Contents and summaries 1/2016

Spis treści numeru 1/2016

Birutė Jonuškaitė: The Other Side of the Moon / 7

Fragments of the new novel by the poet, prose-writer, essayist and translator born in a Lithuanian family in the Polish region of Sejny. Jonuškaitė is the only Lithuanian from Poland who over the last two centuries has become a well-known writer in Lithuania and abroad (her prose was translated into 10 languages). She continuously inspires active neighborly literary dialogue between Polish and Lithuanian nations, for which she was honored with the Witold Hulewicz award and the Gold Cross of Merit. The published excerpts show the scenes from different periods of the protagonist-narrator’s life. They constitute a story about the family and the Polish-Lithuanian relations, marked with the conflicts on the grounds of nationality. At the same time it is a story about passing, about the impossibility of returning to what had already been gone, and about the feeling of longing. But also about the link with the individual’s past which is impossible to break. It manifests itself in belonging to places and people vested in us at birth.

Carolina Grządziel: Poems / 15

Sergiusz Sterna-Wachowiak Jan Józef Szczepański on the Duties of a Writer / 18

A text dedicated to the artistic code of Jan Józef Szczepański – indomitable writer, who believed that the conditions of the true creativity are: responsibility, honesty, loyalty, common-sense honesty, moral integrity and empathy towards the readers. According to Szczepański, literature was meant to liberate its readers from the influence of ideologies, national myths or progressive commercialization. The most important duty of the writer should be the “opposition to nothingness” through discovering what is real – the authentic. Throughout his life the author of The Polish Autumn remained faithful to these principles which had never been codified, but each time had to be negotiated with the specific circumstances and the inner truth of existence. 

Tadeusz Kijonka: Poems / 28

Dariusz Bitner: Crumby / 31

The main character is Basil Blasius, a loner and a bit of a weirdo. Due to life circumstances he leads a secluded life on the lake, in the small village inhabited by fishermen and tourists. Yet, thanks to his literary activity, the protagonist establishes contacts with intellectual circles across the country. Moreover, he has the opportunity to host numerous writers, poets and critics with whom he holds the discussions on philosophical and artistic issues. He claims to have invented a new literary form, which he called “crumby.” The story is a kind of a parable about the search for a perfect form and the completeness of artistic expression in minimalist form. At the same time, it is a story about loneliness and death.

Maria Jastrzębska: Poems / 39

Dominik Gac: How Witkacy and Rybicki Used to Go to the Cinema / 44

The story of the turbulent acquaintance of Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and Andrzej Rybicki. Both artists shared, among others, the unconventional views on the theatrical art, the sense of humor and openness to esoteric experimentation. The evidence of this acquaintance can be found in the paintings by Witkiewicz and the correspondence in which Witkacy expresses commendable opinions on the plays written by Rybicki. Above all, they were both cinema enthusiasts, which led to a comical situation: in the 1920s during the silent movie show Witkacy and Rybicki decided to take up the roles of the speakers, filling the rest of the audience with consternation. This particular episode inspired the author of the article to discuss the specific bond between the two eccentric and extremely talented artists.

Piotr Szewc: Poems / 49

Vital Voranau: Stories / 51

The stories by a young (b. 1983) Belarusian writer, editor and translator; co-founder and chairman of the Belarusian Cultural and Scientific Centre in Poznań and the publishing house Bieły Krumkacz. The stories come from the forthcoming book, Vudzielcy, containing the texts which draw from James Joyce’s Dubliners. The events take place in the Belarusian village of Paris, in the lake district in the north of the country, against the background of the crazy 1990s. The protagonists of the first story, sensing that their next meeting may not happen soon, visit the facility providing women’s paid services. The second story deals with the unfulfilled hopes for a new life of a young single mother who raises her son. The third story features a crook who conns a little boy out of his money.

Maciej Melecki: Poems / 57

Thomas Kłusek: “Time is Sometimes also Cruel for Writers.” On the Prose of Janusz Olczak / 59

A sketch devoted to the prose of Janusz Olczak (1941-1991) – writer, poet and playwright, associated with Lublin since 1967. Since the time of his debut, favorably received by the literary critics, Olczak focused on the ordinary and the concrete. He talked about the hardships of work, the joy of life in Poland and the fate of those who after the war had been displaced to the so-called Recovered Territories. The most striking formal features of his works were: autobiographical style, anecdotes, grotesque, journalistic style and the tendency to establish direct contact with the readers. The author of the sketch, analyzing the pros and cons of Olczak’s method of writing, tries to answer the question why his works have not resisted the test of time and have only been known to a small number of readers.

Maciej Bieszczad: Poems / 68

Jan Henzel: Sede Vacante / 71

On the eve of the conclave, an aging man arrives in the Vatican. At the end of his life he has felt the need of reconciliation with his long unseen daughter Francesca, who lives in Rome. The journey will be an opportunity to recall the details of their common irrevocably lost past and to look at this world through Francesca’s eyes. Meanwhile, the narrator is constantly accompanied by the grim specter of Indonesian Cardinal – “the one who missed the conclave.” “Is every gap possible to be filled?” asks the author of this somewhat ambiguous game of the sacred with the profane, embedded in the illusory panorama of the modern Eternal City.

Braha Rosenfeld: Poems / 82

Mariusz Olbromski: Norwid’s Shadow / 86

The essay inspired by Cyprian Kamil Norwid’s stay in Paris poorhouse – St. Casimir’s Institute – where the poet spent his last years. Olbromski describes what the place looks like today, talks about its history and the people who the author of Promethidion made friends with by the end of his life. Literary and biographical clues lead up to the eastern borderlands of the Republic of Poland, where the founders and the residents of the institution located at 119 Chevaleret Street came from. This poorhouse was originally intended for the orphans, the poor and the veterans of the November and January Uprisings. Pointing to a variety of works in which the theme of St. Casimir’s Institute has been recalled, the author of the essay reminds us of the great importance of this institution in Polish culture.


From various sides

Edyta Ignatiuk: Everything Must Be Taken Down [Wojciech Tochman, Mariusz Szczygieł “Krall”]; Maciej B. Stępien: Tischner in the Media [Bartłomiej Secler „Ksiądz Józef Tischner w środkach społecznego przekazu w Polsce w latach 1955-2000. Studium politologiczno-medioznaw­cze” (“Priest Józef Tischner in the Media in Poland in the Years 1955-2000. The Political Science and Media Analysis”)]; Wiesława Turżańska: The Case of Agamemnon [Anna Janko „Mała zagłada” (“Little Extermination”)]; Marcin Klimowicz: The Taste of Apples and Apricots [Maciej Płaza “Skoruń”]; Alina Kochańczyk: The Jubilee Book of Professor Fert [„Poezja i egzystencja. Księga jubileuszowa ku czci profesora Józefa Ferta” (“Poetry and Existence. The Jubilee Book in Honor of Professor Józef Fert,”) eds. Wojciech Kruszewski, Dariusz Pachocki]; Waldemar Michalski: The History of the Polish and Jewish Printed Word in Lublin [Tomasz Pietrasiewicz „Przewodnik po historii słowa drukowanego w Lublinie” (“The Guide to the History of the Printed Word in Lublin”)]; Agata Brajerska-Mazur: “Stranger and Stranger!” “Alice …” translated by Grzegorz Wasowski [Lewis Carroll „Perypetie Alicji na Czarytorium” (“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”)]; Monika Gabryś-Sławińska: Garden Slightly Weeded, or the Values and Images in the Contemporary Media [„Współczesne media. Wartości w mediach – wartości mediów” and „Współczesne media. Medialny obraz świata” (“Contemporary Media. The Values ​​in the Media – The Values of the Media” and “Contemporary Media. The Media Image of the World,”) eds. Iwona Hofman and Danuta Kępa-Figura]; Edyta Antoniak-Kiedos: The Need to Rebel – The Need to Develop [„Opór – protest – wykroczenie” (“Resistance – Protest – Transgression,”) eds. Jarosław Wach and Łukasz Janicki] / 95

Reviews of recently published books of fiction and science, essays and documentaries, seen against the background of the most significant phenomena in contemporary culture.


Eliza Leszczyńska-Pieniak: Franciszek Maśluszczak and his Magic / 136

The article is devoted to Franciszek Maśluszczak, a Polish painter and graphic artist, cartoonist, and author of book illustrations for adults and children, as well as murals in the Church of the Ascension in Warsaw’s Ursynów. The artist processes the moments of his life, paints the portraits of his neighbours, friends and family. He has found his inspiration in the region of Zamość, at the intersection of the trails of different cultures. Maśluszczak is convinced that under the natural surface of events and obviousness there is some other, mysterious world that can be discovered through his works. His paintings are not a literal reflection of the world, but are a metaphor, a variation on the reality rendered in such a way that to various audiences it mostly seems very close.


Magdalena Jankowska: Faulty Mrs. B. / 145

A discussion of the play Madame Bovary staged in Juliusz Osterwa Theatre in Lublin in December 2015. The staging was carried out by the people who are relatively young, but already well established in their profession. Looking for their own perspective, the artists applied the key of “consumerism” and in the nineteenth-century novel by Gustave Flaubert they found a pretext to show the experience of a modern man. Jankowska analyzes in detail the rich spectrum of resources, forms and theatrical tricks whose efficient compilation helped to create the performance dense with meanings and holding the audience in suspense for over three hours. The most important of the evoked truths is a great mystery of love: the one who loves is a winner regardless of the humiliation. The condition for the happy life is self-awareness – giving voice to your own authentic desires that will determine the long-term goals, and then their realization in the sequence of “partial” objectives, each time giving the man the real satisfaction.


Mariola Jakubowicz: The Relation Between Men and Animals in Light of the “Animal” Derivatives / 151

A sketch on linguistics, which aims to analyze the derivatives created from the names of animals. The world seen through the prism of a language is a deeply human world in which other species are seen as man’s dependents and subordinates. And yet – apart from the anthropocentric nature of speech which reflects selfish and utilitarian attitude towards the “little brothers” – it must be emphasized that the ties between humans and animals are linguistically inseparable. Etymological considerations allow us to return to the past, to discover the forgotten relationships between words and human activities, as well as better understand how a man tames reality, referring to the entities which differ from humans.

Beata Pawletko: A New Impetus in the Eco-philosophical Deliberations / 154

A discussion based on the book by Justyna Tymieniecka-Suchanek Literatura rosyjska wobec upodmiotowienia zwierząt. W kręgu zagadnień ekofilozoficznych (Russian Literature Towards the Empowerment of Animals. In the Sphere of Eco-philosophical Issues). The reviewer draws attention to the courage of the author, who has taken up the controversial topic of violence against animals and presented it in an innovative way. Examining the changes in the Russian writers’ attitudes towarVds animals, Tymieniecka-Suchanek reached for the methods that go beyond the literary studies. Her work – in many fragments powerfully emotional and touching – is another important statement in the increasingly vociferous debate on the issue of the treatment of animals.


Ewa Dunaj: Bicycles and Scooters / 159

A literary miniature about the life of St. Petersburg. Traffic observation can tell you a lot about the residents of this Russian city. Busy public space, crowds of passers-by, the hustle and bustle – this is the image of everyday life in the cultural capital of Russia, where what is familiar and alien, ordinary and strange, constitutes the big-city reality.


Sylwia Stano i Zofia Karaszewska: Szczebrzeszyn – the Capital of the Polish Language. Once Again about the Festival where an Author and a Reader Enter the Same River / 160

The report from the festival „Śzćzebrżęsźyń – stolica języka polskiego” (“Śzćzebrżęsźyń the Capital of the Polish Language,”) held in Szczebrzeszyn from 8 to 16 August 2015 and organized by the „Czuły Barbarzyńca” (“Sensitive Barbarian”) Foundation with the support of the local authorities. Within one the week Szczebrzeszyn hosted dozens of meetings with writers; apart from the writers, there also came linguists, journalists, translators and artists. The organizers went beyond the classic formula of the festival and planned the multidisciplinary event in which literature was presented in different contexts: performative, cinematic, educational and musical. As a result, even the well-known works could be viewed from a brand new perspective. What is important, the venue has been designed in such a way that the visitors could constantly browse through the publishers’ offers, walk past the exhibitions and poetry on the walls, and, in a relaxed atmosphere – outdoors, close to nature – read the books which the authors had just discussed.


Leszek Mądzik: Paintings (essay) / 166


Dominik Gac: Those, who Lived Closer to the Brest Fortress, they Know… / 167

A discussion of the performance Dziady. Twierdza Brześć (Forefathers. The Brest Fortress,) realized as a joint effort of the neTTheatre director, Paweł Passini, and the Brest Academic Drama Theatre, and shown for the first time in Poland during the twentieth edition of the Theatre Confrontations in Lublin. This realization, though faithful to the classic reading of the drama of Adam Mickiewicz, is not a simple rendering of the text as it contains a number of various additional effects, such as historical testimonies of people, facts and stories. Particularly noteworthy is the intense musical component of the performance, highly expressive manner of the actors and the use of animated puppets, bringing to mind the theatre of Tadeusz Kantor. Belarusian language of the show was indeed an obstacle to the accurate perception. However, thanks to its use, the primary emphasis was laid on the cultural alliance, rendered as much stronger than it might appear on the surface (let us recall that Adam Mickiewicz spent his childhood and youth in the areas which used to belong to Lithuania, but today they belong to Belarus).

Notes about the Authors / 171