The Queer Objection of Juliusz Słowacki’s “Anhelli” in the Context of the Poem’s Attempted Continuations 1 / 2023
The article applies negative queer theory to investigate the Polish Romanticism. Employing selected terms of queer theory, namely the Child, reproductive futurism, and queer asexuality, it interprets Juliusz Słowacki’s “Anhelli” as a poem which links the rejection of future with asexuality. In this reading, Anhelli’s melancholy becomes a literary exemplification of alienation from the Symbolic, emptiness of fractured Lacanian subject, while the title character becomes a future-denying queer outcast. This claim is supported with the analysis of the endings added to “Anhelli” by Kornel Ujejski and by Wacław Gasztowtt, which indicate a cultural resistance towards the queer call to abandon the fantasy of stable meanings, complete identity, and better future.
On Bolesław Leśmian’s Cycle “Z księgi przeczuć” (“From the Book of Premonitions”) 1 / 2023
The paper is an analysis and interpretation of a nine-part Bolesław Leśmian’s poetic cycle “Z księgi przeczuć” (“From the Book of Premonitions”), published in 1902 in “Chimera”, and of a few other early pieces by the poet. Starting with “Epilog” (“Epilogue”) that completes the collection in which the speaking subject compares himself to God burning “on Sinai,” the author analyses the light motives present in the cycle, which leads to validate the opinion of Anna Czabanowska-Wróbel who states that Leśmian was inspired by Jewish mysticism, and to particularise this stance with Marranism (the poet at the age of nine converted with his father) and with a post-secular reflection upon secularising. The paper suggests two modes of reading of the cycle, namely a linear one in which it is viewed as a narration on identity transformation, and a concentric one in the light of which its central thought hidden topic is the problem of forgetting and changing name.
An Attempt at Interpreting Bolesław Leśmian’s “Dziewczyna” (“The Girl”) 1 / 2023
The author of the paper attempts to interpret Bolesław Leśmian’s “Dziewczyna” (“The Girl”). He begins with the rhythm―the vital issue for the poet that he saw as more important than the word level; in modern terminology―the verbomotoric level. The starting point for the poem’s reading is, nevertheless, versification analysis, and that was superbly carried out by Kazimierz Wyka. Mencwel relies on this analysis and also exceeds the “philosophical” distinguishments recurring in the subject literature. Similarly, he recalls Giambattista Vico’s concept of “poetic wisdom” and “austere metaphysics” to prove that “The Girl” is not a philosophical, but a mythological piece of writing. The article, to a possibly utmost detail, analyses the poem’s polyphonic construction and “bizarre” world presented in which the world and the other world intermingle and “participate” in each other. Towards the end of the poem the poet in a feasibly direct way, in his own voice, utters his message about the significance of mythologisation and about mythologisation being human and only human creation.
The paper is devoted to the literary pieces that in a polemical way refer to Czesław Miłosz’s “Piosenka o porcelanie” (“Song on Porcelain”). Kłosowski analyses here the poems by Stanisław Barańczak, Tadeusz Różewicz, and Zbigniew Herbert, each of whom takes up the motif of porcelain proposed by Miłosz, and who give their own contrasting visions of a man’s life and her/his devotion to material products (Barańczak), post-war poetry (Różewicz), or fragility as an aesthetic category through the prism of which one comprehends lyrical creativity (Herbert). The arbitrary catalogue of intertextual relationships demonstrates profound significance of Miłosz’s poem and the motif of porcelain derived from it in the work of Polish 20th century poets.
The author of the paper underscores that in Julian Przyboś’s piece Notre-Dame of Paris four times becomes the world’s vertical axis. It proves to be an exceptional crosspoint of the earth’s horizontal axis and the universe’s vertical axis, as in Jacob’s dream. The consequence of entering the temple through its door is expressed in the words: “The Interior pried me from the spire’s hook―in terror.” And the terror is a fundamental item of numinosum. A startling effect of the poet’s three-decade struggle with the most famous gothic cathedral of Paris seems to be his at least partially religious or only para-religious confession: “I made a plane pilgrimage to Notre-Dame de Paris as to The Beauty of Lourdes that never failed me […].”
The article sums up Witold Wirpsza’s presence on the pages of one of the most paramount periodicals of the Polish 20th century emigration. Following the decision of the Polish authorities that refused to prolong the validity of his passport, the writer stayed in West Berlin. Between 1972 and 1985 he published in the Paris “Kultura” (“Culture”) almost 60 pieces, including poems, essays, polemics, reviews, conversations, short stories, letters to editors, and open letters. The author of the article traces the publications, and discusses them in the context of Wirpsza’s correspondence with the other figures who prove influential for this monthly. The text in enriched by fragments of letters deposited in Berlin Archiv der Akademie der Künste. Wirpsza’s main respondent is Jerzy Giedroyc―the editor-in-chief of ”Culture.” Other authors of letters quoted in the paper are Gustaw Herling-Grudziński, Leszek Kołakowski, Józef Czapski, and Maria Danilewicz-Zielińska. Pawelec pictures Wirpsza in “Culture” as a writer of polemical temperament. In the circle of “Culture” he was a “well present” figure, especially in the first period of his cooperation with this journal. His activity clearly downtones in the 1980s due to health problems. The crowning of the writer’s “good presence” in “Culture” was a remembrance sketch published after his death in the monthly in question by Wiktor Woroszylski entitled “Imiennik” (“Namesake”).
Antique themes, which, as can be seen from the above review, occupied a certain place in the poetry of Bolesław Taborski, appeared in several quite distinctly different genre forms. First of all, we find in his collections of poems original works inspired by a certain Greek myth (e.g. the myth of the Argonauts, the myth of Sisyphus, or the myth of Ganymede). Another thematic category includes poems referring to a specific historical event (e.g. the burning of the Artemision in Ephesus by Herostrates, or Caesar crossing the Rubicon river). Further variety of genre in Taborski’s poetry collections are poetic “reviews” of Greek tragedies staged on contemporary stages, such as Euripides’ “Trojans and Electra” or Sophocles’ “Antigone.” One more variety are poetic records of the author’s reflections and thoughts on modern plays and operas with ancient themes, such as Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida” or “Antony and Cleopatra,” Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo” or Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”. Finally, there are the translations of poems by Roman poets Catullus and Propertius, and Anglo-Saxon poets. Generally speaking, quite numerous references to antiquity in Taborski’s poetry prove that it was one of the most important sources of inspiration for him and that antiquity, its myth, history, literature were living elements of contemporary culture. Antique themes in Taborski’s poetry serve not only to discover the truth about reality, to reveal its hidden layers, but also to uncover history, to show its dramatic limitations of Taborski’s struggle with history.
Eros and Sublimation in Janusz Pasierb’s Poetry 1 / 2023
The article analyses the poetic output of priest Janusz Pasierb as a homosexual text (in the view of German Ritz) which is antithetically complemented with the poet’s erstwhile reception interpreted in accordance with priestly poetry topos. In the suggested approach, the main figure in Pasierb’s poetry is epiphany of a handsome boy juxtaposed with his youth to the poems’ speaking subject―a middle-aged homosexual man.
Studies in anthropology of sounds is conveniently situated between the main sound narration produced by culture and anthropological experiences of a man: her/his biology, physiology, and mechanics. A sound, as a manifestation of behaviour―a sound event, becomes a part of a particular stream of behaviour and social activities all of which reflect a variety of cultural forms focused around diverse aspects of experiencing reality by a man and her/his relationship with the surrounding world expressed through behaviour patterns, habits and customs, traditions and rituals, reflected by social norms and standards, related to experiencing corporality (intimacy, sexuality, hygiene, illness, death, etc.), emotions, sensuality, etc. Sound corporality immersed in the text, on the one hand, is a part of the research perspective of somatopoetics and, on the other hand, it reaches for tools derived from the study of musicality of literature. As based on the example of solutions of contemporary Polish prose, the article tries to show how sound, as a strictly somatic experience, becomes a carrier of cultural meanings, an element of the code: not so much a sound, but a semantic gesture interpreting various phenomena existing in a given culture.
The author of this paper presents the uncollected to this day musical terms from Bruno Schulz’s cycles of stories “Sklepy cynamonowe” (“Cinnamon Shops”) and “Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą” (“Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass”). The collected lexis is divided into several categories and it shows that the number of musical terminology and its use proves vital in Schulz’s creating the world presented and his language.
The musical motifs in the discussed stories usually voice in three situations: in depictions of city space, including architecture, in protagonist characteristics, and in descriptions the sounds of nature―audiosphere. Skrzypczyk analyses and interprets selected prose fragments, including musical motifs such as the barrel organ. Musical metaphors and musical analogies make room for expressing the inexpressible, carry down the tension between the image and the world, and complement the world presented. Ultimately, Schulz employs not only single terms, but also verbal music―verbal description of the musical work. In her study, Skrzypczyk makes use of literary potential to express what is inexpressible, namely music, through which she uncovers some truth about the author and his sensitivity.
Writen and Spoken Word in Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna’s Poetry 1 / 2023
The article offers a new understanding of Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna’s poetry in the context of Hans Urlich Gumbrecht’s theory of clash of two cultures: the culture of presence and the culture of meaning, and of the philosopher’s corresponding concepts of discursive formations: oral and written. The author presents the juxtaposition of orality and literacy, typical of modernism, immersed in the technology of printing and the postulate of universal literacy, which significantly influenced the meaning and sound values of Iłłakowiczówna’s poetry. At the same time, as the article demonstrates, the desire for presence and the means of expression associated with it make the poet’s work original and unique.
A Few Remarks on “Porgi, amor” (“Pour, o Love”) and “Dove sono i bei momenti” (“Where Are Those Happy Moments”) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Lorenzo Da Ponte, and Stanisław Barańczak 1 / 2023
Problems of vocal translations are made subject of the paper. Following Stanisław Barańczak, translation text for singing consists in the greatest language mastery and also is constrained by a number of rules and regulations. Even the smallest structural-semantic deviation from the original may lead to consequences when confronted with music. Barańczak’s vocal translations are seen as a separate phenomenon, and also as an interpretive challenge not only for the performer, but first and foremost for music-literature borderline researcher. An analysis of Countess Almaviva’s songs reveals that Rosina in the original and in the translation are different characters. Barańczak creates a figure that is not conflicting to its prototype, but functions complementarily in a new intermedial reception mode.
The paper is devoted to Stanisław Barańczak’s translations to music, specifically the translations produced for a few dozens of years and contained in the volume “Stanisław Barańczak słucha arcydzieł” (“Stanisław Barańczak Is Listening to Masterpieces,” 2016). The author of the paper explicates the conditions of the original concept of listening/writing, starting, on the one hand, from the practice of listening to music referred to as ascoltando (the term derived from Jean-Luc Nancy) and, on the other hand, from the practice of mediated listening and acousmatic experience (in the context of Pierre Schaeffer’s view on acousmatics). In this optic, Hejmej settles four major issues: the consequences of listening in modern auditory culture, the need to listen and to “textualise” vocal (vocal-instrumental) music realisations, the mode of viewing untypical translations, and ultimately the order of translations proposed by Ryszard Krynicki, the editor of the exceptional anthology. The valid conclusions formulated in connection with the listener’s experience in acousmatic culture refer to translational practice of situating “language-in-sound” and to the phenomenon of para-topicality born as a consequence of individually created audiosphere.
The author of the article analyses a rich translation series composed of 13 Polish renderings of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” The time span (1910–2020) between consecutive items of the series allows to trace changing translation strategies which depend on the fluctuating translatory norms and literary polysystems of the source and target cultures. Dynamics of the series is also discussed in the paper, specifying central and polemical translations, as well as the most enigmatic, full of paradoxes and escaping any classification Polonised version by Grzegorz Wasowski. The article’s final part contains a meticulous presentation of the culture-forming role of the book which inspires translators, artists and scholars all over the world.
Review: Strony Joanny Pollakówny. Pod redakcją Anny Kozłowskiej, Jana Zielińskiego. Warszawa 2017 1 / 2023
The review discusses a collective volume of papers “Strony Joanny Pollakówny” (“Aspects of Joanna Pollakówna”) edited by Anna Kozłowska and Jan Zieliński (2017). It includes interpretations of Pollakówna’s poetic, essayistic, and biographical output, an analysis of reception of her works, and a bibliography. Beyond doubts it is a fundamental book for Pollakówna’s monographers, not only of her as a poetess and essayist, but also art historian, translator, and authoress of books for children.
Review: Poezja polska ostatnich dwustu lat. Odczytania i przekroje. Dla profesora Mariana Stali na jubileusz. Pod redakcją Anny Czabanowskiej-Wróbel i Urszuli M. Pilch. Kraków 2022 1 / 2023
The review discusses the book “Poezja polska ostatnich dwustu lat. Odczytania i przekroje” (“Two Centuries of Polish Poetry: Readings and Overviews,” 2022) dedicated to professor Marian Stala, a literary historian and literary critic, on the occasion of his 70th birthday and to commemorate the end of his didactic career at the Jagiellonian University of Cracow. The reviewer characterises the specificity of the volume against the background of other content-matter anniversary projects and juxtaposes it with the scholar’s academic research specificity.