The paper is devoted to common in Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer’s poetic work visions of decay, the catalytic agent in which is repulsion experienced by the subject, in particular the one described by Julia Kristeva as „fear of the self.” The body and soul, life and death, nature and poetry, subject and its memories and feelings in Tetmajer’s imaginarium are subordinated to decay—a destructive force in its nature. Most representative examples of uncommon accumulation of the motifs in question are two earliest volumes: the first (1891) and the second (1894) series of “Poezje” (“Poetry”). Assumptions of affective studies are employed to interpret Tetmajer’s poetry. The article also touches the following issues: repulsion to life, landscapes of decay, repulsion figures, decay of the self, repulsion of the bodily, decay of memory and memories.
The paper depicts Tadeusz Rittner’s unknown drama “Ogród młodości” (“Youth Garden”), an example of a piece written for the public of the Vienna Burgtheater. It contains allusions to at that time already outmoded aesthetics of Baroque comic “novel” with a love plot, masquerades, trysts and youth potions. Nonetheless, this trivial story of a man chasing the youth and of woman determination to save marriage, a combination of understanding with intrigue, in a simplified manner pictures the main motifs of realist dramas, except that trivial matters are clad in fairy-tale costumes. Rittner took up theatre-expressive themes of an aging man of the world and a woman falsehood of face powder and lipstick, and contaminated them with allegorical kitsch and commonsense happy end awaited by the Vienna public. “Youth Garden” achieved success in Vienna, while its Polish première turned out a failure.
The article describes the intertextual relations between Witold Gombrowicz’s output and Jean Genet’s writings. Gombrowicz’s numerous comments about Genet have so far been repeatedly discussed, though they have missed particular examples of inspirations. The author of the paper comments such examples and simultaneously ponders upon the literary critical concept of intentio auctoris. Jean-Paul Sartre’s book “Saint Genet,” “Actor and Martyr” is Gombrowicz’s relevant context for understanding Genet’s texts and works here as an additional context.
The study is an attempt at grasping the connections between Czesław Miłosz and Tadeusz Różewicz, beginning with the former’s favourable attitude to the latter’s poems and their first post-war contacts. Miłosz’s perspective with a reconstruction of his reading the younger poet’s verses gains here stronger accentuation, though the author also exploits the hidden polemics and references to Miłosz’s “Trzy zimy” (“Three Winters”) in Różewicz’s early poems, as well as looks at the contrasts in world-images of the two poets. The basis of the analysis is “Braterstwo poezji” (“Brotherhood of Poetry”), a collection of correspondence including letters, conversation transcripts, poems and archive materials that mirror uneven rhythm of their relationship interrupted by long periods of silence, occasional meetings, Miłosz’s capricious assessment that oscillates between admiration and sharp criticism, Różewicz’s polemical restraint and contrariness, but primarily it unravels strong and hidden intimate bond between the two men of letters.
“Miasto Sagena” (“The City of Sagena”), to this day unpublished and unresearched Czesław Miłosz’s novel, is made subject of the paper. On the first plan it is a piece about Vilnius written as a roman à clef. The researcher identifies the real places, events, and figures hidden under the literary façade, as well as presents two layers of meaning, namely the political, to which “Zniewolony umysł” (“The Captive Mind”) is a clear context, and the metaphysical-religious one, in the examination of which she uses “Ziemia Urlo” (“The Land of Urlo”). Miłosz’s novel is analysed as a parable and juxtaposed with the author’s other works to promote a holistic mode of reading.
The author of the paper poses the question about the role of the comical/ridicule in Tadeusz Różewicz’s work and about the feeling of comical connected with pursuing poetic practice that accompanies the poet himself. Referring to the first aspect, the author discusses three phases of Różewicz’s creation that allows to depict the changes performed by the comical element in satirical poems composed in the 1940s and 1950s, in comedies written in the 1960s, and in late collections of poems created in the 1990s and in 2000s. The author’s main subject of interest, though, is Różewicz’s artistic strategy in which the figure of the author is a comical counterpoint of writing, while deliberate distortion of the rules of appropriateness and good taste proves to be an element of struggle with official seriousness, aesthetic platitude and falsehood the latter of which accompanies community forms of celebrating the art.
Ida Fink’s dramatic one-act radio plays—“Stół” (“Table”), “Ślad” (“Trace”), and “Opis poranka” (“Morning Description”)—are made subject of the article. Referring to the category of memory seen as a fundament of Holocaust literature, the researcher formulates the argument that the writer explored denied, individualised and essentialistic memory. He also recognises the irony of placement that expresses the authoress’s situation during the German occupation as the most crucial feature of Fink’s writing. Additionally, he emphasises the vocalic dimension of the dramas, and sees the pieces under analysis as musical scores where the key voice belongs to women, especially in retrospective parts. The author is likewise convinced that Fink’s fundamental writing strategy is disclosing individual tragedies of mass destruction victims in the belief that the approach she adopted proves to be the only one that might save humanity exposed to inhuman extermination.
Subsequent volumes of Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz’s “Polish tetralogy” have raised controversies that reach far beyond the standard literary-critical debate. The reception of the cycle, also due to its author’s open support for national-catholic wing on the Polish political stage, was marked by sharp distinction into affirmers, who saw in the poet a new national poet-prophet, and politically-motivated critics of nationalist (bloody) vision of Polishness. The dispute was accompanied by a discussion concerning whether Rymkiewicz’s writing—inventive and abound in irony—is indeed subject to political interpretations, and whether or not such readings of his stories lead to certain simplifications. Referring to Hayden White’s papers, the researcher shows that it is literariness that makes up the tetralogy’s political potential.
The term “intertextuality” (“intertextual references”) was introduced into the modern humanities towards the end of 1960s by Julia Kristeva, who derived it from Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of a “foreign word”. The author of the article nevertheless indicates that the proper source of the notion are proposals formulated by Russian formalists. Papers by Viktor Shklovsky, Yury Tynyanov, and first and foremost by Viktor Vinogradov, contain observations that prove textually convergent to those by Kristeva. Tracing the further life of the concept, mainly in the Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School (until the last decades), the researcher points at its longevity evidenced in many publications on intertextuality which sheds light on the new aspects of this category and the cognitive potential that the notion holds.
The article is devoted to the surviving manuscripts of a novel entitled “Śmierć” (“Death”) by the Young Poland writer Ignacy Dąbrowski. Only three of the four manuscripts were previously known by researchers, while the fourth was found as a result of a search at the National Library in Warsaw. It was previously undeveloped and unmentioned in any scholarly source. Both the elements comprising the manuscript itself and the archival research related to it make an interesting contribution to the reconstruction of the biography of Dąbrowski, a gifted writer, widely read writer at the turn of the 19th-20th century, but unjustly overlooked today. The manuscript also reveals the process of formation of the artist's literary temperament and denies earlier opinions that he modeled his novel on Henryk Sienkiewicz’s “Bez dogmatu” (“Without Dogma”).
The first part of the paper refers to the history of an archive of a Łódź’s attorney Witold Kotowski (1899–1988), a collection of essential materials of Władysław Stanisław Reymont’s life and output, which, due to unfortunate history, has never been extensively explored. As based on the collated sources—mostly unique copies of letters—Kotowski wrote a monograph “Reymonta droga do Nobla” (“Reymont’s Way to the Nobel Prize”), which has never been published. After Kotowski’s death the documents became private property and it was only Barbara Kocówna who accessed it. Her research, however, was poor and often mistaken in several works published after the year 2000, with scanty information that she had used the resource. The second part of the paper contains the archive’s description. Currently, it is found in the Library of the University of Humanities and Economics in Łódź, but it makes up only a small part of the original assemblage. Though fragmentary, it nonetheless includes many priceless Reymontiana, especially never before published copies of Reymont’s letters and of the ones directed to him. Such documentation and its value, the advantage of which to this day has not been taken, is exemplified in Reymont’s correspondence with Zdzisław Dębicki.
The paper refers to Anatol Stern’s novel “Namiętny pielgrzym” (“A Passionate Pilgrim”). Owing to the writer’s situation and the political changes that took place after the World War II, it serves as an example of a text that proves challenging to prepare for publication within the framework of traditional paper edition. Based on archive materials, the researcher describes Stern’s situation who for a long time was in political disgrace and later faced censorship problems. An analysis of the author’s copy reveals the development of Stern’s workshop, due to which the text in many places gains finishing touch. Ultimately, the article presents the main assumptions of traditional editions for such texts and depicts the advantage of editions that employ DTD standard and hypertext potential.
The review takes up Paweł Paszek’s book “Aleksander Wat: forma życia. Studium o pisaniu, doświadczeniu, obecności” („Aleksander Wat: A Form of Life. A Study on Writing, Experience, Presence, “2021), a detailed exegesis of Aleksander Wat’s two works: juvenile “JA z jednej strony i JA z drugiej strony mego mopsożelaznego piecyka” (“ME from One Side and ME from the Other Side of My Pug Iron Stove,” 1920) and “Pieśni wędrowca” (“Songs of a Wanderer”), the first cycle of “Wiersze śródziemnomorskie” (“Mediterranean Poems,” 1962). The transformation that took place between the juvenile and the mature writing does not change, according to Paszek, the nature of Wat’s composition, neither does it distort the specific constans marked by text’s functional conception, according to which a text is writing-creating. Erudite considerations offer numerous stimulating suggestions, open uncommon contexts and inspire to new readings of the pieces that have to this day been repeatedly investigated. Innovation and originality not infrequently disperse in discursive line of reasoning, in metaphorical and piled up additions, in rhetorically expanded escapades and, ultimately, in reiterating previously raised issues, all of which blur the sense of the intricate literature.
The text is a discussion on Maria Delaperrière’s latest book “Okiem innego. Studia porównawcze o polskiej tożsamości literackiej i kulturowej” („The Eye of the Other. Comparative Studies in Polish Literary and Cultural Identity,” 2022). It is a classical collection of papers the well thought-out preparation and methodological foundations of which are based on the assumptions of literary and cultural comparative studies. The reviewer examines the papers contained in the book in the literary historical and theoretical contexts.
In his critical assessment of Michał Januszkiewicz’s book “W poszukiwaniu sensu. Phronesis i hermeneutyka” (“In Search of Meaning. Phronesis and Hermeneutics,” 2016), the reviewer describes the fundamental theses formulated by the author, presents the connections between hermeneutics and broadly understood existential philosophy, and simultaneously invites to ponder over the problems of practical wisdom (phronesis).
The review discusses Tomasz Ewertowski’s book “Images of China in Polish and Serbian Travel Writings (1720–1949)” from the year 2020. The study deserves the attention of Polish scholars since it offers a reliable presentation of the images of China that emerge from the accounts of Polish and Serbian travellers over centuries. Based on a large corpus of texts, brilliantly problematised, and cognitively valuable, the work might be especially noteworthy for travel writing studies specialists and literary and cultural studies researchers.