Pamiętnik Literacki 1 / 2022
Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Fund of Culture Promotion, of the subsidies set up in games included into the state monopoly, pursuant to art. 80, section 5, of the Act of November 19th, 2009, on games of chance.
Between Politics and Social Practice in Some Points
Pre-Text to the Discussion on Polish Studies in the World of New Media and New Cultural Tendencies
Kazimierz Brodziński in Defence of University
The paper is devoted to an analysis of a 1826 speech “O powołaniu i obowiązkach młodzieży akademickiej” (“On Vocation and Duties of University Students”) delivered by Kazimierz Brodziński (1791–1835), Polish literature professor at the Royal University of Warsaw. The speech intended to explain the students the system of studies and contained pieces of advice about the student’s individual work and conformation to the University’s rules and regulations. The paper additionally had another layer, unnoticed by scholars to this date, namely a voice in the dispute about the future of university. Facing the plans of the Department of Education that aimed to split the University into specialist schools, a part of which was to be located outside Warsaw, Brodziński stresses the unity of university teaching and the importance of general subjects as, for example, philosophy or literary history. Brodziński also kept clear distance from the then system of supervising university students. His views on university didactics are confronted with the conceptions of Józef Kasalanty Szaniawski (1764–1843), the State’s Councillor and a conservative politician, who was in charge of education of the Kingdom of Poland.
The text refers to the diagnoses of relationships between the body, print, and modernity in Honoré de Balzac’s “Lost Illusions”. As based on the cultural history of the book and the circles associated with its production, the author attempts to analyse how Balzac evokes and reformulates the modern division between the spiritual work of writers-creators and the physical work of printers-craftsmen, and reveals the physical and material production of texts as a process constituting the social background of modern literature. She assumes that the dualism of the body and text, materiality and semioticity of literature, is not only the result of specific phenomena in the field of the history of ideas, and not an effect—as Walter J. Ong claimed—of the very visuality of a massively reproduced, reader-oriented book. On the basis of the recognition of Balzac himself, she argues that this dualism is the work of processes of developing capitalism, which, through the material production of illusions of “pure,” detached from the body, creativity, conceals certain economic and social mechanisms, deciding, i.a., on the formative function of modern literature.
The paper juxtaposes “Borem, lasem…” (“Through Forest and Woods…”, 1945) and “Ciężar” (“Burden”, 1955), two Tadeusz Różewicz’s prose publications that recollect his experience as a member of a partisan unit of Armia Krajowa (Home Army) at the time of World War II. Formally, the pieces are variants of the same text reedited in the year 1955 in connection with book publication (in the collection “Opadły liście z drzew” <”The Leafs Have Fallen from Trees”>), but the changes are so profound and meaningful in the semantic sphere that the versions ultimately give a dissimilar image of the war. In the mid-1950s literary critics of Różewicz express the opinion that the poet reedited his piece in a way that harmonises with the then changes—linked to post-Stalinist thaw—in perceiving World War II and in appraising its literary accounts. Różewicz supported the changes and co-created them with the then literary choices of his, including the crucial one: “rewriting” his own pieces composed shortly after the war.
The article is an insightful description of demonstrations organised in many Polish cities by Strajk Kobiet (All-Poland Women’s Strike) at the end of the year 2020 and at the beginning of 2021 viewed as a cultural phenomenon. The demonstrations and manifestations were shows and performances in their nature, and made use of the language that was severely criticised in political discourse connected with these events, primarily by the commentators who negated the assumptions of the protests (public television, right-wing press). The use of the slogan in the demonstrations and communicative aspect of the protests brought about substantial groupings cultural taxonomy and public communication. Using slogans of vulgar character, swear-words as well as postulate and wish formulas aimed at a symbolic exclusion of the present political power that shortly before the protests of Strajk Kobiet (All-Poland Women’s Strike) introduced to the Polish law a complete ban of abortion. Communicative and semiotic aspects of demonstrations can be included into the order of vernacular culture as they retain the features and properties attached to it. The analysis of the protests was carried out with semiotic tools and the methodology applied to public communication sociology.
On “Komunia” (“Communion”) and “Boże Ciało” (“Corpus Christi”)—not only Film Studies Remarks
The authors of the article introduce the apocryphal form as a useful tool in analysis and interpretation of the film. “Komunia” (“Communion”) (a documentary directed by Anna Zamecka, 2016) and “Boże Ciało” (“Corpus Christi”) (a feature film directed by Jan Komasa, 2019) are the examples of the apocryphal form in contemporary culture. The authors are of the opinion that the apocryphal forms change medium but even so they reflect the will of creation alternative forms of thinking about religion. The film, treated as a medium of literature, is a source of hidden or forgotten representations of dominant religious discourses. Colloquial thinking is a dominant form of cognition in this context.
The paper reflects upon the nature of the poetic refrain, which in common understanding is mainly a repetition. The author of the paper is convinced that the refrain is not only a repetition or a return, but first and foremost a form of identity that is not identical. To illustrate the thesis, the author recalls and discusses one of common Scandinavian ballads and demonstrates that the semantics of refrain changes as the text develops.
A Genetic Approach
The author presents the bilingual archives of Jan Brzękowski (1903–1983) from the perspective of genetic translation studies. Drawing upon the fields of genetic criticism and translation studies, this hybrid methodology allows the author to analyse the role of self-translation in the development of Brzękowski’s French-language poetics. Moreover, it sheds light on the cultural context of bilingual creation often practised by émigré poets. The article includes detailed information about Brzękowski’s archives and offers preliminary reflections on the relationship between translation and literary creation in the output of other Polish writers.
The Correspondence between Edward Abramowski and Emilia née Andronowska
Despite a growing interest in the radical Polish intelligentsia of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, relatively little is known about their personal lives and negotiating intimate relationships. Edward Abramowski is a conspicuous example of an influential and popular political activist whose biography still contains many gaps. This article examines the correspondence between him and his second wife, Emilia, née Andronowska. Emilia was the daughter of a Russian mother and a Polish father exiled to Siberia after the uprising of 1863. She met Abramowski in Geneva, where she studied, and they married in 1901. Their relationship went through different stages. There were periods of love and periods of friendship, when the couple lived separately and addressed each other as “little brother” and “little sister.” Their letters reveal a close and “modern” marriage relationship in which both parties did not adhere to traditional gender roles.
The article focuses on two Polish literary scholars, Manfred Kridl and Wiktor Weintraub, who, after leaving Poland during World War II, lived and worked in exile in the United States of America. In order to describe their postwar activities and mutual relations, attention is paid to the published and unpublished works of the two scholars, their correspondence, and other documents deposited in library archives. Despite the difference in age, Kridl and Weintraub had much in common in their academic pursuits: as historians of Polish literature they both had similar interests and both worked as professors at prestigious American universities (Kridl at Columbia and Weintraub at Harvard). These facts, as well as the scholars’ attempts to collaborate with each other, are among the topics covered in the article. The other issues discussed here include the contrast between the two scholars, especially Kridl’s critical evaluation of Weintraub’s research efforts and Kridl’s concern for literary theory to which Weintraub seemed indifferent. In assessing their postwar scholarly activities, the argument is presented that despite the adverse circumstances of the life in exile both Kridl and Weintraub were remarkably successful. Their highest achievements lay in Polish literary history and in strengthening Polish studies in America.
The article contains a presentation and an edition of a 19th c. autobiographical piece in a dialogue form entitled “Przyczyny melancholii. (Rozmowa)” (“Reasons of Melancholy. <A Conversation>”) by Barbara Iłłakowicz (1856–1893). The piece, found in a private archive, is crucial not only as a document of its time and as a source that enriches the state of art about family relations of the poetess Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna, the author’s daughter. It is first and foremost an interesting herstory document of the 19thc. Poland and Lithuania: a testimony of personal and professional dilemmas of a woman of noble-yeoman origin and earning her living by her own work. Regardless of emotional and partially financial dependency on a male, Barbara Iłłakowicz does not resign from subjective autonomy and agency. The text openly touches such issues as, e.g., abortion and a woman’s right to decide about herself.
Review: Joanna Schiller-Walicka, Nauki humanistyczne na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim. Pierwsze stulecie 1816–1915. – Nauki humanistyczne na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim. Drugie stulecie 1915–2016. Warszawa 2020. „Monumenta Universitatis Varsoviensis. 1816–2016”
The essay is written on the margin of two volumes devoted to the humanities in a series of books published to commemorate the 200 Years of the University of Warsaw. The author discusses the issues placed in the articles and interviews with professors that both volumes contain. His special interest is placed on the shaping of scientific reflection as a separate discipline of thinking, as well as on longevity of some issues and on lessening the importance of other ones. He is preoccupied with the role of the University of Warsaw as, on the one hand, a tool used by the Russians in Poland’s Russification and, on the other hand, with the place of the university in national life. He also focuses his attention on the conditions of conducting studies in the circumstances the scholars experienced and the university’s functioning against the political context. Each of the aforementioned matters reflected the expansion of individual academic disciplines developed at the university. A review of the disciplines as research and didactic fields is intrinsic value of the volumes in question.
Review: Krzysztof Skibski, Poezja jako literatura. Relacje między elementami języka poetyckiego w wierszu wolnym. Poznań 2017. Seria „Filologia Polska”. Nr 184
The review discusses Krzysztof Skibski’s book “Poetry as an Iterature. The Relationship between Elements of Poetic Language and Free Verse”. In the reviewer’s opinion, it is an innovative study of non-numerical poem seen not from the perspective of deficit (regularity), but by the features peculiar to that form that is non-existent in other versification systems. The researcher successfully employs both linguistic and literary tools, as well as develops new cognitive constructs. Multiple (iterative) reading, connected with, e.g., form spaciousness, verse relations, presence of verse ellipses, and phraseological reminiscences are made the key to the free verse reception.
Review: Marek Pieniążek, Polonistyka performatywna. O humanistycznych technologiach wytwarzania światów. Kraków (2018)
The review refers to Marek Pieniążek’s book „Polonistyka performatywna. O humanistycznych technologiach wytwarzania światów” (“Performative Polish Studies. On Humanistic Technologies of Creating Worlds”, 2018). The reviewer focuses his attention on the title term of performativity and its applicability in the contexts of various problems within the humanities, including Polish Studies didactics. Then, he goes on to investigate the advantages and shortcomings of “performative education,” which he sets against “textocentrism” understood in structuralist spirit, and also reflects on the possibilities of employing Pieniążek’s conception into teaching practice. Ultimately, he discusses other fields of applicability of “performative Polish Studies,” e.g., into social space dynamics, literary life in the age of the Internet, the trend art and science.