Contents and Summaries 2/2024

Spis treści numeru 2/2024

Bohdan Zadura: Depth of Focus / 7

Marek Kusiba: The Green Bicycle / 14

Marek Kusiba’s article is an excerpt from a book in progress entitled Adresy diaspory (Diaspora Addresses), devoted to describing the autobiographical places (term by Małgorzata Czermińska) of Polish émigré writers in North America. In the presented text, the author discusses the poetry and correspondence of the Skamandrites (Lechoń, Wittlin, Wierzyński) written in the summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains and Adirondacks. The trips through that magical landscape, located a few hours north of New York, inspired novels, poetry and letters where we find numerous references to Carpathian views from the pre-war times and associations with experiences of childhood and youth. The New York metropolis, on the other hand, sometimes had a depressing effect on these writers. Perhaps Jan Lechoń, the youngest of the Skamandrites, felt this influence strongly. Marek Kusiba visits the Henry Hudson Hotel, where Lechoń fell or jumped from the terrace, committing suicide. The author tries to understand and explain the circumstances of the poet’s death and the misunderstandings which have emerged around it.

Jadwiga Graboś: poems / 28

Rafał Jakub Pastwa: Here Comes Nothing / 31

The featured text is an excerpt from a dystopian novel showcasing the threats to human freedom from the unbridled drive to perfect social mechanisms designed to ensure human well-being. Are human beings changing? Or is it only the conditions of existence brought about by progress throughout the ages that are changing? This is a story about the coming of the inevitable. About love, longing and the struggle for what is the most precious.

Marcin Lenartowicz: poems / 45

Jarosław Cymerman: Writing a Biography – Józef Czechowicz. Part 2: An Intimate Spoof / 48

The article is devoted to the autocreative strategies of Józef Czechowicz and the ways in which he used autobiographical motifs in his work. The analysis of this issue makes us realise that the poet played a multi-level game with the audience. Not only was this done on the level of texts intended for publication, but also in the private notes he left behind, taking into account the meanings manifested, for example, in their material shape. From this perspective, Czechowicz turns out to be a very sophisticated “spoof” who, while playing this game, simultaneously tries to master and tame the existential fears which have tormented him throughout his life.

Keywords: Józef Czechowicz, biography, factography and poetic imagination, autobiographical creation, falsehood, literary mystifications

Danuta Kűnstler-Langner: poems / 58

Jolanta Kessler: short stories / 62

Café Lorenzini is a multithreaded story about the situation of the artist in the world. The narrator is a Swiss theatre school teacher. He embodies the traits of his generation: self-confidence, a slight sense of superiority, a preoccupation with gender and cutting-edge theatre. However, during a night walk, he is caught up in doubts about whether he might be wrong in his choices and beliefs. An important thread is love, covertly observed, emanating its mystery onto a somewhat blasé company. Could love be the force that compels the narrator to delve into deeper reflection? In the story Katedra lwowska (Lviv Cathedral), the narrator recalls a trip to Lviv and the surrounding area before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Certain clues indicate that she was working at the time on the subject of Ukrainian crimes against Poles at the end of the Second World War. The narrator takes the reader from the cathedral to the nightmare of World War II as well as the time of the current war in Ukraine. The unknown story of the slain girl Jadzia and of those murdered in Bucza – old and new Polish and Ukrainian victims are waiting for their grave and for justice.

Grzegorz Jędrek: poems / 67

Beata Lechnio: Zbigniew Herbert and his Armenian Grandmother / 71

Maria née Bałaban Herbert, the grandmother of Zbigniew Herbert, the leading Polish poet of the second half of the 20th century, had Armenian roots. She held a special place in the poet’s heart. She was born in 1864 in Zaleszczyki. She faced a devastating blow of fate: in 1891, her first two sons died during a diphtheria epidemic, and at the age of 35 she became a widow. She bravely raised her two sons, Bolesław and Mieczysław, by herself. After the First World War, she settled in Lviv with Bolesław, the poet’s future father. She was a very pious Catholic. She belonged to the so-called 3rd Order at the Franciscan Church. She was extremely good and kind to people. She died in 1939. She is buried in Lychakiv Cemetery in Lviv. Zbigniew Herbert dedicated the following poems to his Armenian grandmother: Babcia (Grandmother)and Ostatnia prośba (Last Request). For the poet, she embodied his wonderful, carefree childhood years. Her piety was unique, pure and provided strength to endure difficult moments in life.

Wojciech Brzoska: poems / 77

Henryk Józef Kozak: Friends / 79

The protagonists of the story are two friends, born in the same year, just after the Second World War, in poor peasant families. Józek’s parents sent their son to the nearest boarding high school, while Romek went to his eldest brother living in Silesia. It was not a good decision. Romek became engulfed in the city life, fell into bad company and ended up in prison. Józek graduated from high school, then university, but started to make bad life choices. This was not what his parents expected of him.

Danusia Kossakowska: poems / 89

Andrzej Jaroszyński: Conrad and Others. Writers from Poland in British Prose / 92

The essay presents images of writers from Poland in post-war British prose. Witold Gombrowicz was the prototype of the main character in Piers Paul Read’s Polonaise, Polish émigré writers were the subject of Margaret Storm Jameson’s novel A Ulysses Too Many, while writers in the service of the communist system were portrayed in their works by Jerzy Peterkiewicz (Future to Let) and Penelope Gilliatt (State of Change). One of the most interesting images of this kind is the character of JC from David Miller’s novel Today, modelled on Joseph Conrad, an English writer, but with Polish roots. The works discussed in the essay are characterised by a diversity of approaches and a combination of fascination and critical judgement.

Keywords: British literature, Polish post-war emigration, image of the Pole, Polish writers, Witold Gombrowicz, Joseph Conrad, David Miller, Piers Paul Read, Margaret Storm Jameson


Not only analytically …

Wojciech Ligęza: Page of Empathy, Page of Friendship [Anna Frajlich „Szymborska. Poeta poetów” (“Szymborka, The Poet of Poets”)]; Wiesława Turżańska: Intriguing Coincidences [Grzegorz Józefczuk „Jeżeli molfar jest po jego stronie. Felietony z „Pisma Folkowego”
(“If the Molfar is on His Side. ‘Folk Magazine’ Columns”)]; Teresa Dras: Here is Both My Sincerity and the Record of Theatre Life. 50 Years of Provisorium according to Jacek Brzeziński [Jacek Brzeziński „Teatr Provisorium. Historia subiektywna (1971-2021)” (“Provisorium Theatre. A Subjective History (1971-2021)”)]; Grzegorz Józefczuk: Wanderer from the Grodzka Gate [Tomasz Pietrasiewicz „Tajemniczy Lublin. Imaginarium” (“Mysterious Lublin. An Imaginary”)] / 104

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

Prose writers, prose writers …

Konrad Zych: Heraclitean Swagger [Tomasz Różycki „Złodzieje żarówek” (“Light Bulb Thieves”)]; Urszula M. Benka: Playing with Monsters [Michał Paweł Urbaniak “Doll Story”]; Przemysław Kaliszuk: The Hypersensitive and the Prose of the Middle [Grzegorz Filip „Iluminacja. 12 opowiadań” (“Illumination. 12 Short Stories”)]; Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska: Reality as Wild as a Bad Dream [Lamed Szapiro „Wylej swój gniew. Opowiadania” (“Pour Out Your Anger. Short Stories”)]; Daniel Kalinowski: Disenchantment of the Old World. On the New Edition of Shalom Ash’s “Motke the Thief” [Shalom Ash „Motke Złodziej” (“Motke the Thief”)] / 125

Discussions of recent prose books written by literary scholars and critics. They contain detailed analyses and aim to characterise the most important contemporary literary currents and phenomena.


Iwona Hofman: “He Combined Two Worlds.” The Collected Works of Gustaw Herling-Grudziński / 141

Polish culture has been enriched by a 15-volume edition of the Collected Works ofGustaw Herling-Grudziński, published in 2009-2021 under the patronage of, among others, the writer’s daughter, Marta Herling. The editor of the Collected Works is Professor Bolesław Bolecki, a distinguished scholar of Herling-Grudziński’s body of work. The monumental publication covers the entire literary output of the author of Inny świat (A Different World), including dispersed works, articles, interviews and archive texts. The full-length critical edition introduces new and interesting interpretative contexts. The excellent and professional scholarly apparatus in the form of footnotes, subject bibliographies, bibliographical and editorial notes, indexes, etc. broadens the knowledge of the writer and his work, which can be traced, for example, in volume one, which contains reviews, sketches and literary treatises from 1939-1946.

Keywords: Gustaw Herling-Grudziński, collected works, editing, critical study, scientific apparatus


Lechosław Lameński: Andrzej Polakowski – Artist Photographer, Tireless Chronicler of Lublin’s Artistic Life / 147

As early as the 19th century, photography began to play an important role in the artistic life of Lublin. Later, after the First World War, there were many photographic studios in the city, often run by women. One of the doyens of Polish photography, Edward Hartwig, also worked here at the time. From the early 1960s, on the other hand, the activity of Andrzej Polakowski draws special attention. This Częstochowa-born graduate of the Poznań University of Technology’s Faculty of Construction and a passionate photographer, practised mainly reportage and portrait photography. For several decades, including during his exceptionally successful collaboration with the Lublin Art Exhibition Office BWA (1965-2009), he took thousands of photographs, in which he recorded a great number of vernissages and portraits of the most outstanding Polish artists. The archive of Andrzej Polakowski, who celebrated the 60th anniversary of his creative work in 2023, is a veritable mine of knowledge about the artistic life of Lublin in the second half of the 20th and the first years of the 21st century.

Keywords: Andrzej Polakowski, Edward Hartwig, artistic life in Lublin, Lublin Art Exhibition Office BWA, reportage and portrait photography, a series of photographs Pożegnanie taboru (Farewell to Tabor)(1966-1967), Andrzej Mroczek, Jerzy Bereś, Ryszard Lis, Jan Popek, Marian Makarski, Zofia Kopel-Szulc, Tadeusz Mysłowski

Darya Pyshynskaya: Giacomo Balla and His “Total Work”. Seen Anew / 159

This article presents a history and stylistic analysis of the avant-garde furnished apartment-studio of the Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla (1871-1958), commonly known as Casa Balla. The decor and the painterly interior design of the flat portray the utopian premise of 1920s Futurism, which aimed at a modern synthesis of the arts and their complete integration into reality, in an intimate way. The author of the essay describes the current state of the “Balla House”, which, after many years of oblivion, has been restored and opened to the public in a new arrangement in 2021.

Keywords: Giacomo Balla, Casa Balla, forme andamentali (progressive forms, developing in their own rhythm), plexiglass, paper, wood, dicta, applied and decorative art, pure forms, futurism, abstraction


Saving the Encounter. Grażyna Lutosławska in a Conversation about British Photography with Boleslaw Lutosławski / 169

A conversation with Boleslaw Lutosławski, a photographer living in England, about the people and phenomena of British photography which were important for the development of the field worldwide. Among other things, Grażyna Lutosławska asks him about Julia Margaret Cameron, the British photographer considered the most important portrait photographer of the 19th century. There is a mention of Roger Fenton, a pioneer of war photojournalism. Lutosławski also mentions Bert Hardy, a photojournalist known for his poignant documentary photographs and accounts of the Second World War, and George Rodger, co-founder of the Magnum Photos agency. He also talks about fashion photographers in the 1960s, when Terence Donovan, David Bailey and Brian Duffy, boys from London’s poor East End, revolutionised fashion photography worldwide. They were as famous as the celebrities they photographed at the time.


Jarosław Sawic: The March of the Black Queen / 177

The March of the Black Queen is a look at the second album in the Queen discography from the perspective of 50 years after its release. The album – although relatively less well known – is one of the band’s greatest artistic achievements. Its longest composition The March of the Black Queen is musically an even more complex form than the famous Bohemian Rhapsody. However, the author did not want to turn the text into an extended, over-intellectualised analysis. For this reason, the essay is patronised by the spirit of Freddie Mercury – its reading should only be regarded as a supplement to the excellent entertainment of listening to Queen records.


Piotr Sendecki: Pospieszalski reads Białoszewski – “The Conjectures of Reality” / 182

Mateusz Pospieszalski, a musician born in 1965, has always impressed his audience with extraordinary abilities as a multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer. Yet his greatest mastery has been demonstrated on saxophones, flutes or bass clarinet. He also creates solo, original and unprecedentedly coherent programmes, which have resulted in concerts and concept albums, e.g. around the Davidic Psalms translated by Czesław Miłosz, among others. They also include an album entitled Domysły rzeczywistości (The Conjectures of Reality),released in autumn 2023, which is a musical interpretation of the well-known book Donosy rzeczywistości (Denunciations of Reality)by Miron Białoszewski (b. 1922). In Donosy Białoszewski grasped everything that reality denounced to him, while in Domysły Pospieszalski conjecturesreality, embraces it and wraps it in music. They both, each in their own way, bring out the uniqueness of being and its transience. The musical setting of the poems is fully autonomous, expressing the artist’s desire for self-expression. In terms of form, Białoszewski’s linguistic innovation seems to harmonise with the sound of contemporary rap or hip-hop, of which the poet was certainly unaware. The author is reminded of the music of the Norwegian saxophonist Marius Neset. Technical proficiency and musicality are indicative of Neset’s and Pospieszalski’s level, as is improvisational invention.

Keywords: music, Mateusz Pospieszalski, Conjectures of Reality, Miron Białoszewski, poetry, Denunciations of Reality,Marius Neset


Jan Danilczuk: In Business and Culture / 190

Ten honorary consuls from different countries of the world reside in Lublin. The editors of “Akcent” decided to ask them for a kind of self-presentation combined with remarks on their understanding of their role and to recommend a few selected cultural phenomena related to the countries they represent to be featured in “Akcent”. The Honorary Consul of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – the first Honorary Consul to be appointed in 2002 in Lublin, where he has lived since 1968 – recommends texts on British culture. These include an interview with Bolesław Lutosławski, an artist living in London, about Britain’s contribution to the world history of photography, an essay by Jarosław Sawic about the flagship British rock band Queen, a sketch by Monika Rokicka, who is particularly interested in opera music and Polish-British cooperation in this field, and an extensive article by the English scholar and retired diplomat Andrzej Jaroszyński on the images of Polish writers (e.g. Witold Gombrowicz or Józef Conrad Korzeniowski) in British prose.


Grażyna Lutosławska: From the Garden / 192


Marek Kusiba: Bone Writers, or from the Swine Basin to the Cordillera / 196


Leszek Mądzik: Neighbours / 200


Marek Danielkiewicz: Loneliness in the Scent of Saffron and Dill / 201


Jacek Dąbała: Universal Familiarity / 203


Monika Rokicka: British Permeation / 204

Information on well-known artists and cultural phenomena, as well as discussions of the most interesting initiatives, events and publications of the past few months.

Notes about the authors / 207