Kalina Kowalska: poems / 7
Tomasz Kłusek: Where is Lilka? A Word about the Stories of Bohdan Zadura / 10
The text is a continuation of the article Literature of Experience. On the Novels of Bohdan Zadura (“Accent” 2017, No. 3). This time, the analyzed stories come from the following three collections: Patrycja i chart afgański (1976, Patricia and the Afghan Hound), Do zobaczenia w Rzymie (1980, See you in Rome) and Striptease (2005). Zadura’s debut novel Lata spokojnego słońca (1968, The Years of Peaceful Sun) had already been perceived as a polemic with the so-called small realism in Polish prose of the 1960s. In the stories, this trend has been developed. By rejecting realism in the traditional sense of the word, which was also evidenced by his critical-literary activity, Zadura constantly asks about the meaning and manner of practicing literature. Hence the diverse form of his stories in which the plot structures are supplemented with essayistic contemplations and autobiographical documentism is interwoven with elements of fiction. All three sets are arranged in cycles in which the author, starting from the description of the events from his childhood and youth, arrives at general deliberation about writing. The stories: Rozbieg (Runway), Hotel Europa (Europe Hotel) and Ikarus bear special significance. However, they contain definitely more questions and doubts than unambiguous declarations and settled issues. It is easy to indicate romantic parallels in Bohdan Zadura’s works, although, obviously, this is not – speaking after Maria Janion – the tyrteian, but orphic Romanticism. Thus, the prose of this writer is particularly valued for the combination of skepticism and a specific kind of Romanticism.
Olga Dziedzic: A Storm / 23
Pre-war Vilnius. Ariel, Joseph and Ada form a love triangle and a close-knit circle of friends. They cannot imagine life without each other. But the idyll does not last long: ethnic riots erupt in the city. Ariel, a law student, despite his Jewish background, does not want to take sides in any conflict, but would rather return to the university. Together with Joseph and Ada, they join young Democrats and persuade conflicted parties to end the dispute, but to no effect. When Joseph is provoked to fight, Ariel comes to his rescue. Unfortunately, he provokes the wrong person. In the city possessed with hatred, this mistake can cost his life.
Henryk Kozak: Poor, Poorer / 31
Katarzyna Jerzak: Written by Life / 32
Published in 2017, Henryk Grynberg’s Pamiętnik 3 (Diary 3) is – like his previous books – a kind of reckoning literature in which the most important topic is the issue of coming to terms with the trauma of the Holocaust. Being aware that his existence resembles a specific “life after life,” the author constantly rediscovers the elements of the “landscape of war” in his immediate environment. These are the signs directing his thoughts towards the tragic past, and, at the same time, making the seemingly ordinary things become a testimony of a continuous battle for survival. Recalling the memories of murdered cousins and friends, the search for their traces, which often resembles the resurrection of the ghosts, is the expression of his objection against passing away and a dramatic attempt at regaining faith in the meaning of life and giving a distinctive shape to his own identity.
Maciej Bieszczad: poems / 42
Aneta Jabłońska: It’s Done / 45
A story about difficult and ambivalent relations between a daughter and a father, which affect the characters’ lives and their perception of reality. The daughter cannot see in her father a true, loving and caring parent. The father, in turn, cannot live with remorse and asks his daughter for forgiveness. The formal construction of the story reflects the functioning of the consciousness. The structural dominant is the blurring of the boundaries between a reality and a dream, as well as between time levels. Presented are the feelings and thoughts of the main female character both from her childhood and from the period of her coming of age. The thread that bonds the narrative is the figure of the father who appears either in the thoughts of the main character or in the events described in the story.
Stefan Jurkowski: poems / 52
Konrad Sutarski: A New Take on the Role and the Tasks of the Poet / 55
The author of the essay demonstrates that the mission carried by the poets of the nineteenth century – Byron, Sheley, Heine, Pushkin, Mickiewicz – had not expired with the end of the Romantic era. The poets’ driving force was the spirit of the liberal idea which defended human freedom and the independence of the subjugated nations. The political and social constraints of those times were political shocks that plagued Europe. Again the role and the tasks of the poet increased in the 20th century, when Europe was overcome by two totalitarian systems: communism (1917-1991) and Nazism (1933-1945). It was the communist dictatorship which aroused a stark opposition of poets (Akhmatova, Mandelstam, Miłosz), though the Nazi regime had also been contested (Radnóti, Lorca). After the fall of communism, it seemed that the social role of poets was over. Meanwhile, some new dangers threaten contemporary Europe and the world. They are: the third totalitarian system – globalism (associated with all-consuming consumerism), as well as aggressive Islam, famine and overpopulation. Fighting against these new threats constitutes a new task for contemporary poets.
Maciej Melecki: poems / 61
Jan Henzel: Pecora and Pecora’s Master / 64
In Prague, the sacred city of circuses, jugglers and tramps, Yure leads a peaceful life with his beloved greyhound Pecora. The quick-fix arrangement of their everyday life fell apart together with the house they occupied the moment the owner of the plot had decided about its demolition. Yurego is besieged by his old doubts. Wandering through the streets of Prague, he begins to understand that the world of people and animals, only seemingly harmonious, is in fact the arena of violence and bloody competition. Yure, a lonely runaway with no past, is overwhelmed by the need to define his role on the stage of this merciless spectacle.
Ewa Solska: poems / 79
Declan Kiberd: Ulysses Joyce and Us / 84
A fragment of the book Ulysses and Us. The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce’s Masterpiece by Declan Kiberd, an Irish researcher lecturing, among others, at the University of Notre Dame (USA), and earlier at University College in Dublin and the Abbey Theater. The presented text contains the analysis of the chapter from Ulysses featuring the funeral of Paddy Dignam. Leopold Bloom’s contemplation and attitude are confronted with the behavior of other mourners. In comparison to the stable representatives of the Dublin community, the main character of Joyce’s novel appears as a complex and ambiguous figure. He is more inquisitive, open, fully experiences the rite in which he participates, and under its influence he begins to consider the meaning of life and death.
Krzysztof Gryko: poems / 91
Marzena Tyl: Rock a Child to Sleep / 93
A story about the boy’s sense of responsibility for his 5-year younger brother. The children are longing for the father who they hardly remember, and for the mother who is not capable of bringing up her sons. The family was not happy before their father’s death, but the mother’s withdrawal from her sons’ upbringing makes this experience even more difficult. The boys dream of the woman’s strong hand to have a sense of security – without it, they feel like orphans. They are looking for happiness in simple everyday matters. The pleasures that others envy them do not give them satisfaction, and beautiful moments always end up being something sad. During one of the trips, it turns out that the younger boy is not able to fall sleep without the violin music performed by his brother. This is the moment to decide whether to weaken the bond in advance or allow the child to become addicted to another person who – due to his age – has the equal right to enjoy the privileges of childhood.
Not only analytically …
Jerzy Święch: About Myśliwski, in a Different Way [Piotr Biłos „Powieściowe światy Wiesława Myśliwskiego” (“The Novelistic Worlds of Wiesław Myśliwski”)]; Ewelina Kuryłek-Jędrek: Lublin Multiplied [Łukasz Marcińczak „Kamienie pachnące szafranem. Eseje lubelskie” (“Stones that Smell of Saffron. The Essays of Lublin”)]; Tomasz Kłusek: Dogmatism, Hermeneutics and Polish Romanticism [Marek Kwapiszewski „Od marksizmu dogmatycznego do humanistyki rozumiejącej. Badania nad romantyzmem w IBL PAN 1948-1989” (“From Dogmatic Marxism to Understanding Humanities. Studies on Romanticism at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences 1948-1989”)]; Monika Gabryś-Sławińska: Two Awards – A Few Reflections on the Jubilee Publication [„Współczesne media. Gatunki w mediach. Prace dedykowane Profesor Marii Wojtak” (“Contemporary Media. Media Genres. Works Dedicated to Professor Maria Wojtak,” Vol. 1: “Theoretical Issues. Genres in Print Media”; Vol. 2: “Genres in Electronic Media”. Edited by I. Hofman, D. Kępa-Figura)] / 99
Reviews of recently published academic, essayistic and documentary books, seen against the background of the most important phenomena of contemporary culture.
Poets, poets …
Bożena Szałasta-Rogowska: Melancholic Atoll [Andrzej Busza „Atol. Wiersze wybrane” (“Atoll. Selected Poems”)]; Karol Maliszewski: Voice, Light, “Catching the Wave.” On the Shape of a Credible Religious Lyric [Krzysztof Kuczkowski „Ruchome święta” (“Moving Holidays”)]; Anna Tryksza: Poet Laureate, Poet Doctus [Piotr Machul “Ultimatum”]; Ewa Dunaj: Let’s Go Inside [Anna Goławska „Środek komunikacji” (“The Means of Communication”)]; Anna Tryksza: Signatures of Poetic Identity [Waldemar Michalski „Znak bez kropki” (“A Sign Without a Dot”)] / 115
Discussions of the latest books of poetry written by literary scholars and critics. They contain detailed analyses and characterize the most popular currents and literary phenomena.
Eliza Leszczyńska-Pieniak: Un-Drawn and Drawn Stories by Bohdan Butenko / 131
An article devoted to Bohdan Butenko – one of the most outstanding and expressive Polish graphic artists illustrating books for children. The author analyzes the illustrator’s workshop and shows his way of thinking about the book. Moreover, she underlines the influence of Butenko on the contemporary comic book, presenting figures fixed in the social consciousness such as Gapiszon, Gucio and Caesar, Kwapiszon. Conversations with graphic art researchers and her own analysis has led Leszczyńska-Pieniak to the conclusion that Butenko is a total artist, for whom the work on the book is not limited to the design of inserts with illustrations. The artist treats the book as an artistic object. By planning a cover, paging and table of contents, he becomes an architect of the book.
Dobrosław Bagiński: The Cross According to Thomas / 140
An essay about the confusion of the roles of the artist and social educator, who wants to cause a moral scandal in the Catholic city by creating an instrument for the proper execution of the sign of the cross. A sculptor with notable creative possibilities proposes to equip the city public space with several such devices. Unfortunately, he also disseminates something like the theory of the planned artistic work. Here begins the drama of the sculptor-theoretician who attempts to validate his work with educational arguments. He himself does not believe in them, just as he does not believe in God, but he condemns the followers of God for celebrating the gestures of their faith very casually. He does not conceal the fact that he expects to trigger social ferment with his creation. The artist is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and he probably shares his views with the adepts of the arts. The author of the essay would like his text to be the first lecture in a prospective academy devoted to the re-education of the professors at the real academies.
Bolesław Lutosławski: The Art of the Portrait / 147
The author, a well-known photographer, reveals his way of thinking about artistic photography. By observing the events that are happening in our everyday life and creating interpersonal relationships, we get to know our place in the communities which are close to us. At the same time, the accepted customs and internal understanding of the contemporary and old culture, determine the way in which we organize the world in our imagination and memory. Portrait photography can create the image of our feelings, our sensitivity, but also our knowledge of who we are for others and for ourselves. Therefore, authentic portraits cannot be planned, directed or designed; they are always a surprise, because photography arises from the real world tissue and from real encounters with people full of life. Authentic portraits are a moving, poignant, penetrating, visual recording of an intimate meeting between two people in a fraction of a moment that lasts no longer than a heartbeat.
Magdalena Jankowska: Common Thread / 159
A discussion of the performance of the Gardzienice Center for Theater Practices: The Wedding – Wyspiański – Malczewski – Konieczny directed by Włodzimierz Staniewski. The premiere coincided with the celebrations of the forty years of the group, known not only for artistic achievements, but also for their research work of anthropological nature and didactic activity. “Gardzienice” spectacles, due to the aesthetics developed in them, gained the status of ethnooratoria. These artists, looking for a natural theater environment, undertook trips to the enclaves of primary culture. Moreover, they educate actors according to the original training of Staniewski, founder of the group, director of the center and stage arranger. Only for the second time in its history did “Gardzienice” stage the finished dramatic text, but the text of Wesele (The Wedding) by Stanisław Wyspiański was subject to a far-reaching reduction. The layout of events and the number of characters that speak only fragments of their roles have been changed. The set design and costumes emphasize the incoherence of time and place. Clashes over national issues led by the nineteenth-century urban elites and peasantry were replaced by a confrontation of historically and geographically distant civilizations. The music of Zygmunt Konieczny and the singing of the actors, however, bind the activities of the performers. The dynamics of the stage presence is the greatest asset of this spectacle and it becomes the strongest source of emotions for the audience. Due to the fact that the group has been perfecting their performances for many years since the premiere, it is difficult to say whether The Wedding has a full shape, to define its mental content and to offer its unambiguous assessment.
CHILD AND THE WORLD
Grażyna Lutosławska: Pepe and Melek on the Trail / 163
Mr. Stick Insect (quite sizeable), one of the protagonists of the animal story for children, liked order and always made sure that nothing disturbed him. He lived peacefully until the day he discovered that his reflection had disappeared from the mirror. So he set off to search for it. At the same time, Melek, the sparrow, fell off from a nearby tree, but was too small to know how to fly, or to be who he would like to be. He decided that he would march forward to find someone who would teach him how to fly, and, at the same time, to find out who he wanted to be. Pepe i Melek na tropie (Pepe and Melek on the Trail) is a story about wandering. Being on the trail, you can learn to fly and try to teach flying to a friend (even if he is a bear), or, quite unexpectedly, come across your true self.
Jadwiga Mizińska: A Terribly Beautiful Fairy Tale … … In which Everything can Happen Because the Snake has Already Woken Up / 172
A commentary by Professor Jadwiga Mizińska – a pedagogue, philosopher and novelist, former head of the Department of Sociology of Knowledge, and then the Department of Philosophy of Culture at MCSU in Lublin – to the tale of Pepe and Melek on the Trail by Grażyna Lutosławska. Mizińska reminds us that the best fairy tales have a lot in common with philosophy because in fact they conceal general truths. In her opinion, Lutosławska’s work is indeed a beautiful, wise but also a scary fairy tale, whose protagonists are struggling with the question of meaning. And yet this question – the most difficult for everyone, not only for fairytale characters – is haunting every human being. Paradoxically, the condition to find the meaning is to lose it. The book’s plot is based on the drama of losing and finding meaning (or fundamental value).
Iwona Hofman: A Golden Ring in Szczebrzeszyn / 174
The third edition of the Capital of Polish Language took place on August 6-12, 2017 under the title “All Hope Rests in Literature.” The inspiration for Justyna Sobolewska, the curator of the festival, was the recently published correspondence of Wisława Szymborska and Kornel Filipowicz, hence the clear presence of biographical motifs. On the first day, the musical spectacle Leśmian. Autobiography was staged – exceptionally in Zamość. Festival events can be grouped into cycles: language workshops, children’s books, film documentaries, author’s performances and theatrical and musical performances. Among the guests were the following artists and writers: Maja Komorowska, Irena Santor, priest Adam Boniecki, Wiesław Myśliwski, Andrzej Seweryn, Michał Rusinek, Hanna Krall, Dorota Masłowska, Katarzyna Stoparczyk, Jacek Dukaj, Szczepan Twardoch, Piotr Szewc, Adam Strug and Kairos Choir. The festival perfectly blends in with the traditions of the multicultural region, and thanks to its attractive programme, it gains a nationwide audience.
SEEN FROM FLORENCE
Jan Władysław Woś: Poles at the Florentine Academy of Fine Arts / 180
The Academy of Fine Arts in Florence is the oldest university of this kind in the world. It was created in 1563 by the Prince of Tuscany, Cosme I de Médici. The Act of Refounding, granting the Academy with a new structure, was carried out by Peter Leopold of Lorraine in 1785. The Academy had three classes: art, drawing and music, divided into 17 majors. Over the centuries, many Poles were associated with the university as honorary academics, as professors and as students, primarily in the painting class. The largest group were the listeners of the Free School of Acts (Scuola Libera del Nudo), which was associated with the structures of the university, but there were no academic restrictions. In the preserved catalogues of the matriculation, there are numerous names of Poles (sometimes in a distorted form) with their basic personal data, which are sometimes accompanied by the comments on the course of their study. Some Polish artists who also studied in Florence, but were not formally enrolled at the Academy, maintained private contacts with the professors, perfecting their technical skills under their supervision.
Marek Danielkiewicz: Requiem for the Friends (essay) / 192
Leszek Mądzik: A Drawing Pin (essay) / 195
DISCOVERED YEARS LATER
Jarosław Cymerman: “Pankracy in a Faded Tuxedo” / 196
Jarosław Cymerman, director of the Józef Czechowicz Literary Museum in Lublin, presents previously unpublished poem Rewolucja (The Revolution) by Konrad Bielski (1902-1970), a member of important journals of the interwar period: “Lucifer,” “Reflector” and “Kamena.” In the work devoted to the problems of the revolution experienced by the author while he was staying in his youth in Russia, what immediately strikes the reader is the attitude of distance towards revolutionary events. The poet seems to take more interest in the mechanisms of history and politics rather than in human experience. Bielski begins with a brief outline of the crisis of parliamentary democracy, continues with the description of revolutionary chaos and brutal restoration of order by the government and army, and concludes with the return of the status quo.
Rafał Niezgoda: Picasso in Lublin / 201
The exhibition Pablo Picasso – A Multiple Image was held in Lublin at the Lublin Museum on September 30 – December 3, 2107. The exhibition showcased about 300 graphics and ceramics, many of which have not been shown in Poland before. Some of the unique objects were borrowed from private French and German collectors. In addition to making Picasso’s unknown works available to the Polish audience, the aim of the organizers was to present the phenomenon of Polish applied art from the 1950s and 1960s. This kind of art, created under the clear influence of the avant-garde works of Picasso, functioned at that time as a symbol of modernity. The exhibition has been a success and has become a nationwide event.
Notes about authors / 205