Issue 2/2008

Pamiętnik Literacki 2 / 2008

A Dispute between Mickiewicz and Krasiński over the Place of Jews among Poles

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The article includes an analysis of Mickiewicz’s and Krasiński’s attitude towards the Israelites, understood as an ethnic-religious community, and presents a long-lasting argument of the two writers concerning the settlement of Polish-Jewish relationship. For over two decades Mickiewicz worked on the concept of Polish-Jewish reconciliation, and opted for giving the Israelites in the future Poland a full citizenship. He also supported the need of ecumenic closeness of christianity and judaism. Krasiński saw the Jews, also those converted, as opponents of Polishness and enemies of christianity; he  predicted their long confrontation with the noble-country nation. In the modern judaism Krasiński discerned the religion contaminated with the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ. In Krasiński’s view, religious anti-judaism mingles with elements of antisemitism. The various approaches to the Jews derive partially from the opposing projects of national community which both poets professed. Mickiewicz was close to the idea of nation being a community of free and equal people, not differentiated by sexes, ethnicity, and religion, while Krasiński turned to ethnocentric formula of nation as an entity composed of two classes (nobility and country), a being characterised by tribal, cultural and religious borderlines.

“The Light of The Century Shall Break the Vehemences and Superstitions”. Political Commentary by Ludwik Lubliner and Joachim Lelewel in the Context of “Jewish War” of 1859

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The author analyzes a relatively poorly described in academic papers brochures by Ludwik Lubliner and by Joachim Lelewel issued in response to 1859 Polish-Jewish disagreements brought about by “Gazeta Warszawska” (“Warsaw Gazette”). Most interesting aspect of the brochures in question is their polemic character against the anti-semitic issues present in Polish political commentaries of the 50’s of 19th century, and conforming to such understanding of patriotism whih favors admitting Polish nationality by the various ethnic and religious groups and rejects completely the opposition between “us” – Catholic Poles and “foreign” – Jewish. The anti-semitic discourse, based on historically repeated stereotypical vehemences and superstitions, was, especially by Lelewel, succinctly undermined and demistified.

“Will We Be to Ourselves as a Monument Grabbed from the Covers of Centuries?” Traces of Extermination Experience in Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński’s Poetry. An Attempt at Comprehension

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The article is devoted to Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński’s literary creativity. It is an attempt at discerning in his poems both the traces of Extermination experience, following and unifying them, and ultimately understanding their comprehensive meaning which they convey. The analysis of Baczyński’s poetry was carried out chronologically, starting from interpretation of the 1940 texts, when the building of the “typhus endangered territory” started, until the reading of text produced in the mid 1943, when the Jewish Uprising already failed. The reflection of the author of Conflagration Song was based, among others, on the psychological context. The knowledge on the Holocaust mechanisms adopted from social psychology allows to describe in this optic Baczyński unique attitude to traumatic occurrences which he witnessed and participated in.

The False Messiah. On One Jewish Topos in Julian Stryjkowski’s Literary Activity

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The study on the false messiah is a presentation of Julian Stryjkowski’s literary activity through one literary prism, and simultaneously an attempt at approaching its most important context, namely Jewish literature, theology, and culture. The first part of the paper is devoted to specifying the border character of Stryjkowski’s writings. It also shows the richness of messiah topics in XX century Jewish literature as well as the essence and history of Jewish messianism. The second part of the paper is interpretative. The collected material allows to formulate the following conclusions: 1) the false messiah is the meeting point for all important plots of Stryjkowski’s writings; 2) the intertextual dialogue is kept mainly with Jewish literature and culture; 3) the messianism, in the writer’s view, always leads to a failure, and in the final analysis contributes to a man’s constraint, and even to a totalitarian captivation.

History of the Holocaust and (Non)Literature – Marek Bieńczyk’s “Tworki” in the Context of Post-Traumatic Culture

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In the first part of her study, the author characterises the context of cultural experience of so-called “second generation” in relation to the history of the Holocaust. She enumerates and critically discusses the various categories employed in the course of writing of and about the Shoah in the Western World. Particular stress is put on psychoanalysis and the possibilities of its uses and abuses in the discourse on historical trauma.

The second part of the study is devoted to a close-reading of Marek Bieńczyk’s novel. The author reaches to numerous sources and fields of reference in her reading of this inter-textual narrative.

The final part, a postscript, includes a concise polemics with a recently published interpretation of the novel, concentrated on the ethics of representation.

Why Empirical Study of Literature. Why Not?
Translated from English by Agata Zawiszewska

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In the first part of the paper, Siegfried J. Schmidt classifies and describes the objections (methodological, epistemological and metatheoretical) to contemporary empirical study of literature, and his counterarguments. In the second part, he presents the results of a research project devoted to tracing the types of objections which can be found in the reviews of empirical literary studies. Schmidt sees the following motives of resistance towards empirical literary studies as the most important: rejection, within their framework, the distinction between humanistic sciences and natural ones; desire for establishing a precise terminology and research methods that brings outcomes easily verifiable by all, who use the same procedure; transference of attention from a literary text – the focus of literary studies – to a literary text understood as an element of a complicated system of “literature;” the statement that the text’s interpretation is not the most important problem in literary studies but one of the many problems of it; the promotion of such concept of culture in which apart from the traditional “high” domains as religion, science, art, there is a room for equally important domains scornfully referred to as “popular culture” or “media culture.” The analysis done by the author shows that the objections in questions depend on the individual competencies and the reviewers’ prejudice rather than the established research stance in the discipline they represent.

Sienkiewicz and the Jews. A Recognition

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It has become a common saying in the history of literature that Sienkiewicz in his literary creativity stepped out from the treatment of the Polish Jews. Though he failed to create an expressive Jewish character in his fiction, he devoted many texts to Jewish problems.

In the first part of the paper, the author discusses or lists in chronological order the texts in question (including one unpublished so far), while in the second part – also chronologically – presents the Jewish press opinions on our most popular 19th and 20th century writer, as well as the reactions of the Polish press to them and to the issue generally referred to as “Jews on Sienkiewicz.”

An attempt was made to present the evolution of the author of Trilogy on the Jewish society inhabiting Poland from the stereotypical picture of “non-productive shady businessmen” living at “our” cost to regarding the Jews as a valuable denominational minority the assimilation of which must be worked on.

Marek Eiger – Stefan Napierski

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The text is a reconstruction of Marek Eiger’s biography – a figure of the famous inter-war industrialist family, owners of “Portland-Cement” concern. Marek Eiger made his name in the history of Polish literature as Stefan Napierski – an outstanding critic, poet, novelist, aphorist, translator and editor of the excellent bimonthly “Ateneum.” The artist’s biography, marked in many dictionaries and literary encyclopedias by the date of his birth (March 15th, 1899) and death (April 2nd, 1940), and the dates of editions of his books and articles, is here supplemented with pieces of information on his life and individuality of this prematurely and tragically died author.

Editorial Aspects of Leopold Buczkowski’s Literary Creativity. A Recognition

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The author of the paper describes most important editorial problems of Leopold Buczkowski’s works. The researcher performs an analysis of Buczkowski’s literary creation, refering both to the already published texts as well as the ones treasured in the collection of Museum of Literature.

The subject of detailed considerations is two novels Rough and Black Torrent. As for the former, the author presents the trials and tribulations with the censorship, reconstructs the fragments deleted by the censorship and reflects upon the origin of the text. The latter is discussed from the point of view of the difficulties caused by the reading of the text. The author of the paper attempts to answer the question how the text can be made more comprehensible with the use of the tools possessed by the editor.


“The Intelligence and the Atoms.” On Stanisław Lem’s Unpublished Collection of Stories

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The article discusses the earliest stories by Stanisław Lem. A new research perspective is introduced by a remark on The Intelligence and the Atoms collection publishing failure (1949), found in censorship register offices of the Polish People’s Republic. The author is of the opinion that the stopping of this text by the Office of Press, Publication and Show Control greatly influences Lem’s decision to choose the subject matter of the fantastic.

Review: Maciej Szargot, Opowieści niesamowite Józefa Bogdana Dziekońskiego. Katowice 2004

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The text analyzes the book, whose author interprets Józef Bogdan Dziekoński’s incredible stories in the setting of incredibility and fantasy in the literary creativity of the second generation of Polish romantic poets.

Review: Jerzy Jarzębski, Prowincja centrum. Przypisy do Schulza. (Kraków 2005). – Jerzy Jarzębski, Natura i teatr. 16 tekstów o Gombrowiczu. (Kraków 2007)

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It is a review of Jerzy Jarzębski’s last two books, namely Prowincja Centrum. Przypisy do Schulza and Natura i teatr. 16 tekstów o Gombrowiczu. In his exceptionally original analytic method, the author presents comprehensible and synthetic interpretations of the two classics of Polish literature. The clarifications prove to be close to the commentaries made in the field of influences of post-structural methodologies.

Review: Wspomnienia o Leopoldzie Buczkowskim. Pod redakcją Jana Tomkowskiego. Ossa 2005

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The text analyses the book edited by Jan Tomkowski commemorating Leopold Buczkowski’s hundredth birthday. The volume comprises around twenty remembrance articles, a dozen or so letters by the author of Black Torrent and a short chronology of Buczkowski’s life and artistic creativity. Moreover, the end of the book includes photographs of the author and his family and his fine arts works.

Review: Stanisław Rogala, Twórczość literacka Kornela Filipowicza. Kielce 2005

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Stanisław Rogala – the author of the book – interprets the prose in question using the traditional notions of poetics, while the reviewer questions this assumption and claims that Filipowicz’s texts belong to fairly distinct literary-history epochs, and thus the necessity of employing different poetics in their treatment. Instead of recognizing the features typical of socialist realist literature, it is worth examining the hidden but more significant relations of the then texts to the particular genres (covering e.g. the idyll); similarly, instead of analyzing the short stories’ personal and auctorial narration, the tropological character of the texts responsible for their “poesy” was to be done. Another problem arises when it comes to the analysis of war and concentration camps narratives as this subject must not be presented in the same way as all the stories. The issue of such narratives influences the entire language of contemporary humanistic sciences, and hence it is essential to point at e.g. such elements of Filipowicz’s war experience which have been absent from the erstwhile reflection on the Holocaust.

Review: Elżbieta Janicka, Sztuka czy naród? Monografia pisarska Andrzeja Trzebińskiego. Kraków (2006)

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The review covers the first monograph on Andrzej Trzebiński’s literary creativity by Elżbieta Janicka. Resorting to extensive literature on the issue in question, he researcher critically discusses the most important questions on Trzebiński’s literary achievements.

Review: Tomasz Kunz, Strategie negatywne w poezji Tadeusza Różewicza. Od poetyki tekstu do poetyki lektury. Kraków (2005). „Modernizm w Polsce”. T. 9

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Tomasz Kunz’s book in question on negative strategies in Tadeusz Różewicz’s poetry is of a monographic character. The author sums up the state of research on Tadeusz Różewicz literary creativity and puts forward the new interpretative and methodological suggestions. Kunz’s book is interesting not only as a work in the history of literature but also as a testimony of the changes in structuralism – the most important trend in the Polish literary studies. It also shows equally its power and weakness.

Review: Alina Molisak, Judaizm jako los. Rzecz o Bogdanie Wojdowskim. Warszawa 2004

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The review deals with Alina Molisak’s monograph Judaism as Fortune on Bogdan Wojdowski. The book proves crucial for Polish literary studies as for a long time it lacked a comprehensive study of the author’s literary creativity, and especially its examination from a Jewish perspective, since Wojdowski is a Polish writer and almost whole his literary creativity deals with the Jewish world of the extermination years and after it.

Review: Bartłomiej Krupa, Wspomnienia obozowe jako specyficzna odmiana pisarstwa historycznego. Kraków (2006)

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The review discusses Bartłomiej Krupa’s book on concentration camp memories understood as a peculiar type of historical writing. The author examines the status of concentration camp texts (memories, diaries, and sensu stricto literary texts) using the post-modern methodology.

Review: Literatura i jej konteksty. Prace ofiarowane Profesorowi Czesławowi Kłakowi. Pod redakcją Joanny Rusin, Kazimierza Maciąga. Rzeszów 2005

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It is a review of a jubilee book issued to commemorate professor Czesław Kłak, a distinguished researcher in Polish literature, on the occasion of his 70th birthday.

The Editor Rectifies and Apologises
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