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.
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.
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.
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.
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.