used to establish the foundations a poetic conversation, which, for all one knows, may be fortuitous or in a way preordained.
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 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.
This article is an attempt to identify the main themes in the literary work of Zygmunt Haupt, a Polish writer, journalist and painter, who emigrated to the United States in the aftermath of World War II. His writings show a keen awareness of the issue of absence/presence and the related problems of memory traits, identity and literary representation. Drawing on the psychoanalytical criticism of Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva and the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, this reading of Haupt’s fi ction, especially his short stories (whose collected edition was published in 2007 under the title The Basque Devil), is a critical reassessment of his work. As a storyteller he excels in the depiction of scenes of terror, desire and the uncanny. The article argues Haupt’s work represents not only a remarkable literary achievement but also offers an interesting study case for critics whose approach is founded on literary theory, psychoanalysis and anthropology.
This article deals with the rise in the Polish literature of 1970s of a new type of biographical novel, associated with the fi rst post-war generation of writers like Bohdan Zadura, Julian Kornhauser, Adam Zagajewski, Henryk Lothamer, Stanisław Piskor and Donat Kirsch. Their work is subsumed here under the label ‘new fi ction’ primarily because of its literary context, i.e. the late-modern fears and uncertainties culminating in the assumption that literature reached the state of exhaustion. The article argues that the ‘new fi ction’ acquired its distinctive character from a preoccupation with the biographical narrative and a sense of generational identity. The writers who defi ned themselves in these generational terms saw their prospect of following their aspirations and building up authentic lives weighed down by the constricting realities, and, as the article claims, resigned themselves – at best not entirely – to this sad conclusion.