Issue 1/2006

Pamiętnik Literacki 1 / 2006

Dedication to Professor Zofia Stefanowska

Title pages



Music in the Works of Wacław Berent

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The aim of the article is to present the different modes of functioning of music and acoustics as based on the works of Wacław Berent. Every Berent’s work is rich in different references to the art of sounds. Aural perception of reality is a characteristic feature of Berent protagonists from his earliest compositions. Novelistic worlds are filled with music, people’s voices, sounds of nature, sounds of cities, etc.

The issues presented in the article are twofold: on the one hand, they are of musical-literary nature, and on the other hand, they are reflections on the ways of literary representation of aural perception.

The problem of music in literature is not characteristic of any particular epoch, but it seems that it is modernistic literature serves as a good example of the fullest realization of musical filiations of a literary work on any level. And it is the works of Wacław Berent – one of the most eminent Polish modernists – that give a good illustration of the most important tendencies of early modern prose simultaneously determining the direction of its development. A similar situation is observed as far as the motif of music and the realization of music and literature relationships are concerned.

Myth and Music Serving the Function of the “Inexpressible” Desire. On Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz’s “Psyche”

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The article examines the signs of the repressed homosexuality of the writer present in J. Iwaszkiewicz’s short story Psyche.

Homosexual desire is seen here on various levels. The first is visible in the musical form given to the short story. The second is the mythological skeleton used to present a biographically understood fascination with masculinity. The writer’s identification with a goddess connects with the camp aesthetics, which marks the third level of the text’s construction revealing the author’s homosexual motivation.

Apart from the aforementioned levels, homosexuality comes into light through activating of “secret signs” of homosexual discourse as seen in the introduction of the well-known motif of the superiority of “symbolic motherhood” (homosexuality) over “bodily motherhood (heterosexuality) from Plato’s Feast.

“They Will Lend Me Hearing, Time, Suffering, All She Has Forseen”. Music in Stanisław Barańczak’s Literary Works

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Language, in Stanisław Barańczak’s poetry, parallel to adding a metaphysic sphere to the horizon of lyrical penetration, looses its former axiomatic value. With the weakening of the role of a word (seen as a mediator of transcendence), a reflection on music is born in the poetry. In poems Kontrapunkt (Counterpoint), Z okna na którymś piętrze ta aria Mozarta (From a window on some floor this Mozart’s aria), Tenorzy (Tenors) or Hi-Fi we can talk about one, comprehensive philosophical project of music. If there is in this poetry a hint that allows for an insight into the metaphysical sphere, it is not a word, but sound. Music in this poetry is perceived as something the root of which is neither in human genius nor in history. It is presented in such a way that it could encompass the whole reality both as existence (determining the identity of the self) and essence.

Zbigniew Herbert’s Poetry in the World of Fine Arts

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Zbigniew Herbert, in his Poeta wobec współczesności (Poet and the Modern Times), calls for poetry based on a word which is “a window open to reality”, a transparent sign. One of the implications of this conception is understanding of literature as a “transparent presentation” in which vividness is accentuated. In this context the present study is an attempt to answer the question about the painterly quality of this part of Herbert’s poetry which enters into an intertextual dialogue with fine arts. It is also a question about a peculiarly Herbertian mode of intersemiotic translation. Those problems are discussed in Interpretacje – the first part of the study. The second part – Poezja wobec sztuki, based on the conclusions drawn from the former, is concentrated on the issue of transcending of descriptive lyrics in the context of aesthetic rule of “restrained imagination” on which Herbert formulates the postulate of coupling of aesthetics and ethics.

Dolls, Mirrors, Obituaries. The Motif of Photograph in Polish Prose in 1863–1939

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The article Dolls, Mirrors, Obituaries analyses the motif of photograph in Polish prose in 1863–1939. The author presents three contexts in which the “prop” is found. Most frequently a photograph has an important function in the protagonists’ love affairs who, seeing the photograph, fall in love or become jealous. Perception of photography carries also an amount of data on the world which gradually reduce and ultimately lead to the recourse to the observed subject. The third context is connected with the tanatological experience of the protagonists: a photo of the deceased may console or conversely – strengthen the belief in fragility of every life.

“Ready Made”. Object in Miron Białoszewski’s Prose Texts

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The article is devoted to the analysis of the function of objects in Miron Białoszewski’s prose texts. It shows an interest in every day objects as a characteristic feature of art in second half of 20th century. As a result, ready-made, amballage, assamblage and environment become the contexts of the analyzed texts.

Objects create collages in the texts’ descriptive layer: they are made accidentally and can be sound or visual. They are born around the narrator, since the presented literary world was identified with the space of living.

The biographical element introduces another argument in favor of “poor aesthetics” or “attic aesthetics.” It proves to be the project of social coexistence based on the rule of voluntary giving and on recycling seen as a way of circulation of things. The attitude to objects stems from the post-war experience of the lack of various things. Objects in Białoszewski’s texts are treated as cultural signs.

Enslavement and the Traces of Rebellion, or a Self-Portrait of a Woman. From Claricia to Olga Boznańska

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A woman’s self-portrait is treated in the study not only as a work of art, but also as a valuable evidence of the Polish women artists’ awareness. Relationships between their creative ambitions and the possibility of realization – drastically limited by the habitual and artistic conventions of the subsequent epochs – prompted some talented ladies into attempts of omitting bans and gaining more creative powers.

Not many literary woman self-portraits at the end of 19th century are found; they could be interestingly examined together with paintings which they successfully complement. In the study women self-portrayers are presented, starting from the 12th century female scribes to rebellious women of the end of 20th century. The changes of customs were accompanied by the chances of stylistic conventions, both in prose and in poetry, which reflected the image they were to express. Reading the language of self-portrait and reconstruction of the message directed to the receivers becomes a fascinating enterprise.

Media Description of Tragedy. On Press Coverage on WTC Attack

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The article presents the communicative strategies used in Polish press and television in coverages on World Trade Center attacks and in commentaries and recollections on it written some time after the tragedy. The author shows a variety of genres used for this purpose: he writes on the role of chronicle, recollections and relations of witnesses in building the vision of the event which in time became a stereotypical vision of history. Also, mythization  and symbolization seen in the description of WTC in Polish press, as well as its rhetoric and metaphoric are treated with some fullness. Moreover, the article contains considerations on the relationship between “vantage points” put into the narration and their involvement in the contemporary political discourse. The article closes with an analysis of photographs showing the tragedy taken from newspapers and Internet. In short – it is a voice on one of the many ways of describing evil in media discourse and on the rules of building a conversational vision of history through this discourse and on the function of pictures in its recording.

The Problem of So-called Concrete Poetry

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The starting point of the article is the claim that poetry is a linguistic expression of subjective relationship to some selected events. Reading a poetical work, a receiver finds something that is self-governed and that is more or less unique entity. This uniqueness, however, is  heavily restricted by the linguistic medium of poetry. After all, the sender achieves the individual expression by the most individual realization of the most typical elements of language. Concrete poetry, as the author sees it, is an attempt to break the aforementioned rule: it does not aim at a mere individual set of types, but more at a unique pattern of concrete realizations, i.e. the vehicles of sign. It is in this  way that a word receives clarity of color and sound. The clarity in question could be closely connected with the meaning of the poem, strengthen it with its picture, or considerably weaken the representing character of  speech.

“National Library” and “Polish Library”. A Fragment from 19th Century Publishing Disputes
Unknown Józef Weyssenhoff’s Manuscripts Connected with Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Novel “Na polu chwały” (“On the Field of Glory”)
Review: Edyta Chlebowska, „Ipse ipsum”. O autoportretach Cypriana Norwida. Lublin (2004). „Studia i Monografie”. [Vol.] 10
Review: Adam Dziadek, Obrazy i wiersze. Z zagadnień interferencji sztuk w polskiej poezji współczesnej. Katowice 2004. „Prace Naukowe Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach”. No 2258
Review: Jacek Łukasiewicz, Grochowiak i obrazy. Wrocław 2002. „Acta Universitatis Wratislaviensis”. No 2289
Review: Andrzej Hejmej, Muzyczność dzieła literackiego. Ed. 2, revised. Wrocław 2001. „Monografie Fundacji na Rzecz Nauki Polskiej”
Review: Muzyka w literaturze. Antologia polskich studiów powojennych. Edited by Andrzej Hejmej. Kraków (2002)
Review: Elżbieta Rybicka, Modernizowanie miasta. Zarys problematyki urbanistycznej w nowoczesnej literaturze polskiej. Kraków (2003). „Horyzonty Nowoczesności”. [Vol.] 27
Review: Adriana Cavarero, A più voci. Filosofia dell’espressione vocale. Milano 2003
Obituary: Ireneusz Opacki (August 5th, 1933 – July 9th, 2005)
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