According to Nature but against the Law
Some Remarks on Bruno Schulz’s “Traktat o manekinach” (“Treatise on Tailors’ Dummies”)

The article is an interpretation of a story from the volume Sklepy cynamonowe (The Cinnamon Shops). An analysis of the conflict between the matriarchal and the patriarchal order is the context of this reading. Such conflict of sexes as sketched by Johann Jakob Bachofen is also present in Schulz’s prose, and in Traktat o manekinach (Treatise on Tailors’ Dummies) the father presents an equivocal apology of Great Feminity, whereas the entire argument of Jakub can be expressed in a form of an erotic game in which the inspired heresiarch plays the role of the seducer.

Religious Motives in Bruno Schulz's Literary Creativity
State of the Art and Research Perspectives

The article analyses the individual research views on the religious themes in Bruno Schulz’s literary output formulated by Artur Jocz, Kris Van Heuckelom, Marcin Całbecki, Władysław Panas, Włodzimierz Bolecki or Jerzy Jarzębski. The last of the scholars claims that Schulz was “a believer without religion.” Studies in the issue in question have numerous aspects. The present paper discusses e.g. gnostic motives (due to their heretical implications), idolatry (in the cycle of prints Xięga bałwochwalcza <Book of Idolatry>), matriarchal hierophanies (the short story Sierpień <August>), as well as such interpretive perspectives as Nietzschean Dionysity or Lurianic Kabbalah.

The paper also attempts to answer the questions about the meaning of mythisation, demiurge or creativity in Schulz’s world and who his Messiah is.

A Different War Story
Hanna Malewska’s “Czyste mieszkanie” (“Clean House”)

The paper refers to Hanna Malewska’s short story on the Warsaw II World War Underground. The piece, which shifts interest from sequence of events to a record of traumatic experience of an individual under occupation, is linked to a formula of characteristic of the woman writer’s camouflaged autobiography. The fundamental writing mode is the creation of few literary roles rewritten as a multidimensional “collected picture” of women conspirators. The most crucial reading trope is connected to displaying a woman style of actions and conspiracy experience complemented with unilateral male war history. At the same time, borderline situations of threat, fear, solidarity and responsibility included into the story are such ones of which a woman perspective of experience in the piece become a simply human perspective.

Tadeusz Konwicki’s Literary Games with the Subject

The aim of the article is an attempt at a synthetic view on the role ascribed to literature as seen in Tadeusz Konwicki’s works. The author of the article analyses the problem both implicitly (in his consideration on the given creation of a literary protagonist and the world presented) and discursively (in statements given in silvae and in interviews with the writer). The image of literature and its influence on a man proves to be full of paradoxes. Composing and reading lead simultaneously to dangerous disappointments and feeling of alienation in the world, but also allows to construct a community. The author of the article refers e.g. to literary theory as to Derek Attridge’s the other and to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s hermeneutic category of horizon. He also searches for the sources of the writer’s literary authenticity and comments them in reference to the modern ideals of ethics of authenticity proposed by Charles Taylor.

Unnatural Gombrowicz

The main thesis of this paper is incommensurability of interpretive paradigms which rely on the theory of the novel and on classical narratology to researching the formal construction of Witold Gombrowicz’s Pornografia (Pornography). The novel on the one hand generates specific literary genetic and semantic occurrences (fictional autobiography and yarn), and on the other hand questions them. Paradoxicality of to date methodologies is presented as based on a newly observed formal phenomenon of interdiegeticity. It consists in a conditional suspense of diegetic division in a piece of writing (fundamental for both autobiography and yarn). The problem is analysed with resort to the tools and interpretive techniques derived from so-called unnatural narratology the main aim of which is redefinition of the narrative theory’s dominating dictionary in such a way so that it may become more adequate to research texts labelled as “experimental,” “weird,” “untypical.”

Rhetoric of a Scientific Discovery in “Głos Pana” (“His Master’s Voice”) by Stanisław Lem
A Half Century from the Novel’s First Release

The paper attempts to interpret Głos Pana (His Master’s Voice) by Stanisław Lem in a rhetorical perspective. Published in a tough—not only in Poland—year 1968, the novel is generally regarded by critics as a rare example of “literary portrait of a scientific discovery.” Also, as Jerzy Jarzębski accurately points out, it is “one of the most personal books by Lem.” To be more specific, His Master’s Voice is a literary portrait of various conditions in which a scientific theory is developed. The novel follows the twist and turns of a group of scientists, politicians, and military men who are concerned in the works of deciphering a neutrino signal, a letter from the stars’, called His Master’s Voice. Lem’s story is at the same time a record of a cognitive failure and insufficiency of rhetoric tools towards the mystery of existence.

Settled in Literature
On Reading Writers

The paper demonstrates the way in which the contemporary writer is shaped by literature, especially by other writers. While reading becomes a mode of anchoring in the world, a recurring reading turns out to be not only a place of forming the writer’s identity, but also of the themes which figure their biography and creativity. The process of creation, the artist’s maturation and special importance of art for such writers as Jerzy Pilch, Janusz Anderman, Zbigniew Mentzel, Stefan Chwin or Andrzej Stasiuk are fundamentals of spiritual life. What emerges from reading pieces by the mentioned men of letters is the figure of the writer who inhabits the story. For them literature has become a way of life, not only in financial or professional aspect. They need literature in its most fundamental meaning to construct their own “I”. The world of books is not an alternative to everyday realty but it allows to subjugate it and to make it bearable.

The Literary Reception: How Can It Be Understood in Contemporary Literary Studies?

The article analyses the problem of contemporary research in literary perception and the possible ways of its development. The analysis is carried out in the context of the perspective offered by the connections between literary reception and literary sociology. Especially much attention is paid to the understanding of interpretive communities—the term coined by an American literary scholar and pragmatist Stanley Fish. The idea of communities underline the readers’ freedom due to which they may select different variants and learn new readings of literature. Following this way of reasoning, the article supports the view that the situation in which a new text is adopted by the interpretive community to become a certain key, a picklock, an interpretive strategy, is the essence of literary reception.

Half in Speech, Half in Writing
On the New Edition of Aleksander Wat’s “Dziennik bez samogłosek” (“Diary without Vowels”)

The article is an attempt at analysing the phenomenon of Dziennik bez samogłosek (Diary without Vowels) from the perspective of the text’s materiality. The subject was undertaken as a result of the diary’s Michalina Kmiecik’s new edition which for the first time allows to insight into Wat’s original typescript and into its new reading unmediated by Ola Watowa’s interventions. The reflection’s starting point is a confrontation of the various interpretations and scholarly remarks on the form of Diary without Vowels, all being both possibly different answers to settle the problem of specificity of Wat’s use of the code and to expound the reasons the poet makes such a choice. The analysis of the form ultimately prompts to resolve the issue on the level of Wat’s constant confrontation with the avant-garde. From this perspective the code is seen rather as a peculiar experiment in which lexical material remains in direct connection with (avant-garde in its nature) mistrust to language, an effort to defragment language and passion for destruction.

Before the New Edition of Stefan Żeromski’s Diaries: Stories of Manuscripts

The article informs about the history of Stefan Żeromski’s diary’s manuscripts from the moment the diary started its development, namely from May 1882 until December 1992, when the last of the existing volumes reached the National Library. The history proves to be turbulent since out of at least 26 notes of the diary’s contents only 18 survived to the present. The author of the paper accessed many unknown to date library documents, thus he rectifies the numerous mistakes recorded in the scientific material and recollects that in his last will written by the end of his life Żeromski presented his diaries to Polish PEN Club as well as that the inheritress, Anna Żeromska and Monika Żeromska, did not comply with that will: they kept the manuscripts for themselves and regarded them as their private property. This issue became the basis for complications and dispute when in the year 1947 prof. Wacław Borowy started preparing the edition of Diaries. In the final part the author considers when and in which circumstances as many as at least 8 volumes might have been lost or destroyed.

Gombrowicz in Zakopane
Some Remarks on the Project of “a Bad Story”

It is common knowledge that Witold Gombrowicz made his debut in the year 1933 with his Pamiętnik z okresu dojrzewania (Memoirs from the Period of Maturing), while it is forgotten that this debut was obtained at the price of a series of (pre)literary failures. One of such failures is an inspiration for writing this article, the author of which firstly tells the story of a manuscript of Gombrowicz’s “bad story” allegedly burnt in Zakopane, and secondly, as based on the settlement of a literary investigation, he is trying to prove the reasons that he doubts into this destruction and answering the questions about what can be done with the knowledge; whether—provided that is the case, where and how—we may approach the pages of the “bad story,” even closer than the writer wants us to in his Wspomnienia polskie (Polish Memories) and Tadeusz Kępiński, who took part in the discussed situation, in his book about Gombrowicz.

Zygmunt Haupt’s Correspondence with Jerzy Stempowski

The correspondence between Zygmunt Haupt and Jerzy Stempowski lasted from April 1963 to January 1966. It was triggered by Haupt’s award of “Kultura” (“Culture”) Literary Prize for the year 1962 which Haupt owed to Stempowski’s positive opinion subsequently published on the pages of the Paris monthly. The substantial differences sketched in the letters between the two figures as far as artistic and stylistic tastes are concerned, as well as marked disproportions in the sphere erudition, education, distinctness of reading interests and Haupt’s astonishing admiration for Stempowski’s high literary range—all of them explain why the correspondence was short and scarce. All things considered, the correspondence in today reader’s eyes become more contribution to Haupt’s personality and biography than important source of knowledge about Stempowski.

Queer Memoir
Review: Błażej Warkocki, Pamiętnik afektów z okresu dojrzewania. Gombrowicz – queer – Sedgwick. Poznań–Warszawa 2018. „Nowa Humanistyka”. Tom XLVI

The text is a review of Błażej Warkocki’s book Pamiętnik afektów z okresu dojrzewania. Gombrowicz – queer – Sedgwick (Memoirs of Affects from a Time of Immaturity. Gombrowicz – queer – Sedgwick). The reviewer highlights the methodological innovativeness and interpretive originality of the presented readings. In his view, a skilful selection of methodological tools made here room for suggesting a coherent clarification of Gombrowicz’s most eccentric and enigmatic texts.

Male Reading Projects
Review: Tomasz Kaliściak, Płeć Pantofla. Odmieńcze męskości w polskiej prozie XIX i XX wieku. (Katowice–Warszawa 2016). – Dawid Matuszek, Imiona ojców. Możliwość psychoanalizy w badaniach literackich. (Katowice–Warszawa 2016). „Studia o Męskości”

The article discusses two books published within the cycle “Studia o Męskości” (“Studies in Masculinity”), both an effect of research grant Męskość w literaturze i kulturze polskiej od XIX wieku do współczesności (Masculinity in Polish Literature and Culture from the 19th to the Present). The background for the two monographs are numerous and methodologically diversified positions, of which all are synthetically discussed. The paper reconstructs the most crucial assumptions and reading strategies emerging from Tomasz Kaliściak’s and Dawid Matuszek’s books, which resort to psychoanalysis.

Różewicz. An Attempt at Integration
Review: Tadeusz Różewicz, Wybór poezji. Wstęp i opracowanie Andrzej Skrendo. Wrocław 2016. „Biblioteka Narodowa”. Seria I, nr 328

The review of Tadeusz Różewicz’s Wybór wierszy (A Selection of Poems), issued within the series “Biblioteka Narodowa” (“National Library of Poland”) in Andrzej Skrendo’s selection and critical edition, concentrates on the project of a comprehensive interpretation of the poet’s poetic creativity explicated by the critic in the introduction. Employing the autobiographic mode of reading, Skrendo pictures Różewicz’s work as a peculiar existential-textual twine, pays much attention to metaliterary expressions of the poet, and strives to follow his interpretive suggestions.

A Dictionary Hodge-Pogdge
Review: Ilustrowany słownik terminów literackich. Historia, anegdota, etymologia. Red. Zbigniew Kadłubek, Beata Mytych-Forajter, Aleksander Nawarecki. (Gdańsk 2018)

The subject of this negative review is Ilustrowany słownik terminów literackich (An Illustrated Dictionary of Literary Terms) published in 2018. In the reviewer’s eyes it serves as an example of ineptness and incompetence expressed both in the choice of entries (the key of which is unknown), and in chaos and in general disrespect to the rules of terminological dictionaries preparation. Supposedly, without any harm to scientific values, the dictionary in question is designed to entertain the readers and reveal the expression of editors’ and authors’ fondness, e.g. love of etymology, being more important than the term’s meaning, is declared.

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