Issue 2/2011

Pamiętnik Literacki 2 / 2011

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Miłosz’s “World” Apart. Father – Mother – Krypt

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The paper considers the problem of Czesław Miłosz’s text reading by referring to the category of psychoanalysis. It traces the “splits” in the text, that is those places which reveal the symptoms of war trauma suppression. An attempt is made to show relationship of those places with the texts written earlier and later than World (Świat) to emphasise the weight of trauma in Miłosz’s poetry and prose. The above considerations lead to recognize Miłosz’s text as krypt (in Jacques Derrida’s view).

Hymnic Code in Czesław Miłosz’s Poetry

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Hymnic genre awareness in Czesław Miłosz’s poetry is included into metadiscursive statements. Poetic self-commentary often leads to encapsulating the entire work in the hymnic genre. The hymn becomes an identification of the author’s poetics and develops into a literary type. The author of the sketch questions for the proper understanding of the hymn in reference to all found in Miłosz’s poetry direct indications of genre correlations as well as for the modes in which other ways the hymnic tradition are summoned. Is there a nonthematized hymn in this poetry and, if so, in what way can it exist? From his debut until Last poems (Wiersze ostatnie) Miłosz is observed to carry out a long-lastin process of codification of the qualities of hymnic expression which is being accomplished in a constant dialogue with the forms already attested. Refering to the analysis of metatextual statements found in Miłosz’s poetic texts, the article concludes that the use of the term in question goes beyond its narrow literary genetics meaning. The Polish poet seems to be drawing on the ancient synonymy of the term of “hymnos” and poetic creativity at large. The objective of the analysis is the mode such awareness is reflected in hymnographic production. The presence of hymnic code is seen as one of the elements which unites Miłosz’s literary output. Miłosz’s notion of hymn crosses the limits of his poetics. Hymnicity, then, stems from experiencing the sacred but is primarily viewed as an existential project. Miłosz’s “living in hymn” reminds of Hölderlin’s hymnicity.

Czesław Miłosz’s Voice in the Controversy over “Incomprehensibility” as a Reiterated Choice of Tradition. On the Discolsed Intertexts in “Against Incomprehensible Poetry” and “Postscriptum”

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The article offers a detailed analysis of Czesław Miłosz’s two late sketches written at the beginning of 1990s, i.e. Against incomprehensible poetry (Przeciw poezji niezrozumiałej) and Postscriptum. Resorting to the poetics of  manifesto, Miłosz once again presents the main assumptions of his epiphanic poetry project. This time, however, the presentation has a form of a subtle intertextual play with the reader: Miłosz in an allusive way prompts a cue and ostentatiously rejects the thouhgts that refer to the most famous polemics of the Inter-War Years, that is to the controversy over “incomprehensibility.” The present article contains a reconstruction of the play as well as the answers to the question for the stake of the play.

In the different context of literature characteristic of a critical phase of modernism Miłosz continues, or rather revives, the question about “incomprehensibility.” Now it is no longer a “within Avant-Garde” argument about the form, but an antonymy between the traditional world view and the modern one in its main aesthetic tendencies: “Against the torrents of elaborate metaphors and against a network of words liberated from colloquial meanings.”

Miłosz and the Philosophy of (Unity of) Diversity

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Brzozowski and Witkacy, whom Miłosz initially (i.e. in his article Limits of the Arts <Granice sztuki>) rejected, may ultimately be regarded as those who inspired his own attitude. For Miłosz most crucial in Brzozowski’s views was praxis, contrasted with unilateral and stabilising pragmatism of various social groups, and simultaneously justifying changes of opinions and unique “betrayals” of oneself. Brzozowski, however, is situated not exclusively on the justifying the dynamics part of the cognitional archaic myth (the myth of Nature) or circular paradigm that corresponds to it. One may also accurately point out the connections with modern myth (the myth of God) commensurate with linear paradigm, the expression of which is effect-oriented work (situated by Brzozowski also in the domain of history). Witkacy’s point is similar in this respect. Alongside the terror of crash of solid values, Miłosz discerns (contrary to that) acknowledging the significance of art, the one and only opponent to automated society. Such Nietzschean connection (Socrates performing music) proves to be Miłosz’s permanent susceptibility for years.

Miłosz’s Evils

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The present article is an attempt at making an inventory of the pictures of devil in Czesław Miłosz’s literary creativity. In the chronological order (from a juvenile text Poems for the Posessed <Wiersze dla opętanych> to end with the poem Late Old Age <Późna starość>) the author shows a fixed presence of the figures of devil in Miłosz’s writings. The devilish problem is also evoked indirectly through the records of the “demonic” state (in Kierkegaard’s view) which in Miłosz’s texts usually takes shape of torment of acedia. Tischner therefore proves that Miłosz’s devils are for the most part ostentatiously anachronistic or amusing but reveal temptations which Miłosz himself faced.  Most important of those temptations are urge for dualism that shatters the hope of redemption, urge of historiosophically justified immoralism, urge to doubt into free will, urge for pride and vanity, urge for heartlessness, and ultimately paralysing awareness of one’s own sinfulness which is accompanied by urge for sadness and despair.

Miłosz within the Limits of Literature

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The title of the sketch is an allusion to Michał Paweł Markowski’s essay Life Within the Limits of Literature (Życie na miarę literatury). Following Markowski’s thesis, the author attempts to analyse selected pieces by Czesław Miłosz from the breakthrough of his creativity (the turn of 1960s and 1970s), when Miłosz more and more observably approaches a meditational model of poetry. The change was influenced by students’ moral revolution in the year 1968 which he observed at the California University and by the decision to start translation of the Bible from its original languages. Miłosz was baffled by the changes that took place in culture at that time and admitted his failure to understand them; thus he saw his aforementioned translating activity as a means of finding a contemporary hieratic language. It led to simplification of poetic language devoid of embellishments and rhetorics, together with treatment poetry in a similar mode as Greek philosophers did, i.e. as a meditation over one’s own fortune and ultimate matters.

“To Let Me Finally Say...” A Portrait of a Poem with Czesław Miłosz in the Background

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The article is an attempt at interpretation Czesław Miłosz’s poem It (To) from the collection under the same title published in the year 2000. The poem is a multifaceted riddle and its ambiguity can be seen at many levels of the text’s structure and in its theme. The poem’s modality also proves vague since the subject of its metapoetic reflection can be both the poet’s prior accomplishment and his creative intentions, thus the presence of genre relationship with the elegy, manifesto, and poetic testament. The poem is rhetorically complicated and abundant in the course of argumantation, hence it seems not to be a confession but a sophisticated play of the poet who accepts changing roles and putting on various masks. The pronoun used in the poem’s title indicates the object of comment (thought, feeling, fear), the name of which is either intentionally passed over in silence or does not exist; yet, an effort to characterise “it,” made as an array of comparisons, is either a supplementary periphrasis or a catachresis of the Inexpressible.

Zamarła Turnia, the Skotnica Sisters and Developing Equivalence: On Julian Przyboś’s “From the Tatras” (“Z Tatr”)

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Everything seems quite ostensible: Julian Przyboś precedes his poem From the Tatras (Z Tatr) with the words that pinpoint the lyrical situation: “To the memory of the mountaineer who died at Zamarła Turnia.” The literature assumes that the mountaineer in question was one of the Skotnica sisters, Marzena Skotnicówna, however the moment the sisters came off from the mount the leader was the other sister Lida, and the poem describes Lida’s life last moments. Consequently, who is the poem dedicated to? Przyboś appears to be a split figure: Marzena’s death is his deepest experience (as suggested by Notes without Dates <Zapiski bez daty>, the poem Night <Noc> and Przyboś’s letter to his uncle’s wife), but would Lida be the figure of whose fall from the mount speaks the poem?

Przyboś transforms the feelings evoked by Marzena’s death into a state of co-experience of the mountaineer’s death, which corresponds to Cracow Avant-garde’s statement formulated by Janusz Sławiński as “Developing equivalence, understood as an operation performed on the object introduced into the poetic picture; the developing was to become an equivalent of specyfic emotional matter of the subject.”

Juliusz Słowacki’s Lost Diary from the Voyage to the East (1836–1837) Found after 70 Years in Russian Collections

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The article presents Juliusz Słowacki’s diary from his East voyage (1836–1837) to Grece, Egypt, Palestine, and Lebenon lost for 70 years. The diary was found in the collection of Russian State Library in Moscow. Considered to have been burnt with most of manuscripts of Krasiński Library after the Warsaw Uprising in autumn 1944, it was actually borrowed in 1939 to be displayed at high school in Krzemieniec. It was probably in Krzemieniec that it was confiscated by the Soviet authorities after September 17th, 1939. The diary, written by Słowacki himself, contains a number of popular pieces with A Voyage to the Holy Land from Naples, notes, voyage diary, daily records, and so-far unpublished landscape sketches. Diary notes, poetic works and samples build an interconnected set of the poet’s live report while facing the exotic culture of Greece, Egypt, and the Near East. The diary is  the basic source of the history of Słowacki’s voyage to the East and invites a new research into the poet’s artistic process.

Listy Oli Watowej do Czesława Miłosza

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It is a selection of letters related, inter alia, to the edition of Aleksander Wat’s My Century, in charge of which were the poet’s wife and Czesław Miłosz. The letters are treasured at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale University) in Czesław Miłosz archives collection (catalogue number: GEN MSS 661). They contain important pieces of information especially about the final stage of the edition of My Century. Apart from detailed information about the edition of My Century in the letters to Czesław Miłosz one also finds a touching text in which Watowa tells Miłosz about her last meeting with Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz during his stay in France. In Ola Wat’s letters we also come across pieces of information about American edition of My Century, for which publishing Czesław Miłosz and Jan Gross acted as agents.

The letters are published with the permission of Andrzej Wat, the poet’s son, and the above selection of letters will be included into the edition of the second volume of Letters about All That Really Matters prepared by the “Literary Notebooks” Foundation (Fundacja “Zeszytów Literackich”).

On the History of (Dis)Agreement in Twin Arts
Review: Ut pictura poesis. Pod redakcją Marka Skwary i Seweryny Wysłouch. (Gdańsk 2006). „Tematy Teoretycznoliterackie”. Archiwum przekładów „Pamiętnika Literackiego”

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The book Ut pictura poesis (As is painting so is poetry), designed as a monograph, is an important voice in discussion on affinity of painting and literature. It is a rich collection of translations, mostly published already in “Literary Memoir,” which represents various disciplines. Although the collection in question is by no means decisive about the correspondence of arts, it is a compulsory reader for a literary researcher.

Lewandowski’s Young Poland Encounters
Review: Tomasz Lewandowski, Spotkania młodopolskie. Poznań 2005. „Biblioteka Literacka »Poznańskich Studiów Polonistycznych«”. T. 41

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The text discusses a collection of Tadeusz Lewandowski’s sketches entitled Encounters with Young Poland (Spotkania młodopolskie) which, among many papers on the subjects, attracts readers’ attention in the way it describes and accounts for Polish modernism. The title of the collection justly reflects Lewandowski’s method of close-ups in which subjectively selected problems, namely an obscure figure of Ignacy Dąbrowski, Stanisław Wyspiański’s early dramas, and eventually the renaissance of positivist thought at the twilight of Young Poland are subject of examination. The original subject supports here bold statements, and seemilgly exhaustive problems bring about unexpected conclusions, being so necessary in literary history.

A Game with Master
Review: Jan Jakóbczyk, Szachy literackie? Rzecz o twórczości Karola Irzykowskiego. Katowice 2005. „Prace Naukowe Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach”. Nr 2360

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The review discusses Jan Jakóbczyk’s book which characterises the figure of Karol Irzykowski, an exceptional literary critic of the first half of 20th century, a great essayist, an author of a precursory book Pałuba, and a fascinating diarist. Jakóbczyk focuses on the less known fragments of Irzykowski’s literary creativity and looks at them through the prism of contemporary literary theory and metacritical categories.

Irzykowski among His Epoch’s Trends
Review: Sylwia Panek, Krytyk w przestrzeniach literatury i filozofii. O młodopolskich wypowiedziach polemicznych Karola Irzykowskiego. Poznań 2006. „Biblioteka Literacka »Poznańskich Studiów Polonistycznych«”. T. 50

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The review discusses Sylwia Panek’s book on an outstanding scholar Karol Irzykowski. The author refers to the two figures that most largely influenced Irzykowki’s creativity, namely Friedrich Christian Hebbel and Stanisław Brzozowski. In Panek’s view Irzykowski co-authors the main ideas of Polish modernism and an original metaphysical and aesthetic system. The book offers new contexts for the interpretation of Irzykowski’s thoughts making a significant contribution into the history of Polish literary criticism.

Irzykowski and His Adventure with Philosophy
Review: Maria Gołębiewska, Irzykowski. Rzeczywistość i przedstawienie. O tezach filozoficznych Karola Irzykowskiego. Warszawa 2006. „Filozofia Polska XX Wieku”

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The text discusses Maria Gołębiewska’s book on Karol Irzykowski. It attempts to reveal the philosophical implications which are present in multiple forms in Irzykowski’s literary creativity. Irzykowski – novelist, poet, dramatist, diarist, publicist, and essayist – mutually regarded as a perverse and original thinker, is in Gołębiewska’s view such a philosopher whose voice in worldview matters at the beginning of 20th century proved its importance.

Hebbel in Polish
Review: Katarzyna Sadkowska, Irzykowski i inni. Twórczość Fryderyka Hebbla w Polsce 1890–1939. Kraków 2007. „Modernizm w Polsce”. Studia nad nowoczesną polską literaturą, sztuką, kulturą i myślą humanistyczną. [T.] 21

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The book under consideration invites the reader into the world of crystalising and solidifying the ideas of Polish modernism (the activities of Richard Maria Werner, and Karol Irzykowski’s artistic creativity being the main cases here) influenced by now unfairly forgotten Friedrich Hebbel who, due to his revolutionary formal resolutions, was by his contemporaries seen equal to Ibsen and Wagner. Katarzyna Sadkowska sketches a rich context of the author of Judith’s views which mingled into 19th and 20th c. Polish culture. The author also sees the researches, men of letters, and translators gathered around a Lviv Germanist Richard Maria Werner, namely Zdzisław Żygulski, Karol Irzykowski, Józef Mirski, Juliusz Kleiner, Zygmunt Łempicki, and Hermann Sternbach, as first propagators of Hebbel’s ideas in Poland.

A Compulsory Reader for Lem Researchers
Review: Maciej Płaza, O poznaniu w twórczości Stanisława Lema. Wrocław 2006. „Monografie Fundacji na rzecz Nauki Polskiej”

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The text discusses Maciej Płaza’s book on the epistemological problems in Stanisław Lem’s literary creativity. The young scholar’s comprehensive work includes a thorough analysis and a convincing interpretation of Lem’s texts. The reviewer’s kindly indicated critical remarks by no means undermine the book’s very high value.

Three Voices about Stanisław Barańczak’s Poetry
Review: Dorota Kulczycka, „Powiedzieć to wszystko, o czym myślę”. O poezji Stanisława Barańczaka. Zielona Góra 2008. – Ewa Rajewska, Stanisław Barańczak – poeta i tłumacz. Poznań 2007. – Jerzy Kandziora, Ocalony w gmachu wiersza. O poezji Stanisława Barańczaka. Warszawa 2007

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The author discusses three books on Stanisław Barańczak poetry published four decades after the poet’s debut. The book by Dorota Kulczycka (“Expressing All I Am Thinking about.” On Stanisław Barańczak’s Poetry) is dominated by a reading that sets Barańczak’s achievements into romantic tradition and metaphysical trend. In Ewa Rajewska’s book (Stanisław Barańczak – a poet and a translator) the wonder of Barańczak’s translation craft is seen in the context of his own poetics. Jerzy Kandziora (Saved in the Edifice of a Poem. On Stanisław Barańczak’s Poetry) offers the most complete monograph about Barańczak’s poetry to date. Kandziora’s presentation maintains a chronological order and the key to its reading is Barańczak’s biography.

Bogusław Pfeiffer (May 12th, 1960 – September 20th 2010)

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Bogusław Pfeiffer was a prematurely deceased scholar associated with Wrocław, Zielona Góra, and Częstochowa, where he researched in Old-Polish literature, with special regard to the relationship of literature and art (mainly fine arts), and symbolic depictions of state and power in literature and iconography.

 

Piotr Żbikowski (August 1st, 1935 – January 20th, 2011)

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The text is a remebrance of Piotr Żbikowski, a distinguished expert in Polish Enlightenment literature, especially in its second phase (so-called Polish Classicism), who died a few months ago. Piotr Żbikowski was a deserving researcher and editor, propagator of literary studies, co-originator and for many years professor at the University of Rzeszów.

Janusz Maciejewski (June, 2nd 1930 – February 9th, 2011)

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The text is a remembrance of Janusz Maciejewski’s life and research. Janusz Maciejewski was history and sociology of literature researcher, editor, university teacher, and literary critic; he belonged to diverse artistic, scholarly, and social associations, as well as was a member of editorial staff in a many of periodicals. He successfully joined various communities in which he shall be remembered for his sympathy, bravery, and cheerful mood.

Alina Brodzka-Wald (November 11th, 1929 – March 19th, 2011). Posthumous Tribute

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The text is a remembrance of Alina Brodzka-Wald, a late and deserving researcher in various problems in Polish literature, especially the second half of 19th, and 20th century.

A Response to the Review by Wacław Lewandowski of Violetta Wejs-Milewska’s Book “Radio Free Europe on the Emigration Routes of Writers”
To the Editorial Board of the “Literary Memoir”
On the Failed Premiere of “Gyubal Wahazar” by Witkacy
Amendments and Additions to the Bibliography „Bez cenzury 1976–1989. Literatura – ruch wydawniczy – teatr” (”Without Censorship 1976–1989. Literature – Publishing Movement – Theatre”)
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