Issue 1/2013

Pamiętnik Literacki 1 / 2013

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Leśmian’s Great Improvisations. Scene II from the Dresden “Forefathers’ Eve” and Vision of Literature, Man and God in the Poetry of the Author of “Napój Cienisty” (“Shadowy Drink”)

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The article pays attention to one of the most important sources of Leśmian’s poetic imagination, namely Adam Mickiewicz’s The Great Improvisation. From the time of composing his earliest pieces, such as Sonet II (Sonnet II) to the great poems closing the collection Napój cienisty (Shadowy Drink), Leśmian derived from it images, metaphors and paraphrased Mickiewicz’s “winged words,” making Konrad’s grand monologue one of the most important context of his literary creativity. Each of the four chapters with quotes from The Great Improvisation used as titles concentrates on a different aspects of Leśmian’s creative reading of the most famous scene from ForefathersEve Part III. In the first chapter „Pieśni ma, tyś jest gwiazdą za granicą świata!” (“My song, you are a star beyond the confines of the world”) the author points at the relationships between Leśmian’s poetry and the romantic conception of internal song. In the second one “Lecz jestem człowiek, i tam, na ziemi me ciało” (“But I am a man and there on Earth is my flesh”) he shows how insightful as regards the point of view of Konrad – an immature character and childish in his desire to speak with the Creator – is Leśmian’s reading of The Great Improvisation. The two final chapters “Śmiało, śmiało! tę iskrę rozniećmy, rozpalmy” (“Go ahead and strike the spark”) and “Jeślim nie zgadł, odpowiedz” (“If I am wrong, respond”), the most thorough ones, are devoted to an interpretation of the poem W locie (Flying) and the poem Eliasz (Elias) in both of which, yet again, in Leśmian’s creativity a hugely important role is played by the rule of “self-creation” and “self-destruction.”

Describing Amateur Short Film Making. “Eulalia” as an Ekphrasis of the Short Movie “Napad na stacji” (“Assault at the Station”)

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The text attempts at an interpretation of Miron Białoszewski’s prose Eulalia. The title heroine is a doll, a mannequin, which Białoszewski’s friend Adriana Buraczewska made of paper mass and colourfull pieces of cloth. Eulalia appears in Białoszewski’s few movies, i.e. short silent films produced in Białoszewski’s flat in Warsaw district of Żoliborz. The story in question is the only one in Ada and Roman Klewin’s creativity, which the poet exclusively devoted to filming.

Starting from the meaning of the heroine (“Eulalia” is the one who is distinguished as having the values of a speaker), the author tries to prove that the piece is an ekphrasis of a silent movie. Exploring the rich ekphrasis-researching tools, the author choose the approach proposed by Jan Elsner. It allows for an examination of the relationship between the word and the picture as well as adds the problems of movie and look into its considerations.

Peculiarity of Poetic and Essayistic Photography Ekphrasis in Polish Literature at the Turn of 20th and 21st Century

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Analysing numerous examples of essayistic and poetic descriptions of photographs, the author proposes a specyfic method of defining a literary ekphrasis of photgraphs which accounts not only for the problem of intermedial translation but also focuses on the rhetorical strategies which attempt to “revive” the recorded scenes and to maintain the contact with the portrayed person. The photograph in this view proves to be the medium commonly accepted in that it gives a faithful presentation of reality which activates various description strategies, including those derived from ancient concept of ekphrasis.

Presently Unreal. Apophatic Representation as Agon as Exemplified by Magdalena Tulli’s Prose

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The paper raises the issues connected with the fight for preserving life in language and for a creative language from the perspective of agonic theory of Harold Bloom’s “anxiety of influence” and Jacques Lacan’s conception of the real. As exemplified by Magdalena Tulli’s prose the author proves that the negative (apophatic) attempt at representation in that non-mimetic model of writing breaks the deadlock of Lacanian trap in the reality concealing structure and the lack of it – object petit a through its disclosing.

Tulli continuously attempts at presentation which cannot be completed as it exists in the texts in an incredible way and requires reiterating the act of creation. She builds the world which is being created, incomplete, insufficient and at every moment open to collapse. It is the world in which attempts at representation fail in order to open space for following representations.

The world, though hardly accessible, exists and existed. Language is not only an instrument of description but also, and first and foremost, an instrument of creation set facing the reality. Tulli recalls literary reality in the act of speaking, builds narration devised for the world from language, clusters of words, and figurations of tropoi.

Negatives of Positives or on the Writers’ Photographs

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The article refers to a peculiar type of writer’s iconography, namely photographs present on the book covers. The photograph, similar to signature, is a sign of affinity and yet a dissentient voice against those literary critical projects which accentuate breaking the ties between the author and the text. Such antitheoretical dimension of writer’s photographs is connected to the numerous meanings and senses credited to them. A writer’s photograph is thus not only a document with identification function but also a space of creation and autocreation as well, a medium with the help of which the writer (or his/her publisher) attempts at an oftentimes sophisticated play with its reader. In this context a story about the metamorphoses of the writers’ representations is also a story about the place and significance of literature in a given society.

A History of a Drama. Bolesław Leśmian’s “Barbarousness of Posthumous Customs” – a Philological Aspect

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The article refers to Bolesław Leśmian’s manuscripts which in 1944 the poet’s wife and daughter took away from Poland. Following a long peregrination, the materials were found in the collection of Harry Ransom Center in Austin (USA). Attempts to raise the Polish authorities interest in them failed, and thus the manuscripts stayed abroad and have for many years lacked scientific research. The author of the text focuses on the benefits of a philological analysis of the survived manuscripts, which reveals not only the way Leśmian perfected his texts but also their shape being the closest to the author’s intention.

Konwicki Reading Wojtyła. On an Unfulfilled Screenplay Based on “Brat Naszego Boga” (“Our God’s Brother”)

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The subject of the article is an unknown to date Tadeusz Konwicki’s screenplay based on the drama by Karol Wojtyła. The unfulfilled screenplay (the movie was to have been directed by Andrzej Wajda) is a story about young Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II, who at a night under occupation in 1945 takes part in a secret theatre rehearsal that prepares for staging his play. Wojtyła plays the title character, Adam Chmielowski, a historical painter, who at the end of 19th century chose to enter a monastery and as brother Albert (the future patron saint) dedicated himself to organizing help to the poorest. The trauma after the 1863 Insurrection implied in the screenplay as a source of Adam’s stance is also Konwicki’s suggestion on the source of Wojtyła’s stance. Konwicki sees in Wojtyła’s priestly way leading to pontificate a response to the evil of war world.


Maria Renata Mayenowa on Stanisław Wyspiański’s “Wesele” (“The Wedding”)

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The article is devoted to a presentation of so far unknown to a wider public of Polish scholars doctoral dissertation „Wesele” Stanisława Wyspiańskiego. Problemy kompozycji (Stanisław Wyspiański’s „The Wedding.” Problems of Composition) by Maria Renata Mayenowa. The dissertation, typewritten to date, was composed under supervision of Manfred Kridl in 1932 at Stephen Batory Vilnius University. The author of the article sets the dissertation against the then dominating methodological tendencies, and points out both original and derivative features of Mayenowa’s interpretation.

Leśmian – a Dualistic Poet
Review: Barbara Stelmaszczyk, „Istnieć w dwoistym świecie... Model człowieka i obrazy Boga w poezji Bolesława Leśmiana”. Łódź 2009

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The texts is a revision of Barbara Stelmaszczyk’s book. It sets the book under revision in the context of Leśmian’s literary creativity state of research and shows the cognitive values of the book’s proposal of Leśmian’s interpretation which unites his work’s internal contradictions. In the suggested view, the doubles and dualisms present in his poetry, which are often the source of different interpretations, make up the specificity of one of the most oryginal Polish poets of the crossroads of two great cultural formations.


A Century with Leśmian
Review: Małgorzata Gorczyńska, Miejsca Leśmiana. Studium topiki krytycznoliterackiej. Kraków 2011

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The review of Małgorzata Gorczyńska’s book focuses on three main keystones, namely metacriticism, a resiliently developing field of literary studies, disclosing Leśmian, utilising the literary critical topoi in critical commentaries on the author of Dziejba leśna (Forest Happenings), and the revival of nationalistic and anti-Semitic language in the modern critical discourse. The reviewer highly prizes Gorczyńska’s work and sees it as a perfect combination of research workshop and careful scrutiny of thorough material with resort to the newest methodological and theoretical achievements of Polish and world literary studies.

How Much Song in Poetry...
Review: Piotr Łuszczykiewicz, Piosenka w poezji pokolenia ery transformacji. Poznań 2009

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The text discusses Piotr Łuszczykiewicz’s book on the research in the relationships between popular song in the poems by Polish poets who made their debuts at the turn of 1980s and 1990s last century. The author reflects upon the reasons of the considerable growth of such references, discusses numerous examples and tries to diagnose what out of those references makes up a persistent achievement of the transformation era generation.

From October To December. (On Konrad Rokicki’s Book)
Review: Konrad Rokicki, Literaci. Relacje między literatami a władzami PRL w latach 1956–1970. Warszawa 2011

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The subject of Konrad Rokicki’s book are relationships between the communist authorities under the rule of Władysław Gomułka (1956–1970) and the literary community. The author, considering rich archive materials, shows both the various pressures of the regime aiming at enslaving literature as the writers’ resistance and the shaping of opposition movement. Konrad Rokicki is a historian, yet his book proves to be of great significance to Polish literature scholars and researchers in the literary activity of that time.

Humanism. Ideas, Trends and Paradigms in Polish Culture
Rec. serii „Humanizm. Idee, nurty i paradygmaty humanistyczne w kulturze polskiej” pod red. A. Nowickiej-Jeżowej, seria 11 monografii pt. Syntezy, seria edycji krytycznych Inedita oraz seria Polonica. Warszawa 2008–2011

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The purpose of the text is to characterise the project Humanizm. Idee, nurty i paradygmaty humanistyczne w kulturze polskiej (Humanism. Ideas, Trends and Paradigms in Polish Culture) carried out in the years 2007–2011 under supervision of Professor Alina Nowicka-Jeżowa. Most outstanding Polish scholars contributed to the project in question, which resulted in three series of publications issued by Neriton Publishing House from 2008 to 2011, namely a series of 11 monographs entitled “Syntezy” (“Syntheses”) edited by the project’s supervisor, a series of critical editions “Inedita” (“Unpublished Papers”) edited by Roman Mazurkiewicz, and a series “Polonica” (“Publications Referring to Polish Affairs”) supervised by Dariusz Chemperek. Next, the paper presents the most crucial ideological assumptions set forth by Nowicka-Jeżowa in the article Nurty humanistyczne w kulturze polskiej. Perspektywy historii idei (Humanistic Trends in Polish Culture. Perspectives in the History of Ideas) from the first volume of “Syntheses” entitled Humanitas. Projekty antropologii humanistycznej (Humanitas. Projects of Humanistic Anthropology) (part one: Paradygmaty – tradycje – profile historyczne. Warszawa 2009–2010 <Paradigms – traditions – historical profiles. Warsaw 2009–2010>). The author of the text develops most crucial issues of this project, such as dignity and value of human being, its creative activity, pointing at the same time at Middle Ages as at the epoch from which such reflection was not absent.

Comments on the Publication “Humanizm. Idee, nurty i paradygmaty humanistyczne w kulturze polskiej” (“Humanism. Humanities Ideas, Trends and Paradigms in Polish Culture”
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