Issue 2/2012

Pamiętnik Literacki 2 / 2012

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Avant-garde – Danger – Chance. Dialectics of Modernity in Józef Czechowicz’s Poetry

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The text on dialectics of modernity in Józef Czechowicz’s poetry is an attempt at reconstructing a model of modern thinking present in his literary creativity. Starting point of the article is the distinction between avant-garde dogmatic model proposed by Tadeusz Peiper, and incohesive, labile structure preferred by Czechowicz. Inconsistencies and lack of clear borders are closer to modernist theories, thus Czechowicz seems to be more consistent and profound in his understanding of the modernity. Moreover, his attitude to such challenges of 20th century thinking as the need for “human self-validation” (Blumenberg) in the world free from metaphysical sanctions, in the world of individual’s functioning within the limits of resources the individual is a part and dominated by technical vision make Czechowicz a consistent and conscious artist and thinker of the Polish avant-garde.

“Doktor Faustus” – Music, Methaphysics and Number Mysticism

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The first part of the article presents the tradition in which music is linked with metaphysics and the numerical model of understanding the world, as well as discusses the issues connected to number symbolism and to gematria. Subsequent to that, the paper refers to the way Adrian Leverkühn, Thomas Mann’s portagonist, composed his works. At this point the author formulates a hypothesis, the core of which is a relationship, also crucial for dodecaphony, of a magic square rules with the square from Albrecht Dürer’s Melencolia 1. Such relationship is held due to the use of number counterparts of a musical figure, namely haetera esmeralda. The final part of the paper contains remarks on the meanings of Roman numerals used in chapter numbers as well as considerations on the novel’s structure. Developing Jean-Yves Masson’s hypothesis, the author formulates a view about a possibility of using golden ratio in the narration of Doktor Faustus.

On Ontic Evil in Witold Gombrowicz’s Prose

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The author defines ontic evil in contrast to moral evil. The latter involves a conscious and free choice of an individual, while the former is a synonym to suffering, sickness, physical and spiritual handicap, man’s mortality and his “feeling of personal villainy” (Ricoeur). Perceived in this way, the evil is traced in psychological picture of selected characters in Gombrowicz’s Cosmos (Kosmos) (Witold, Mrs. Kulka, and Ludwik), as well as in Pornography (Pornografia) (Siemian and Amelia), and further on developed in reflections on Gombrowicz’s provocative discourse in his Diary (3) (Dziennik <3>) where he formulated a thesis that Hitler is present in every Pole. Fiała interpretes this statement in st. Paul’s biblical anthropology registers as a figure of susceptibility to evil embedded in every person.

Julia Hartwig’s Poetry and the Existence of Metaphysics

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The speaking subject in Julia Hartwig’s poetry oscillates between a burden of existential exile, catastrophic consciousness, and a need of regaining order and sense of existence, as well as reveals metaphysical longing inherent in a man. The author pays attention to the act of “seeing the good” fundamental for Hartwig’s poetic epiphanies. The analysis of the category in question is supported with Ryszard Nycz’s and Charles Taylor’s views. The epiphany in Hartwig’s early poems refers to a dream vision, whilst later it emerges in intensive experience of the reality. Being a subjective experience, a moment of revelation, it is born in the act of internalizing the visual. Admiration is derived from the power of sight and equalled to faith as regards the power of revelation of existence in full blossom. The epiphanies many a time point at superhuman sanction of the world and at a feeling of unspeakable richness of existence.

“A diary or not a diary, or stuff.” Short Narrative Forms in Maciej Malicki’s Writing

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The paper is devoted to short narrative forms in Maciej Malicki’s literary creativity. The author focuses here on trans-genre shifts between a diary, a story, a novel, a poem, a letter, a fairytale etc., as well as on more general question of blurred borderlines between literary fiction and autobiographical document. How does Malicki play with conventions of autobiographical writing and how does he transgress them? What seems to be the most accurate concept for such writing practice is Serge Doubrovski’s autofiction. According to Przemysław Czapliński, what is typical of late modernism Polish prose is generic, narrative and stylistic diversity and hybridity, as well as indeterminate (non)fictional status. Of paramount importance here is total revaluation of early modernist narrative pattern and a crisis of the Grand Narrative. The article is an attempt to show how this revaluation works in Malicki’s short autofictional texts.

Experience as a Work’s Test – a Test of Oneself

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The article shows the activities of the artist in a perspective of broadly understood category of experience. The considerations raised here derive from Richard Shusterman’s and Wolfgang Welsch’s aesthetic thought, and are an attempt at reading Tadeusz Kantor’s creativity in the optic of new aisthesis.  Moreover, following Arnold Berleant, the category of “embodied subject” is introduced. All the aforementioned tropes direct the reflection on experience towards somatoaesthetics. This approach, used to refer to the creator himself as well as to his work showing the bodily dimension of the art and its sources, unfolds the mental conditions of the process of creation and Kantor’s thinking of himself and of his creativity in terms of “infernum interior.” Artistic creativity, indispensably linked to mental and physical effort, is not only seen as an experience of oneself and experience of one’s own work, but also as a feeling of one’s work and one’s mental and physical presence in it. In this perspective the aesthetic experience earns a dramatic trait.

Langueage in the State of Suspicion. Paradox and Irony in Stanisław Barańczak’s Metaliterary and Metacritical Statements

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The subject of the present paper is the rhetoric of paradox and irony in Stanisław Barańczak’s late literary critical achievements. The paradox proves specially privileged rhetorical trope in his 1980s critcism and is used as an effective tool in describing problems of linguistic literary culture in the Polish People’s Republic. Irony, by contrast, is a basic mode of an essay dated 1990s which polemizes with standardised unilateral language of interpretation. The two rhetorical mechanisms turn out to be subject to the imperative of responsibility for the word – the context the author formulates for investigating their meaning. Moreover, the self-parodistic essay Who really were “the two steady gentlemen” or: the front of the fight for ifs, or: Sławiński finally amended encourage to question for a deeper sense of autoirony and “casting under suspicion” even one’s own critical language.

David Hume’s “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding” in Antoni Lange’s Translation

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The article presents and discusses fragments of David Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (chapter IX: Of the Reason of Animals and a deleted of chapter X: Of Miracles) translated by Antoni Lange, who asked Henryk Struve, professor at University of Warsaw, to appoint him do the translation, as well as letters exchanged between them about this matter.

Hume’s Enquiry […] in Lange’s translation was ultimately not printed.

Kazimierz Przerwa Tetmajer in Vilnius in 1906 and His First Public Lecture after January Uprising in Polish

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Kazimierz Przerwa Tetmajer’s arrival to Vilnius in 1906, and the delivery of his lecture about the Tatra mountains as well as the gathering at which the poet read extracts of his poetry were very important events in the revival of Polish cultural life in this town after 1907. The initiator and organizer of his visit was Czesław Jankowski, a writer and a poet, and at that time an editor-in-chief of “Kurier Litewski [Lithuanian Daily]”  – a Polish newspaper appearing in Vilnius from 1905. Those occurences were significant because of two reasons. Firstly, due to the fact that Kazimierz Przerwa Tetmajer was the first so distinguished Polish poet not from Russian sector of partitioned Poland who came to Vilnius to introduce his literary output. Secondly, since each person willing to listen to the first lecture in Polish after the collapse of January Uprising could come and listen to it.

“Ferdydurke’s” Phenomenology
Review: Łukasz Garbal, „Ferdydurke”. Biografia powieści. Kraków (2010)

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The review discusses Łukasz Garbal’s book “Ferdydurke.” A biography of the novel. Garbal’s dissertation is an attempt to situate Ferdydurke against a broad historical and literary history background to comment on its origin, intertextual relationships, and literary critical context.

A Philosopher’s Reading Philosophy of History in Literature
Review: Jacek Breczko, Poglądy historiozoficzne pisarzy z kręgu „Kultury” paryskiej. Przezwyciężenie katastrofizmu, odrzucenie mesjanizmu. Lublin 2010

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The review disusses Jacek Breczko’s book on the issues of philosophy of history as seen in the literary creativity of four representatives of literary wing of “Kultura,” namely Józef Czapski, Jerzy Stępowski, Witold Gombrowicz, and Czesław Miłosz. Appreciation of the significance of the book’s conclusion, i.e. showing common to the circle programmatic antimessianism viewed as a new quality in Polish reflection on the newest history, induces to pose questions concerning their methodological bases. The author highlights that the interdisciplinary character of the book, relying on analyses of texts from literature-philosophy interface, invites further multifaceted discussion on literary history issues as well as on the possibilities of developing a research practice for hybrid literary-philosophical status texts.

Desire for the Scientific
Review: Piotr Michałowski, Głosy, formy, światy. Warianty poezji nowoczesnej. Kraków (2008)

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The review discusses Piotr Michałowski’s book Voices, Forms, Worlds. Variants of Modern Poetry. The reviewer concentrates mostly on commenting the categories used by Michałowski, namely avant-garde, autonomy, modernity and modernism in the perspective of Polish poetry.

On Miron Białoszewski’s “Secret Diary [Tajny Dziennik]”
Review: Białoszewski przed „Dziennikiem”. Redakcja: Wojciech Browarny, Adam Poprawa. Kraków (2010)

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The review discusses a collection of articles devoted mainly to Miron Białoszewski’s diarist and prosaic creativity. The reviewer pays attention to the diversity of approaches to the issues under consideration (e.g. physicality, creativity, textuality), their common ground and discrepancies between them. She sees the book in question as a whole which refers to selected aspects of Białoszewski’s creativity and includes it into the context of the editors’ concept of writing about a non-existing diary.

Kuśniewicz the Dialogist
Review: Elżbieta Dutka, Okolice nie tylko geograficzne. O twórczości Andrzeja Kuśniewicza. Katowice 2008. „Prace Naukowe Uniwersytetu Śląskiego w Katowicach”

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Elżbieta Dutka’s book on Andrzej Kuśniewicz’s literary creativity is a thorough interpretation of his prose carried out from the point of view of literary anthropology, and also a brave though not enough convincing attempt at interpreting the writing’s dialogical elements in the context of Emmanuel Lévinas’, Martin Buber’s, and Józef Tischner’s philosophy.

Bogdan Zakrzewski (September 25th, 1916 – October 23th, 2011)

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The text is a remembrance to the precious memory of Professor Bogdan Zakrzewski, an eminent Polish literature historian, specialist in the Romanticism, meritious researcher in the life and achievements of Aleksander Fredro and Adam Mickiewicz. Zakrzewski researched in Silesian folklore, worked as an editor and for many years held the position of editor-in-chief of “Literary Memoir” (“Pamiętnik Literacki”), and is regarded as a nestor of Polish studies in Wrocław.

Pietro Marchesani (February 8th, 1942 – November 29th, 2011)

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The author sketches a biography and academic as well as translation achievement of Pietro Marchesani, a professor at the University of Genoa. Marchesani was a graduate in Italian of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. He started his professional carrier as an Italian lecturer firstly in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) in the 1967/1968 academic year, and then at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow (1969–1971). The author’s special interest is the latter period of Marchesani’s biography and he shows how strongly Marchesani’s interests were guided on Polish literature and how close ties he established with Cracow’s academic community. As a result, Marchesani became a distinguished professor of Polish in Italy and a remarkable translator of contemporary Polish poets, namely Zbigniew Herbert, Czesław Miłosz, and above all Wisława Szymborska.

Reflections on a New Critical Edition of Słowacki’s Works

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The author of the paper ponders upon a new critical edition of Juliusz Słowacki’s works prepared by Jacek Brzozowski and Zbigniew Przychodniak: 1 – Poems (Wiersze) (2005) and 2 – Poems (Poematy) 2 vols. (2009). The author expresses his due recognition to the editors and discusses a number of issues at times departing from the limits of  traditional philology.

To the Editor-in-Chief
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