Issue: 4/2022

Pamiętnik Literacki 4 / 2022

Dedication to Professor Aleksandra Okopień-Sławińska

Bibliographical Review 4/2022

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Co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund – a state special purpose fund.

 

Trouble Spots
Leopold Buczkowski’s War Spaces

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The paper attempts to reconstruct Leopold Buczkowski’s complicated war biography, which today remains the least penetrated period of his life. Resorting to the available sources, especially the ascertainments by Justyna Staroń, Zygmunt Trziszka, Jan Tomkowski, and Hanna Kirchner, as well as including Buczkowski’s own statements, the author of the sketch reconstructs the life of Buczkowski until the outbreak of the World War II: the history of September campaign of 1939, the years he spent in the village Podkamień, conspiracy, participation in the Warsaw Uprising, as well as after the war when he produced and completed “Czarny potok” (“Black Torrent”). Questioning for the unclear places in Buczkowski’s life, the author strives to restore the most probable train of events and points at those issues that deserve closer attention in future studies.

Leo Lipski: from Internal Topography to Imagined Geography

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The article is an attempt to read the works of Leo Lipski (unlike until now) through spatial categories and geopoetical tools. It points out to the significant evolution taking place in this writing, which consisted in moving away from penetrating internal experiences to geographic dominants organising the meanings of subsequent works. Referring to the concepts previously introduced by researchers in different contexts (Małgorzata Czermińska “autobiographical site” and Edward Said “imagined geography”), the author proposes supplementing the taxonomy of the former with a category of “traumatic place”, while in the case of the latter he indicates the potential of employing other sets of applicability. In Lipski’s prose, the imagined geography manifests itself through the creation of a “place imagined as probable”. These categories also allow Lipski’s prose to be seen as a special case of literature of the exiled.

A Mythical Novel about the Holocaust
Introductory Remarks

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The reviewer of Sławomir Jacek Żurek’s book “Odpamiętywanie polsko-żydowskie. Szkice – studia – interpretacje” (“Polish-Jewish Re-Remembering. Sketches – Studies – Interpretations”, 2021) accurately discusses the literary-historical and literary-theoretical context connected with this publication. She focuses on its synthetic character and numerous examples of incohesion, both of which make Żurek’s study ambitious in its intention but split and understated in many places.

“...dziś w stanie pola na tablicy nie ma ani jednego juda [...Today on the Board Not a Single Jude]”
“Erntefest [Harvest]” in the Prison Jargon of Majdanek

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The paper reports on a crime on 18.000 Jews in Majdanek Nazi concentration camp. Hidden under a codename “Erntefest [Harvest]”, the execution took place on November 3rd, 1943, and was the last stage of Operation Reinhard, consistent acts of murdering Jews in the General Government. The crime was recounted in dozens of camp memories, mostly unpublished, and a dozen or so pieces in prison jargon, the latter of which form the structure of the present paper. It is, first and foremost, a set of letters by Henryk Jerzy Szcześniewski and by Henryk Wieliczański (Izrael Halpern), both corresponding with their relatives with the help of civil workers employed in the camp. It is an excellent example of camp personal document literature.

A Holocaust of Genres According to Wiktor Woroszylski or (No) More than Exemplification

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The paper is a multicontextual interpretation of Wiktor Woroszylski’s poem “Zagłada gatunków” (“A Holocaust of Genres”), written in 1966 and published four years later in a volume under the same title. The author of the paper relates the piece to the realia and circumstances in which it was composed (including the anti-Semitic ambiance), compares it to Woroszylski’s other pieces, especially to the silva rerum autobiographical prose “Literatura. Powieść” (“Literature. A Novel,” 1977), and moves on to prove that the poem foreruns the consideration about the analogy drawn between the mechanisms of exclusion of some ethnic groups leading to their extermination and permission to kill animals. Stressing the significance of the innovative in its time and now falsely forgotten book by Antonina Leńkowa “Oskalpowana Ziemia” (“Scalped Earth,” 1961) to which Woroszylski directly refers, the author of the paper points at the timelessness and strength of the poem to the literary studies reflection over the Anthropocene (the poem can even be thought of as the first Polish piece to reflect on the issue), it interestingly resonates with the works by, inter alia, Ewa Bińczyk, Dipesh Chakrabarty and Elizabeth Kolbert, and at the same time preserves the relics of anthropocentric optics, giving insight into the limits of collective and individual memory. Nonetheless, in subversive reading it proves to be a powerful voice for deanthropocentrisation of genocide studies.

On Wiktor Woroszylski’s Poem “Kobiety internowane” (“Interned Women”)

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The paper offers an attempt to insight into the experience of internment from a woman’s perspective. The starting point here is Wiktor Woroszylski’s poem “Kobiety internowane” (“Interned Women”), composed in the poetics typical of that of martial law (characterised in the papers by Danuta Dąbrowska and Janusz Sławiński). The poem and Woroszylski’s notes from his diary written in the intern camp are made subject of parallel reading alongside notes and memories recounted by women. The works are not only a testimony, but also a document of female and male authors’ awareness, all of which strengthens the stereotypical image of gender roles division and takes advantage of ready-made clichés in building one’s own account of the situations that proves vital for the country and nation.

“Red Evas”
Soviet Emancipation in Polish Interwar Press (Introductory Examination)

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The paper surveys the figures and images of the Russian women reproduced in the Polish interwar press discourse. It is an attempt to reinterpret the meanings of the images by deconstructing the gender stereotypes that deform them. The assessment analysis of the emancipation in the Soviet Union recorded in the Polish interwar press concentrates on describing the phenomenon of emancipation through work and through adopting the male roles, e.g. military ones, by the Russian women. In this manner, the Polish-Russian cultural contacts are distorted as being entangled into the Polish models of gender roles and the ideas of Polish identity supporting the roles, deformed by the male version of the Polish national canon, as well as patriarchal social order based on interrelation of power, strength and violence.

Kępiński’s Narration on a Man

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The article attempts to insight into the books by an eminent psychiatrist Antoni Kępiński from a communicative and stylistic perspective that has been disregarded to this date. It also is a reconstruction of a man’s world image and mental illness in Kępiński’s work viewed as an effect of disorder in information exchange between the subject and external world. In his description of an illness, Kępiński took advantage of medical terminology, though also employed metaphors and comparisons allowing to better comprehend the mental state of the ill person, the two latter of which undoubtedly added to the popularity of his work among those readers who were not professionally related to psychiatry and psychology. The style of Kępiński’s books was motivated by the strive to write about the illness and the ill in such a mode so as not to reduce the illness to one category from among the valid medical classifications, which, in turn, restores the ill’s subjectivity.

Anti-Semitic Context of the Meaning of the Verb “Obrażać” (“to Abuse”)
A Historical-Cognitive Explanation

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The article aims to present the model of changing the meaning of the verb obrażać (to abuse) based on the concept of mental spaces developed within the framework of cognitive linguistics. Adopting the assumption that the processes of changing the meanings of lexemes are induced by the changes of linguistic pictures of the world encoded in mental spaces of language users induces formulating a hypothesis that the spread of anti-Semitic (anti-Judaist) convictions in the 15th and 16th c. brought about the specification process of the verb under scrutiny. It can be demonstrated that in effect of primary mental space amalgamation of the verb obrażać (to abuse) with the mental space of the lexeme obrzezać (to circumcise) the present significance of the verb in question has been constructed with the meaning referring to an act of abusing somebody.

Secrets of Stefan Żeromski’s Family
Sensations from Moscow

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The paper was produced as a response to an unusual plea located in the Russian Internet in September 2019. Yuliya Yakovleva, a Russian-born Muscovite, a great-granddaughter of Aleksandra Karpova, née Żeromska, enquired Internet users about their knowledge whether her great-grandmother mentioned above might have been a sister of the Polish writer Stefan Żeromski, and she followed with a request about the delivery of further information about this case. As a consequence of a chain of sympathetic intermediaries, the author of the paper entered into contact with Yakovleva and came into possession of numerous information and scans of biographical documents, which resulted in writing the article about the dramatic life of Żeromski’s elder sister.

If Not Humanities Scholars, Then Who?
A Few Remarks on Leo Lipski’s “Proza wybrana” (“Selected Prose”) (Wołowiec 2022)

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The paper discusses the ethical aspects of issuing Leo Lipski’s volume “Proza wybrana” (“Selected Prose”) by Czarne Publishing House, prepared by Agnieszka Maciejowska, and in doing so it devotes attention to the issues of preserving the waiting period for launching Lipski’s intimate letters to Irena Lewulis. The letters in question, following the will of Łucja Gliksman, the writer’s friend and carer, were to have been revealed to readers 25 years after transferring them to the Archives of Polish Emigration, University Library of Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. The letters appeared on the market earlier, in 2022. Thus, there emerges the question why the edition fails to comply with the will of the letter’s donor.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Thinking Against
Review: Tomasz Żukowski, Pod presją. Co mówią o Zagładzie ci, którym odbieramy głos. Warszawa 2021

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The author reviews Tomasz Żukowski’s monograph “Pod presją. Co mówią o Zagładzie ci, którym odbieramy głos” („Under the Pressure. What Do Those We Silence Say about the Holocaust?”): reveals the advantages and weaknesses of thinking against the accepted convictions about the Polish-Jewish relations during the World War II.

Without Mediatory Interpretation
Review: Sławomir Jacek Żurek, Odpamiętywanie polsko-żydowskie. Szkice – studia – interpretacje. Lublin 2021. „Źródła i Monografie”. [T.] 517

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The reviewer of Sławomir Jacek Żurek’s book “Odpamiętywanie polsko-żydowskie. Szkice – studia – interpretacje” (“Polish-Jewish Re-Remembering. Sketches – Studies – Interpretations”, 2021) accurately discusses the literary-historical and literary-theoretical context connected with this publication. She focuses on its synthetic character and numerous examples of incohesion, both of which make Żurek’s study ambitious in its intention but split and understated in many places.

The First Reconnaissance
Review: Arkadiusz Morawiec, Literatura polska wobec ludobójstwa. Rekonesans. Łódź 2018

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Arkadiusz Morawiec’s book „Literatura polska wobec ludobójstwa. Rekonesans” (“Polish Literature towards Genocide. Reconnaissance,” 2018) is a collection of studies about the texts on the Holocaust and other crimes of genocide (from the slaughter of the Armenians to the massacre in Somalia). The author focuses on a philological analysis, brilliantly tracing selected threads and presenting their origins, though refraining from interpretation. The studies, referring to particular texts or their pieces, do not form a panorama of the topic in Polish literature. In a similar mode, the book neither poses questions about the relations between narrations of the Holocaust and the narrations of other acts of genocide (those that took place away from Poland), nor about cultural circumstances of such narrations.

Integrating Ficowski
Review: Jerzy Kandziora, Poeta w labiryncie historii. Studia o pisarskich rolach Jerzego Ficowskiego. Gdańsk 2017

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The review is a discussion about Jerzy Kandziora’s book “Poeta w labiryncie historii. Studia o pisarskich rolach Jerzego Ficowskiego” (“A Poet in the Labyrinth of History. Studies on Jerzy Ficowski’s Roles as a Writer,” 2017). Kandziora’s main assumption was rejection of hierarchising Ficowski’s activities, due to which the reader receives both a complete study of the poet’s works and a guide to his publications about Bruno Schulz, as well as to setting up the gypsological project. The reviewer highlights the key role of Kandziora’s ability of micrological reading of individual poems and discerning attractive strategies of writing about Schulz’s biography. The book is a basic study for Schulz’s talent admirers and that of Ficowski himself who, which Kandziora evidences, exploited Schulz’s imaginery and made it one of the major confluences of his own art.

Fictionally aout the Holocaust: Polish, Czech, and Slovak Literature
Review: Handbook of Polish, Czech, and Slovak Holocaust Fiction. Works and Contexts. Edited by Elisa-Maria Hiemer, Jiří Holý, Agata Firlej, and Hana Nichtburgerová. Berlin–Boston 2021

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The review examines an English language collaborative publication “Handbook of Polish, Czech, and Slovak Holocaust Fiction. Works and Contexts” (2021). The reviewer explores the basic threads of the book and discusses its place against the background of other recent academic publications about the Holocaust literature in Central and Central-Eastern Europe. Essential role in the article is played by an analysis of methodological framework of the volume and the functionality of its structure in reference to the models of an encyclopaedia, lexicon, or dictionary.

A New Synthesis of Labour Camp Literature
Review: Tadeusz Sucharski, Literatura polska z sowieckiego „domu niewoli”. Poetyka. Aksjologia. Twórcy. Kraków 2021. „Biblioteka Pana Cogito”

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The paper discusses Tadeusz Sucharski’s monograph “Literatura polska z sowieckiego »domu niewoli«” (“Polish Literature from the Soviet »House of Captivity«”), currently the most serious synthesis of labour camp prose and poetry accessible in Polish.

He Is Coming Back!... Stanisław Przybyszewski’s Poetic Prose in Critical Edition
Review: Stanisław Przybyszewski, Proza poetycka. Pentalogia: Requiem aeternam. – Z cyklu Wigilii. – De profundis. – Androgyne. – Nad morzem. Wstęp, edycja, komentarze i dodatek krytyczny Gabriela Matuszek-Stec. (Kraków 2022). Dzieła literackie. Edycja krytyczna w jedenastu tomach. T. 1

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The first volume of critical edition of Stanisław Przybyszewski’s writings, which includes poetic prose, is an exceptional achievement of Polish scientific editorship prepared by Gabriela Matuszek-Stec. The review highlights the content matter and textological significance of the edition. The book contains Przybyszewski’s five epic poems: “Requiem aeternam”, “Z cyklu Wigilii” (“Vigils”), “De profundis”, “Androgyne”, and “Nad morzem” (“At the Seaside”), and is composed of Polish language texts and fragments of their versions in German. Matuszek-Stec foreworded the text with a comprehensive introduction and authored numerous commentaries, as well as considered and carefully reconstructed textual variants of the poems. Przybyszewski’s pieces are presented here in their full complexity as pieces of great cognitive valour and high artistic values.

Unveiling the Canon of Hungarian Literature
Review: Kinga Piotrowiak-Junkiert, Od idylli do ironii. Literatura węgierska wobec Zagłady w latach 1944–1948. Poznań 2020

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The review highlights the pioneering character of Kinga Piotrowiak-Junkiert’s study “Od idylli do ironii. Literatura węgierska wobec Zagłady w latach 1944–1948” („From Idyll to Irony. Hungarian Literature on the Holocaust between 1944–1948”, 2020), which can be regarded as the most crucial recently published book on Hungarian literature on the war and the Holocaust. Such assessment results from the fact that the author not only managed to collect the texts which to this day have not been subject of scrutiny, but also made an attempt to rudimentarily reconstruct the reception of selected works. Piotrowiak-Junkiert recreated the awareness of those writers about the Holocaust who later either collaborated with the communist regime or were banned from printing. Regardless of that, each of them formed their own language to narrate about the borderline experiences.

A Few Remarks on Maria Prussak’s Article “Zmierzch Edycji Krytycznych?” (“Twilight of Critical Editions?”)
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