Contents and summaries 3/2016

Spis treści numeru 3/2016

Waldemar Michalski: Mirror in Twenty Scenes with an Epilogue / 7

Piotr Piętak: Denunciation or the Story of the Writing / 12

Sleepy, tired of service and garrison guards, the troops get slated by the commander during a roll call in the pouring rain. The soldiers run out of patience when the commander, who is unhappy with their behavior during the march to the canteen, orders them to run back to the unit. To manifest their protest, the soldiers refuse to eat dinner. For this reason, four separate committees visit the unit and interrogate the troops. Some of the rebels are severely punished. These events are being described by successive protagonists in a notebook which is kept carefully hidden. The last record of this self-reflexive story (with the key erotic theme) is written in 1982. Then, during the search of the covert publishing place of the Solidarity’s underground newspaper, there is a meeting of the two of the former co-authors. One of them is an active dissident and the other is a soldier in a special unit of Military Internal Services… 

Stefan Jurkowski: Poems / 30

Jerzy Kutnik and Edyta Frelik: In Search of the Center – the Cultural Capitals of the Modern World. Part One: the European Historical Perspective / 34

The first part in the two-part series of the sketches devoted to the cultural capitals of the world in historical perspective. These days every major city can become a cultural metropolis provided that it has: a vibrant group of artists, renowned art academy, adequate commercial infrastructure, institutions collecting works of art, contacts with other centers supported by patrons and collectors, authorities conducting a deliberate cultural policy and a convenient location. In the past only the largest cities, constituting the indisputable centers of the contemporary artistic life, enjoyed the status of the cultural capitals of the world. The first such metropolis in the modern Europe was Rome: the city of popes, clergy and prominent secular figures, who collected the works of art and provided patronage to the famous artists, making Rome the primary destination of cultural elites from all over Europe. In the seventeenth century the European cultural capital moved to Paris. The city which earned this title primarily thanks to its famous Art Academy and the cultural activity of salons and avant-garde artists, for a long time had dictated the trends to the artistic world. The situation changed during the World War II when many artists decided to move from the conflict-torn Europe to the United States.

Danuta Kurczewicz: Poems / 47

Katarzyna Buczkowska: Miniatures / 50

Six prose miniatures by the author who was born in Gdańsk, grew up in Białystok and Baghdad, and currently lives in New York. Her works are focused around the following issues: the power of the first childhood experiences that leave lasting traces in the human psyche, extraordinary love for horses, troubled relationship of father and son and a kind of snobbery of the members of the academic community, rendered in an witty and humorous way.

Sergiusz Sterna-Wachowiak: Between the Death of Little Alice and a Zorba Dance. The Poetry by Wacław Oszajca / 54

The record of the introductory statement preceding the meeting with Wacław Oszajca. The meeting was held on 27 April 2016 as a part of the “Light of Literature” cycle organized by the “Accent” in the Royal Baths Park in Warsaw. As a Catholic priest, Jesuit theologian, writer and poet, Oszajca cultivates a long tradition of poetry created by Polish priests and friars (such as Andrzej Krzycki, Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski, Józef Baka, Ignacy Krasicki, Karol Wojtyła, Jan Twardowski and Janusz Stanisław Pasierb). His poetry arises from the reflection on the reality which is the embodiment of God’s plan, and, at the same time, allows for the existence of suffering and injustice. The question about the nature of God and the world leads the poet in the direction of panentheism – the idea that “in our world, God is present incognito, and as a person He exists beyond the universe.” Since the world is a part of God, within the Creator there must be an explanation for the existence of evil. In Oszajca’s poetry the consequence of this belief is manifested in a radical and almost mystical gesture of reevaluation of “all the links between cause and effect, good and evil, high and low, festive and ordinary, the sacred and the profane.” 

Andrzej Coryell: Aphorisms / 59

Andrzej Goworski: Soldier / 60

Piotr Gancarz was hired by the company organizing the events for the medical business. After several years of economic insecurity, the job finally gives him financial stability. The new boss delegates him to the events throughout the country, which the protagonist finds truly  ennobling. During one of the conferences he meets a manager of the competitive company and engages in an affair. The love scene is a luxury hotel in Warsaw. After returning home, Gancarz experiences moral dilemmas and decides to break the new relationship and remain faithful to his wife. His decision coincides with the terrorist attacks on the Polish-Ukrainian border. This event makes Gancarz realize that he should act more ethically. However, one text message from his lover is enough to change his mind. Their affair is flourishing and the man is looking forward to the next meeting. Unexpectedly, his car is attacked by the militants.

Piotr Kobielski-Grauman: Poems / 72

Alina Kochańczyk: I Write, therefore I Am. Essay on Diaries / 75

The essay focuses on changes which have occurred in recent decades in the form and function of the diaries published by the writers. The origins of diaries – dating back to the Renaissance – were associated with the increasing interest in the inner life of man. The intimate writing – then meant exclusively for personal use, and often done in secret – was created in order to remember important events and served as a tool for self-reflection or self-therapy. In the Romantic era, under the influence of the cult of unrestricted human personality, keeping a journal became fashionable. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the diaries gained more and more readers. The authors took advantage of the diaries’ popularity, treating their records on a par with literature and aiming at their prompt publication. These trends of self-promotional nature have recently reappeared. Young Polish writers often lack predisposition towards this form of writing, but are usually misguided by its apparent “ease.” When compared to the classical diaries (including those of the twentieth century), the new writing exhibits several differences, such as: loosening the generic structures, avoiding the most personal topics and creating the illusion of sincerity. Moreover, the contemporary diaries are often characterized by the banality of topics and the superficiality of reflection.

Marcin Sas: Poems / 86

Grzegorz Filip: You are Looking for the Walled Passages … / 88

A fragment of a short story called Illumination, which will be published in the collection under the same title by Norbertinum. The action takes place in a seventeenth-century Carmelite convent. The process of its rebuilding is artistically documented by a Polish photographer, a female painter from Georgia, a writer from Hungary and a Serbian performer. One of the major themes in this prose is art. Photographer Mateusz, who is visited by a woman he used to love, firmly opposes to any form of collectivity in art. He postulates the idea of the artist’s return to the contemplative life and stresses the importance of his independence, manifested, for instance, in disregarding fashions. 

Tomasz Dalasiński: Poems / 93

Jan Władysław Woś: Polish Primate Cardinal Józef Glemp / 97

Jan Władysław Woś, a researcher of Polish-Italian relations, publisher of the sources about 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, writes about his friendship with Józef Glemp, Cardinal presbyter since 1983, Polish Primate in the years 1981-2009, who died in 2013. Glemp was a sincere and modest man, who never paid attention to material possessions. He was not afraid to make decisions which he believed were legitimate, even if these decisions made ​​him unpopular. He sometimes took controversial stance on public issues, but regardless of that fact, he was frequently under attack. Sometimes his words were misinterpreted and deformed in the comments. Most probably, however, Glemp was a Primate the Poles needed in these “difficult times” of political breakthrough.


Not only analytically

Iwona Hofman: Archbishop Józef Życiński, Church, Lublin [Alfred Marek Wierzbicki „Szeroko otwierał drzwi Kościoła” (“He kept the door of the Church Wide Open”)]; Ewa Dunaj: Some Shelter for the Dignity [Paweł Mackiewicz „Sequel. O poezji Marcina Sendeckiego” (“Sequel. On the Poetry of Marcin Sendecki”)]; Andrea F. De Carlo: On Herling in Italy [“Dall’‘Europa illegale’ all’‘Europa unita’. Gustav Herling Grudziński: l’uomo, lo scrittore, l’opera” (From “Illegal” to United Europe. Gustaw Herling-Grudziński: Man, Writer, Work)]; Małgorzata Szlachetka: A Fresco Drawn with Black and White Frames [Leszek Dulik, Konrad Zieliński: “Świat utracony. Żydzi polscy. Fotografie z lat 1918-1939” (“The Lost World. Polish Jews. Photographs from the Years 1918-1939”)]; Grzegorz Józefczuk: Not Only a Theatre Photojournal [“Leszek Mądzik – teatr” (“Leszek Mądzik – Theatre”)]; Krystyna Rybicka: Tadeusz Mysłowski’s 15 Pairs of Hands, for Bruno Schulz [Tadeusz Mysłowski “15 pairs of hands, for Bruno Schulz”] / 103

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 …

Wiesława Turżańska: On the Destruction of the World, Nostalgia and Desire for Rootedness [Andrzej Muszyński “Podkrzywdzie”]; Przemysław Kaliszuk: In Search of Authenticity [Grzegorz Filip „Miłość pod koniec świata” (“Love at the End of the World”)]; Edyta Antoniak-Kiedos: Pebbles, Stones, Gabion … [Magdalena Jankowska “Gabion”]; Edyta Ignatiuk: This is the Life [Paweł Piotr Reszka „Diabeł i tabliczka czekolady” (“The Devil and a Chocolate Bar”)] / 124

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.


Eliza Leszczyńska-Pieniak: Painter of Dreams / 137

An article dedicated to Janusz Stanny (1932-2014), one of the most prominent Polish creators of posters, book and press illustrations, graphic designs, drawings and stage designs for animated films. In the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts at the Faculty of Graphic Arts he ran the Illustration and Graphic Design Studio. His students learned not only the solid background based on traditional methods, but also the skill of looking at themselves, at the world and art from the distance. He hated pomposity and pathos. He had an extraordinary ease of drawing figures in motion and could render the nature of man with one line. He was an excellent portraitist, a brilliant erudite with an extraordinary sense of humor and a demon for work – he illustrated more than two hundred books.


Without Irrefutable Statements. Łukasz Janicki Talks with Professor Jerzy Bralczyk about Language, Linguistics and Politics / 146

An interview with Professor Jerzy Bralczyk – a leading Polish linguist, author of numerous academic books and papers, lecturer at the Institute of Journalism at the University of Warsaw, Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Polish Language. Among the issues regarding the relationship between linguistics and politics, the following topics were discussed: a question of rhetoric as a first language theory meant to improve persuasiveness of human speech; a relationship between modern linguistic theories (Marxist linguistics, structuralism, generative grammar, cognitive linguistics) and their political and ideological context; a problem of instrumental treatment of language by various groups of extreme ideological orientations; politicization and manipulation of public debates in Poland and the changes taking place in the Polish language under the influence of the proliferation of new media and digital technologies.


Bogdan Rogatko and Zbigniew Chojnowski on a new anthology of Serbian poetry Serce i krew (Heart and Blood) / 157

A juxtaposition of two voices of literary critics dedicated to one of the recently published books of prose, poetry or criticism. The clash of different points of view and personal assessments emphasizes the multidimensionality in the publication, and launches a discussion about its meaning and value. This time the dialogue is devoted to a new anthology of Serbian poetry translated by Miłosz Waligórski and edited by Jarosław Wach. 


“Review Letters” by Tadeusz Kotarbiński / 164

The selection of letters addressed to theatre managers written in the 1960s and 1970s by Professor Tadeusz Kotarbiński, an outstanding philosopher who specialized in logic and ethics. The purpose of his letters was to express the author’s gratitude for the invitations to the premieres of theatrical productions. Along with the words of praise for directors and actors, Kotarbiński would also attach short reviews of the plays. His balanced, respectful – though sometimes also critical – reviews prove author’s good orientation in the latest theatrical trends, reliable knowledge about the choreography and acting techniques, and, above all, allow to explore the system of values of this prominent philosopher. The selection of letters is preceded by an introduction by Professor Bożena Frankowska, presenting Kotarbiński’s persona and his views on aesthetic and social issues.


Jarosław Cymerman: “Individuality of Non-Average Kind.” Unknown Letters by Stanisław Czechowicz / 179

A collection of eight letters by Stanisław Czechowicz addressed to Konrad Bielski and Wacław Gralewski from the collections of Józef Czechowicz Literary Museum. Stanisław Czechowicz (b. 1899), the older brother of the eminent Lublin poet, Józef Czechowicz, wrote these letters during his stay in sanatoriums in Zakopane and Merano. Stanisław Czechowicz, whom Czesław Bobrowski described as an “individuality of non-average kind,” from his earliest years was forced to take on his shoulders the burden of providing for the family (his father died when he was 13 years old). In his youth he joined the legions of Piłsudski, fought in World War I and the Polish-Bolshevik war. He was in captivity, which strongly damaged his health. After returning to Lublin, Stanisław contracted tuberculosis and despite the support of his friends who helped to organize a trip to sanatoriums, he died prematurely in 1925. The letters offer an interesting testimony of intellectual and social life of Lublin in the early 20th century. The selection opens with the introduction written by the museum’s director, Jarosław Cymerman. 


Magdalena Jankowska: Removing Make-up / 189

A discussion of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus staged by Artur Tyszkiewicz in Juliusz Osterwa Theatre in Lublin. The story of the two composers, Mozart the genius and Salieri, a man jealous of Mozart’s talent, is presented from the perspective of the latter. An important topic is the experience of disappointment with yourself and the discovery of the lack of fundamental principles that would rule the world. Such a frustrating conclusion, resulting in transferring Salieri’s anger on God, is the consequence of his envy, but also the inability to accept the gap between Mozart’s crudeness and infantilism on the one hand, and the mastery of his composition on the other. Although for both protagonists the art is an attempt to experience the infinite, the recognition of the masterpiece does not depend solely on its autonomous value. The director has combined the two planes permeating the artist and his work – interpersonal and metaphysical. Despite the use of various conventions and technical measures, Tyszkiewicz has managed to create a spectacle which is aesthetically concise. 


Ewa Dunaj: Weather Forecast / 195

A literary miniature telling a story of the daily life in St. Petersburg at the brink of winter. Stoic and nonchalant attitude of the city dwellers towards the generally unfavorable aura creates a metaphorical expression of their approach to life. Watching people dressed lavishly yet scantily for such severe weather conditions, set against the background of the heaps of snow lingering in the streets steeped in the darkness of the long night, tells us a lot about the mentality and character of the Russians.


Leszek Mądzik: Encounters / 197


“I Have Always Been Interested in Light, Word, and the People …” Franciszek Piątkowski – Editor, Reporter, University Lecturer (21.09.1946-9.03.2016) – In Memoriam / 198

On March 9th, 2016, we were saddened to hear of the death of Franciszek Piątkowski (b. September 21st, 1946) – journalist, editor, university lecturer. In the 1960s Piątkowski began to cooperate with the Lublin newspapers ( “Kurier Lubelski” and “Sztandar Ludu”); in the 1970s he lived and worked in Białystok (he was, among others, the editor of the reportage section in the highly-esteemed magazine “Contrasts”); in the years 1985-1988, he was the editor of the “Theatre” section in “Accent.” In 1988 he established “Relations. The East Weekly” and was its editor-in-chief. Thanks to all this experience he began teaching classes about press at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University and Catholic University of Lublin. In 2009 Piątkowski set up Ryszard Kapuściński Summer Academy of Reportage in Siennica Różana near Lublin. He remained its rector until the last days of his life. Franciszek Piątkowski – inexhaustible in ideas and dynamic in action – was an open person and had the gift of bringing people together. Therefore, he played an important role in the cultural life of the city.

Notes about the authors / 203