Contents and summaries 1/2017

Spis treści numeru 1/2017

Anna Frajlich: poems / 7

Janusz Koby: stories / 10

These three stories are an epic debut of an acclaimed painter and cultural activist. The narrator of the first story regularly visits his infirm mother. All his visits look alike – accusations and reproaches from a bitter woman collapsing into hysterical anger prevent a serious conversation about the past. A particularly frustrating memory concerns the narrator’s beloved dog Bary, taken away by the parents of a teenage protagonist while he was on holiday. The narrator of the second story comes to the hospital to visit his father who is paralysed after the recurrent stroke. Standing at his father’s bedside, the narrator recalls the most painful scenes from their lives, harm, humiliation and lies, such as his father’s work for the communist Secret Service, to which he never confessed. The bedridden old man is afraid of one thing: that his son will send him away to the nursing home, just as he once did with his own father. The narrator guesses his father’s anxiety and assures him that he will stay at home. In the third story, the narrator receives a call from his ex-wife. Even though the connection gets broken, a few words spoken by his ex-wife are enough to trigger a wave of bitter memories and presumptions about the purpose of the call.

Tomasz Kłusek: Destiny and Rebellion. On the Writings of Bogdan Madej / 19

The protagonist of the sketch, Bogdan Madej (1934-2002), was a writer, translator and journalist associated with Lublin. In his short stories and novels he strongly exhibited the realities of a Polish province and in his later works he appealed to personal experiences. He also wrote a novel of a parabolic character Piękne kalalie (Beautiful Kalalias). The author would raise difficult ethical topics and the issues of fate and destiny. Madej was never indifferent to social issues, which caused that his best-known texts were rejected by the censors. Therefore, they could only appear in Paris in the library of  “Culture”. The original works of Madej – a self-taught writer, who in his youth suffered persecution for political reasons and had to do physical work – differs from the achievements of writers of his age: the representatives of the generation of “Modernity” and the so-called small realists. The most important in Madej’s prose is a kind of rebelliousness understood as fidelity to the truth. In the words of Henryk Bereza cited by Kłusek: Bogdan Madej writes in his own way … His words carry no surprise, but … they are the true words that mean what they mean.

Eda Ostrowska: Facetiae / 31

Łukasz Suskiewicz: Circles / 36

The story presents the intertwined fate of the three generations of men: the narrator, his father and grandfather. The events have been grounded in a historical perspective. The story revolves around the pre-war (economic emigration to France) and the war fate of the eldest of the protagonists. The grandfather unwittingly participates in the chaos of the war, which had left its stamp on him. The narrator is pondering upon the issue of identity, intertwining life stories and genetic atavism determining human behaviour and choices regardless of the changing historical and social contexts.

Małgorzata Południak: poems / 42

Urszula M. Benka: The Discreet Charm of Conspiracy / 46

According to the author of the essay (who for a long time has been researching the role of the myths in culture), conspiracy theories, so popular today, are aimed at taming the world and providing meaning to human existence. What makes them different from the scientific statements and hypotheses is, among others, the freedom of association and the rejection of objectivity. They also differ from mythical stories in the strict sense by avoiding reflection on the opinions of other people and the complex nature of existence. This creates a simplified, flawed view of reality, dominated by the vision of ominous forces threatening the well-being of individuals and communities.

Rafał Rutkowski: poems / 53

Tadeusz Chabrowski: Blaise. Epilogue / 57

One of the final fragments of an autobiographical novel which Tadeusz Chabrowski had been writing until the last days of his life. The author was born in 1934 in Złoty Potok near Częstochowa. He studied at the Institute of St. Paul in Cracow. In 1961 he moved to the USA.  After 16 years, he left the Pauline monastery, got married and lived to see his son and grandchildren. For years he had lived in New York, where until his retirement he worked as an optician. He is known primarily as a poet and author of several volumes of poetry, yet he also published two novels. In the featured fragment Chabrowski describes his wife’s struggles with malignant tumour, subsequent visits to the doctors, medical examinations and chemotherapy. He accompanies his beloved Sophie at every step and tries to cope with the daily affairs, which had previously been dealt with by his wife. While watching over her, he reads, among others, Denis Diderot’s Jacques the Fatalist, the correspondence of Michel Houellebecq and Bernard-Henri Lévy, and Karel Čapek’s The Factory for the Absolute. Seeking respite in his readings, he sometimes refers critically to these texts and engages in the debates with them, as well as with God, when he asks in a dream: So why now, when the days are getting shorter, and memory full of holes as a sieve is failing, God spreads darkness over our heads, tormenting the body already half-alive?

Henryk Kozak: poems / 68

Piotr Łapuszański: Life for an Ideal. Zenon Przesmycki (Miriam) / 73

An essay evoking the figure of  “Miriam” – Zenon Przesmycki (1861-1944), translator, cultural activist, explorer, editor of Cyprian Kamil Norwid’s works, founder and editor-in-chief of the famous magazine “Chimera.” Przesmycki was highly esteemed in his era due to the extraordinary knowledge of global trends, a great literary taste, faithfulness to ideals, and the willingness to provide assistance to talented young artists. He also contributed to the development of Polish art in the interwar period through his political activity – first, as an undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, and later as a Minister of Culture and Fine Arts in the government of Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Leopold Skulski. Even though Przesmycki often met with unfair criticism, he went down in history as one of the most distinguished participants of the Polish artistic life in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Jan Władysław Woś: Fortuitous Business / 84

Jan Władysław Woś – researcher of Polish-Italian relations, publisher of the sources for the history of Poland and the history of the Church, bibliophile and professor emeritus of the history of Eastern Europe at the universities of Pisa, Venice and Trento – for several years has been publishing  interesting stories in “Accent.” In Fortuitous Business Manny the Twig, a notorious brawler, finds a hanged man in the basement. He cuts him off, notifies the family of his suicide and just in case takes along the rope: strong, hemp – “may come in handy.”  A few days after the funeral the godmother of the dead man visits Manny and asks him for a piece of the rope as a keepsake. With time, it turns out that the woman (in accordance with the old, but still alive superstition) sells tiny pieces of the rope as talismans of good luck. Having learned  of this practice, Manny goes to the Warsaw bazaar to trade “talismans protecting their owners  from all kinds of misfortunes, ensuring success in love and business.” Despite the exorbitant price, the talismans are very popular. Manny sells all pieces of rope in one day, but that does not mean the end of his business …

Piotr Machul: poems / 89

Bogusław Bakuła: Stefan Grabiński – Polish, Ukrainian or Central European writer / 91

In recent times the works of Stefan Grabiński (1887-1936) quite unexpectedly trigger a lot of emotions. In view of the increasing attempts to integrate his writings in the scope of Ukrainian literature, the author of the sketch proves that geopoetic aspect of Grabiński’s literature is not based on his Ukrainian origin, but on the specific selection of components acquired from literary works of ancient and contemporary Central European writers. Because of this fact and due to many factors indicating Grabiński’s relationships with Polish culture, talking about his Ukrainity is an intellectual overstatement.


The Image of the Priest in the Polish Culture of the 21st Century. Part II

Łukasz Janicki: Introduction / 100

Wacław Oszajca SJ: In the Service of the Church / 101

Rev. Krzysztof Guzowski: Where to Find the Truth? / 103

Rev. Jerzy Szymik: Image and Piety / 105

The second part of the survey “The image of the priest in the Polish culture in the first fifteen years of twenty-first century,” carried out by “Accent” among the clergy who cooperate with the journal. The responses indicate how the respondents assess the image of priests projected in movies, books, press, news and communications media; what they think about priests’ writing activity; what is new in the message of Pope Francis’ preaching and what tasks in relation to culture face the Catholic Church today.


Not only analytically

Elżbieta Tabakowska: Lens with a Variable Focal Length [Aneta Wysocka „Fakty – język – podmiotowość. Stylistyczne osobliwości reportaży Ryszarda Kapuścińskiego” (“Facts – Language – Subjectivity. Stylistic Distinctiveness of Ryszard Kapuściński’s Reportage”)]; Wojciech Kaliszewski: Stanislaus Augustus and the People of his Era [„Pamiętniki Stanisława Augusta i ich bohaterowie” (“Memoirs of Stanislaus Augustus and their Characters”)]; Jan Lewandowski: Estonian-Polish Affinities [Jaan Kaplinski „Ojcu” (“To my Father”)]; Ewa Dunaj: An Important Talk about Poetry [Zbigniew Chojnowski „Kanon prywatny. Książki poetyckie 1981-2015” (“Private Canon. Books of Poetry 1981-2015”)]; Bogdan Rogatko: Love Dialogue in the Letters of Wisława Szymborska and Kornel Filipowicz [Wisława Szymborska, Kornel Filipowicz „Najlepiej w życiu ma twój kot. Listy” (“The Best Life is your Cat’s. Letters”)] / 108

Reviews of recently published academic books, essays and documentaries, seen against the background of the most important phenomena of contemporary culture.

Prose writers, prose writers…

Edyta Ignatiuk: Spiritual Hoarseness, Spiritual Fatness [Jacek Dehnel “Krivoklat”]; Małgorzata Szlachetka: Two Warsaws and a Sharp Cut of a Knife [Szczepan Twardoch „Król” (“King”)]; Marcin Klimowicz: Melancholic Consciousness [Miłosz Waligórski „Kto to widział” (“Who Saw”)]; Tomasz Kłusek: Longing for the Simplest Values [Stanisław Weremczuk „Ciemność” (“Darkness”)]; Ewa Duaj: Pain and Delight [Jadwiga Mizińska „Wróż” (“Fortune-Teller”)]; Wiesława Turżańska: “One for All, All for Alcohol” [Daniel Radecki „Wszyscy jesteśmy hipsterami” (“We are all Hipsters”)] / 125

Discussions of the latest books of prose written by literary scholars and critics. They contain detailed analyses and provide a description of the major contemporary literary trends and phenomena.


In Life You’ve Got to Work. Interview with Andrzej Strumiłło / 143

An interview with Andrzej Strumiłło, born in 1927 in Vilnius. He is a painter, draftsman, photographer, sculptor and book illustrator, as well as cultural activist and advocate for a protection of the landscape in the North-East of Poland. He was a student of Władysław Strzemiński (Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź) and Eugeniusz Eibisch (Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow), whose avant-garde view of the world formed him as an artist. His artistic sensibilities were heavily influenced by the trips to China, India, Mongolia, Vietnam, Nepal and Japan. During his travels he thoroughly studied the canons of the Eastern art of painting as well as the symbols and philosophy of this cultural region, and then he processed them creatively in his artistic performances. These expeditions have been meticulously  documented. The photos taken by Strumiłło feature cultural monuments and architecture which nowadays are either inaccessible or destroyed. In 1982 he won the competition for the position of a manager of the Graphic Presentation Unit in the United Nations General Secretariat in New York. The confrontation with the world of unlimited consumption and the experience of traveling to the Far East meant that after two years of working for the UN, Strumiłło returned to Warsaw and decided to settle in the Polish countryside. He lives in Maćkowa Ruda on the Black Hańcza river, where he breeds horses and works on his artistic endeavours, and his home is a site of cultural events and a meeting place for the artists.

Anna Hałata: Accumulations. A Collection of Graphics by Tadeusz Mysłowski / 154

Tadeusz Mysłowski is an intermedia creator, painter, graphic artist, sculptor and installation artist, who for nearly fifty years has divided his life between two continents and two cities: Lublin and New York. For over half a century he has been collecting works of art, which are mainly graphic works of the contemporary Polish artists: Jan Berdyszak, Henryk Berlewi, Stanisław Dróżdż, Stanisław Fijałkowski, Józef Gielniak, Jan Lebenstein, Jerzy Nowosielski, Roman Opałka, Jerzy Panek, Konrad Srzednicki, Henryk Stażewski, Mieczysław Wejman, as well as drawings, posters, photographs and objects associated with the interdisciplinary actions (eg. chairs). Equally important in Mysłowski’s collection are the works of foreign artists who have had influence on his artistic sensitivity, including Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, Josef Albers, Jasper Johns and Jean Arp. Tadeusz Mysłowski’s collection shows graphic art in a broad time perspective, taking into account its dynamic changes – the oldest works date back to the first quarter of the twentieth century and the latest are the digital printings of 2014. The collection demonstrates  a variety of artistic experiments and allows to observe graphic art not only in the context of the technical processes evolution, but also through tracing the progression of attitudes and stylistic trends.


Aleksandra Pucułek: “Lublin is an Important Place …” On the Artistic Path of Janusz Józefowicz / 159

A sketch devoted to Janusz Józefowicz – a well-known choreographer, actor, stage designer and director, as well as artistic director of Studio Buffo Theatre and creator of the cult musical “Metro.” On the basis of documents, statements by the artist himself as well as his friends and teachers, the author writes about the early years of Józefowicz: the days when he went to Unia Lubelska High School at the early stage of his developing career.


Grzegorz J. Kaczyński: At the Root of the New Sociology, or Luigi Sturzo against the Background of the Period / 168

A presentation of Luigi Sturzo (1871-1959) – an Italian Catholic priest, sociologist and politician, founder of the Italian Christian Democratic Party and senator. As an opponent of fascist tendencies, in the 1930s Sturzo had to leave Italy and until 1946 he lived in exile. During this time, and after returning to Italy, he presented an original vision of social sciences. He criticized both the positivist concepts, as well as some ideas which inspired the representatives of the so-called anti-positivist turn. Sturzo strongly rejected the founding ideas of Marxist thought. He advocated humanist sociology, stressed the importance of individual consciousness, which, in his opinion, is a central component of social reality.


“Perched on the Edge of a Branch …” Letters by Zygmunt Hertz to Jerzy Andrzejewski / 179

The choice of letters sent from Paris in the years1960-1961 by Zygmunt Hertz to Jerzy Andrzejewski in Poland. Much of the correspondence deals with the information about the news concerning Czesław and Janina Miłosz, Marek Hłasko, Roman Polański and his first wife Barbara Kwiatkowska, as well as issues related to literature. In addition, Hertz tells Andrzejewski about everyday matters (purchases made for him in western stores, financial settlements, meetings with people arriving from Poland) and shares his concerns of personal and existential nature. These letters are an interesting testimony to the bond between the two correspondents, and, most importantly, allow for a better understanding of the political and moral context of the days when Polish literature developed in parallel in two distinct environments: in the country and abroad.


Ewa Duaj: Victory / 188

Victory Day, commemorating the end of World War II, is pompously celebrated in Russian schools. Unfortunately, these carefully orchestrated academies are primarily a tool of intrusive propaganda. The formation of patriotism among young people based on the cult of the “great patriotic war” leads to a mindless adoption by the younger generation of the patterns reminiscent of the infamous tradition originating in the USSR. Is this a new installment of “souls’ engineering”?


Leszek Mądzik: Heaven and Hell (essay) / 189


Marek Danielkiewicz: Do Not Leave Me … (essay) / 191


Jaroslaw Sawic: Ob. Wieś from Lublin – a Note on Wiesław M. Pawłowski / 193

A discussion of the debut collection of poems by Wiesław M. Pawłowski and a presentation of the figure of the author – musician, poet, one of the founders of the poetic group  “Columbuses of the 1960” and founder, guitarist and vocalist of Banda Ob.Wiesia. Most of the crude and non-metaphorical poems featured in the volume Republic of Alcohol were written in the 1980s. His verse talks about the dullness of the degraded world taken over by alcohol. The author, however, is not a nihilist. Even though he depicts the harsh reality with sarcasm and irony, he has never abandoned the faith in love, which is the only force capable to provide meaning to existence.

Tadeusz Chabrowski (1934-2016) / 196

Tadeusz Chabrowski was born in 1934 in Złoty Potok near Częstochowa. He studied at the Institute of St. Paul in Cracow. In 1961 he moved to the USA. After 16 years, he left the Pauline monastery, got married and lived to see his son and grandchildren. For years he had lived in New York, where until his retirement he worked as an optician. He is known primarily as a poet and author of several volumes of poetry, yet he also published two novels.

Notes about the authors / 198