The article analyzes the symbols, motifs and images in Mieczysław Jastrun’s poetry to reconstruct his vision of childhood within in a broad philosophical and anthropological perspective, drawing in particular on Gaston Bachelard’s idea of “reveries toward childhood” and Mircea Eliade’s discussion of sacred time and space. In many of Jastrun’s poems the evocation of childhood is associated with a pastoral summer landscape; it is not, however, a specifi c summer, an identifi able moment of his life, but an image representing the essence of childhood. It is an evocation of happiness, security, a promise of future wellbeing, an experience of fullness of being or a communion with nature and a transcendent reality. The interpretation of individual poems clearly point to the conclusion that childhood remains for Jastrun a sacrum, an immanent sacred site. It is, however, also a lost childhood, viewed from the perspective of an adult who has been irrevocably expelled from that Arcadia and has to live in a transient world doomed to death. The longing for the idyllic childhood can be found throughout Jastrun’s verse, nowhere as poignant as in his last volume of poems, completed before his death.
This article examines the problem of motherhood in the poetry of Joanna Mueller from the perspective of feminist body studies. Throughout her poetic work Mueller keeps analyzing the formation of a new subject, a process closely connected with the creation, or giving birth, to new poems and reproduction. She dignifi es the experience of motherhood by focusing on the peculiar condition of ‘being two in one’. This is further enhanced by the emblematic arrangement of the individual poems (formed into mounds, folds, the womb, the vagina, and blood vessels) and references to the primeval Mother Goddess. The matrifocal narration exalts the maternal female body to its sovereign position, justifi ed by its power over life; indeed, the combined force of Mueller’s naturalistic description and discursive momentum not only subverts the patriarchal narrative of female passivity and inferiority but in a way sacralizes the feminine principle.
The poetic work of Aleksander Wat has enjoyed unfl agging popularity for the last 25 years. Critical appreciations of his work invariably emphasize a strong connection between his poetic work and some elements of his biography, i.e. detention in NKVD prisons, deportation to Soviet Central Asia, and the pain and stress of an incurable illness in the late fi fties and sixties. This article argues that the key to his verse can be found the concept of somatopoetry which takes into account both the heightened awareness of the body and the sensuality of Wat’s lyrical utterance. More specifi cally, this article attempts to draw an acoustic map of the poet’s verse written between 1957 and 1967, using the tools of f musicology, cultural anthropology of things and audio-anthropology. Drawing on Andrzej Hejmej’s concept of musicality Type 2 (thematization of music in a literary composition), the article tries to trace the presence of instruments in Wat’s work and assess their phonic and cultural roles in the creation of meaning. Finally, the article claims that the phonic layer beneath the references to instruments forms a track that can be described as a route to the poet’s death.
This article argues that the narrative strategy employed by Ryszard Kapuściński in The Emperor can enables the reader to read it as a mythical story. In The Emperor the presence of myth can be detected on two levels, i.e. in the ‘mythical thinking’ of Kapuściński’s informants and in the shape of the highly stylized authorial narration. Myth controls the spatial structure of the story, the characterization of Haile Selassie, the concepts of time, language, and especially the incrustation of the text with elements explaining the unknown by the known.
The beginnings of the study of Polish literary regionalism are usually traced back to the interwar period, and in particular Stefania Skwarczyńska’s Regionalism and the main approaches in the theory of literature, published in 1937. Although this book is believed is be the pioneering work of literary regionalism in Poland, the trail was in fact blazed over fi fty years earlier by Bronisław Chlebowski’s study of the role regional variation in the development of Polish literature. He was inspired by Hippolyte Taine’s concept of milieu and Friedrich Ratzel’s anthropogeography. This article claims that Chlebowski’s theory of territoriality, as it was called by Wacław Borowy, both in its general outlines and in some particulars, is a thought-provoking methodological project and a valuable reference point for current regionalist research. The article also muses over the reasons why Chlebowski’s groundbreaking approach failed to attract followers.
Hugo Kołłątaj’s treatise On dreams, or my refl ections on the reveries of nighttime reveries (1796) is an attempt at analyzing and classifying various dream theories and at analyzing and interpreting his own dreams. He takes the rationalist view of dreams, which, following Aristotle’s naturalistic philosophy, Hippocrates’ humours and the modern mechanistic theories, looks for physiological, medical and mnemic explanations of this phenomenon. The aim of his article is to position Kołłątaj’s treatise, a notable product of the Polish Enlightenment, against the background of all these naturalistic theories as well as to identify the points where he shares their approach and those that are distinctly his own. What makes the comparison more complex is the cross-genre nature of the work: it combines the elements of a philosophical treatise on dreams, a catalogue of ‘curious dreams’ and an autobiographical essay.
This article is concerned with various modes of narrative memory in Travels with Herodotus, considered against the background of Ryszard Kapuściński’s other travelogues. A close examination of the specifi c manifestations of memory in terms of its content and the manner of remembering and presenting a story reveals that each of the key narrative fi gures in Kapuściński’s factual fi ction, i.e. the reporter, the writer, the historiographer, and the traveler, is endowed with a bundle of narrative memory modes (attitudes). These attitudes are distinct and complementary, but they also interlock in a way peculiar to each of the Kapuściński’s character types. Their integrity is also secured by the author’s intention to keep track of ‘Memory [travelling] along the Roadways of the World’.
This article re-examines the life and work of August Antoni Jakubowski, illegitimate son of the Romantic poet Antoni Malczewski. After the November Uprising (1830–1831) Jakubowski was deported from Austria to the Unites States, where he wrote The Remembrances of a Polish Exile, the fi rst book on Polish history, literature and education to be published in America in English. The article discusses ‘Melodie amerykańskie’ [American Melodies], a little known poem which has not yet been the subject of an in-depth literary analysis, as well as a number of hitherto unknown references to Jakubowski in the letters his student Mary Pierce Poor wrote to her parents between 1836 and 1837. The article presents the results of research into primary source material in American collections; the project was funded by a grant from the Kościuszko Foundation.
The article explores the role of musical themes in the work of Kazimierz Wierzyń ski from the perspective of auditive practice in the context of what is known about the poet’s personal tastes and appreciation of the art of sounds and noises. Most attention is paid to Wierzyński’s verse written in exile because there the musical references became more complex than in the prewar and the postwar phases of his poetic career. It was then the musical references began to function as a sign of the poet’s encounter with individual compositions and musical traditions – a record of a direct, personal and touching musical experience – rather than a metaphoric amplifi cation or a rhetorical ornament.
This article is an attempt to assess the role of oral performance in the life and work of Cyprian Norwid. The study covers the whole range of the poet’s cultural practices, i.e. his lectures, recitations, and public readings with the matching introductions and comments, which exemplify Norwid’s idea of the living word (cf. Lectures on Juliusz Słowacki, On Recitation, On the Freedom of Speech), as well as the accounts of those who were in the audience at these events. The analyses show that Norwid was convinced about the exceptional value of the spoken word and importance of the oral aspect of language. He employed it systematically to create the public sphere, to infl uence people, uphold a ‘community of truth’ and open it up onto a metaphysical universe. This interpretation of Norwid’s thought draws on the poet’s own understanding of the word, the ancient Greek oral tradition (Socrates and Plato), the Judeo-Christian ideas of verbal expression and nineteenth-century philosophical and linguistic concepts of orality to present a less known profi le of Norwid, an artist of oral expression in an age of the written and the printed word.
This paper argues that while writing about the works of other authors Bolesław Leśmian made use of the same ironic approach he employed in his own writing. A close analysis of his ironic strategies, which can be found in his reviews, theoretical refl ections, practical criticism and metacritical texts, leads to the conclusion that Leśmian’s irony is a stylistic trope in a literary poetics of dance, an aesthetic category as well as an artistic and existential concept akin to the ‘permanent parabasis’ of the Romantics.
The article examines a symbolic photograph described in A Treatise on Shelling Beans, a novel by Wiesław Myśliwski. In my interpretation the picture, which may have never been taken, is a visual catachresis, a signifi er of war trauma. Its depiction of an encounter between the victim of a pacifi cation and the son of the perpetrator can be treated as a wish projection and discussed from the perspective of two interrelated and complementary approaches – trauma and memory studies and the philosophy of dialogue. In practice, the discussion makes use of Aleida Assman’s ‘strategy of keeping silence’ and the concept of encounter, formulated by Emmanuel Levinas and developed by his Polish follower Józef Tischner.
The article is devoted to probably one of the most important themes in Czesław Miłosz’s poetry: a persistent, untiring effort to express, or at least point to, the poet’s experience of dark epiphanies. They are, in his own words, momentary illuminations bringing to light the ontological core of various horrors of human existence and of nature, red in tooth and claw, as well as the enigmatic presence of metaphysical evil in the laws that make for order in our material world. Some of those epiphanies reveal to the poet his destiny: he is to become a witness of the horrors of the twentieth century. However, not all of those auguries are uniformly grim; there are some that suggest his prospects may well be bright. That ambivalence is refl ected in Miłosz’s own attitude towards those sudden fl ashes of insight and revelation. He certainly does not resolve it in his poetry, where the ambivalence of the epiphanic moments is expressed and concealed by the pronoun ‘it’.
‘The Tatras’ was originally published in the periodical Przegląd Zakopiański in 1902. The poem evokes an apocalyptic landscape dominated by the personifi ed Tatras and an emerging community (a rare example of a collective making an appearance in Miciński’s poetry), whose ways leave little room for optimism. The world, destroyed in a global confl agration, is being harried by a vicious Spectre, whose ravages are highlighted by the poem’s rhythmic structure. In spite of the similarities between it and some of Miciński’s best-known verse from the volume W mroku gwiazd (In the Twilight of the Stars) – i.e. the choice of imagery and colours, the infl uence of expres sionism) – ‘The Tatras’ remains a strikingly odd poem. It is that peculiar quality which may have made one of the less popular of Miciński’s poems.
This is attempt at drawing an audial map of Władysław Reymont’s The Vampire, taking into account all kinds of sound effects that create the atmosphere of horror, complicate the relations between characters and provoke a sense of the uncanny in the reader. One of those devices, whose importance is hard to overestimate, is silence (speechlessness). The article analyzes in detail its use in the novel, which is in many ways indebted to the modernist, neo-romantic poetics of Young Poland.
The main aim of the paper is to urge a correction in Jan Kochanowski’s translation Euripides’s Alcestis (v. 67), edited posthumously by Jan Januszowski in the volume Fragmenta albo pozostałe pisma (1590). In the Greek text (Prologue, l. 67) Apollo prophesizes that a man on the way back from wintry Thrace (Θρῄκης ἐκ τόπων δυσχειμέρων) (the reference to King Eurystheus’ horses enables us to identify him as Heracles) will snatch Alcestis from the hands of Death. In the Polish version of Apollo’s prophesy we fi nd the phrase ‘do zimnej Trąby’ (‘cold Tube’). The philological investigation undertaken in this paper has two goals to achieve. Firstly, it reconstructs the literary tradition of presenting Thrace as a land of severely cold climate (Homer, Livy, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Statius). And secondly, it takes into consideration the meaning of this poetical landscape in Kochanowski’s Latin poetry and proposes the emendation of what must have been a printer’s error.
This article analyzes the poetic imagery of the bilingual, Polish-German, author Piotr (Peter) Lachmann. The key images of his poems bring into focus the problem of keeping up the ties between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Lachmann’s term for this kind of remembrance, made possible by the abundance of pictorial records (photography, fi lm) that transcend the linear axis of time, is ‘sepulchral humanism’. While examining the relations between sacrum and profanum in Lachmann’s verse, the article also notes their contamination by depictions that draw on the aesthetics of disgust and ugliness. Finally, the article discusses the German themes in Lachmann’s poetry and his intellectual bond with Tadeusz Różewicz, a poet and playwright with a better understanding of German culture than most Polish writers of his (post-war) generation.
The article examines the relationship between two types of narration, the autobiographical and the automythographical, and two concepts of time upon which they depend, the linear and the cyclical respectively. The analysis is focused on the use of the strategy of recurrence, i.e. having the same episode from the author’s life recur in various stylistic variants in the course of a single autobiographical story line. The case in point is Artur Sandauer’s Zapiski z martwego miasta (Notes from a Dead City), where iteration is used not to illumine the author’s experience but rather to establish and fi x its irreparable inaccessibility. It seems that the author’s formal games with the conventions of traditional autobiography are connected with problem of Jewish assimilation in Polish society.