Contents and summaries 4/2016

Spis treści numeru 4/2016

Wacław Oszajca: poems / 7

Zsolt Berta: Boys from the Moscow Square / 11

On the anniversary of the outbreak of the Hungarian Spring of Nations, in the years of communist enslavement in Hungary, a group of teenagers lays a wreath at the statue of Sándor Petőfi, the hero of the struggle for national liberation. For them it is an act of youthful bravado, but the communist regime sees this as an attempt to initiate an anti-state coup. For the main character a joint initiative provides an opportunity to impress the girl and prove to himself and others that he deserves to be called a hero. The daring act of the boys from the Moscow Square is just the beginning of adventures and challenges that await them in the novel by Zsolt Berta. Its action takes place during the rule of Janos Kadar in the shadow of the painful events of the 1956 anti-Soviet revolution and in the aura of the music by Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

Jerzy Kutnik and Edyta Frelik: In Search of the Center – The Cultural Capitals of the Modern World. Part Two: American Roots of Post-Historical Thinking about Art / 17

The second part of the sketch devoted to the cultural capitals of the world. The authors describe the changes in the art world in the United States. Initially, the only point of reference was the European experience when the American artists and patrons copied the trends popular on the Old Continent. As a result, until the end of the nineteenth century the most popular works of art in America were those created in accordance with the classical aesthetics. In the next decades Classicism gave way to Modernism and Avant-garde. The decades of 1920s and 1930s witnessed the growing importance of New York, which, as it later turned out, has become the cultural capital of the world. The turning point was 1939 when many American artists and intellectuals emigrated from the war-torn Europe to the United States. Since then America had become the birthplace of innovative artistic trends, including Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Moreover, American art market started dictating new rules for the international art trade. The contemporary times have launched the era of decentralization of the global artistic life, which, similar to the capital, knows no boundaries. The sketch raises such important issues as the impact of affluent individuals and scandals on the development of culture, the role of the state in promoting artistic activity and the importance of administrative and marketing strategies in the formation of the new trends in art.

Tadeusz Chabrowski: poems / 30

Ryszard Lenc: The Portrait of Thomas Lister / 33

The story of the summer love of a high school graduate and a female student of the Academy of Fine Arts in the summer of 1981 in a small village somewhere in the deep province. In the distant background there are historical events of 1980 and 1981. The action shifts parallel to the present day; the protagonist goes back to the places and events of his youth. The binding motif of the story is the portrait of a young man painted that summer, which was modelled on the painting of Joshua Reynolds, an English eighteenth-century painter.

Zbigniew Jerzyna: poems / 49

Mykola Ryabchuk: Poland, Ukraine, Europe – between Imagination and Reality / 51

An essay by Mykola Ryabchuk – Ukrainian poet, literary critic, essayist and journalist – dedicated to the issues of Ukrainian national identity. The author presents two opposing visions of Ukraine: as a European democratic country and as the state directed towards the East, which is a part of the East Slavic and Orthodox empire. The first idea prevails among the population living in the western part of Ukraine, the second – in the east and south. The differences result from the historical experience: while Western Ukraine used to be the part of the Republic of Poland and the Habsburg Empire, the eastern and southern regions of the country experienced no other authority but the Russian or Soviet rule. The clash over the national identity is one of the major problems faced by the Ukrainians today. The conflict projects on their relations with neighbours, including Poland, and affects the perception of their country in Europe. The first version of the article was presented in 2013 at the Royal Castle in Warsaw during the inauguration of the lecture series „Polska – Ukraina – Europa. Dziedzictwo i przyszłość” (“Poland – Ukraine – Europe. Heritage and Future”). For the purpose of this publication the article was updated and supplemented with the commentary on the latest developments in Ukraine: Euromaidan and the war in Donbas.

Sabina Wawerla-Długosz: poems / 60

Marta and Andrzej Goworscy: Days after the Day of Crying / 63

The story Days after the Day of Crying presents the last week of Varlam Shalamov’s life. The Russian writer, being on the verge of insanity, experiences atrocious treatment from the personnel of a “nursing home” where he is staying. The protagonist, having spent one third of his life in the Soviet labor camps, adopts a defensive attitude characteristic of the inmates. Stripped naked, he is brutally transported to the facility for the mentally ill, where he soon dies. The story is the last chapter of the book Grażdanin N.N. Życie codzienne w ZSRR (Grazhdanin N.N. Daily Life in the Soviet Union). Through the experiences of real people, usually described in autobiographies or blog sites, the authors present the realities of the Soviet Union from the 1950s till the 1980s. The book will be soon released by PWN.

Łukasz Janicki: Thinking about the Future. The Anthology of Polish Literary Criticism and Essayism of 1939-1945 / 67

An essay inspired by the book published in 2015 called Nowy styl, nowe pióra. Antologia krytyki i eseistyki 1939-1945 (New Style, New Pens. Anthology of Criticism and Essayism, 1939-1945), edited by Jerzy Święch and Aleksander Wójtowicz. For the first time the publication presents a comprehensive picture of Polish literary criticism and essayism of the war period. It includes the texts produced in the Nazi-occupied Poland, as well as in the areas incorporated into the Soviet Union and abroad. The author of the sketch highlights the strong conviction of the groundbreaking role of World War II at that time and describes how representatives of different political and ideological circles perceived the role of art in building a new world. Janicki emphasizes that while reading the articles collected in the volume, we are dealing not so much with the testimonies of “the times of contempt” as with the visions of a new – already “improved” – reality.

Grzegorz Jędrek: poems / 81

Joanna Skwarek: Sky Unlimited / 85

On a hot July day Paulina opens a little stall in the local market. She offers only one thing – her debut novel called Lolek’s Wife. The price is eight zlotys per 100 grams. The customer can buy any amount that she will cut out for him with the cleaver, weigh, and then wrap in paper, like meat. This special promotion appeals to several interesting people. There is a man who needs to have the book cut so that it fits into his narrow shelves, and a young girl who insists on five pages with a real sense. Paulina is trying to fulfil the requests of each customer. After all, their satisfaction is what her success in business will depend on.

Grażyna Wojcieszko: poems / 93

Zofia Beszczyńska: Call for the Light. On the Works of Wojciech Próchniewicz / 97

An essay on life and works of Wojciech Próchniewicz (1955-2011) – a poet from Lublin, a novelist and an author of thriller, crime and horror books (written under pseudonyms); above all, an author of children’s literature and scenarios for animated films. Much of his work for the youngest was based on the elements of classic fairy tales and legends (triumph of good over evil, idyllic world, figure of a guardian, moral), but he did not shun from references to the contemporary genre of fantasy (Lem’s Cyberiad, Star Wars). His verse and literature for adults reflected a decline of values, dreams confronted with the mediocrity of the world, omnipotence of oppressive “system.” Against the background of Polish literary achievements of the political transformation period, Próchniewicz remained a detached figure – true to his own beliefs and his faith in the mission of art and curious about life in all its manifestations.


The Image of the Priest in the Polish Culture of the 21st Century

Łukasz Janicki: Introduction. Church in the Reflection of Culture / 104

Rev. Alfred Marek Wierzbicki: Priests… Culture Workers / 105

Tomasz Dostatni OP: Papal “Unfortunately” – Polish Priest of Today / 107

Rev. Jan Sochoń: Priests and Squabbles / 109

Presentation of the responses to the questionnaire “The image of the priest in the Polish culture in the first fifteen years of twenty-first century,” carried out by “Akcent” 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.


Poets, poets…

Paweł Mackiewicz: Olympic Sport: Poem Writing. Category: Slightly Metaphysical [Bohdan Zadura „Już otwarte” (“Already Open”)]; Iwona Gralewicz-Wolny: “I do not Want to Be Just Passing” [Dominik Opolski „Wybudzony z letargu. Wybór wierszy” (“Awaken from Lethargy. A Selection of Poems”)]; Wacław Oszajca SJ: Elevate All Beings Without Exception [Tadeusz Chabrowski „Nitka nieskończoności”, „Dom w chmurach” (“A Thread of Infinity,” “House in the Clouds”)]; Zbigniew Chojnowski: “Healing Words” [János Oláh „Nieosiągalna ziemia” (“Unreachable Land”)] / 112

Discussions of the latest books of poems written by literary scholars and critics. They contain detailed analyses and characterize the most popular contemporary currents and literary phenomena.

Not only analytically…

Wiesława Turżańska: Nobody’s Perfect? [Ryszard Koziołek „Dobrze się myśli literaturą” (“Thinking in Literature Feels Good”)]; Edyta Ignatiuk: Intimate Collage [Mariusz Szczygieł „Projekt: prawda” (“Project: Truth”)]; Waldemar Michalski: Around the World with “Lublin II” [Zbigniew Miazga „Portowe opowieści. Lublinem II po morzach i oceanach świata” (“Port Stories. Sailing on Lublin II across the Seas and Oceans of the World”)]; Wiesława Turżańska On Affinities not Only by Choice [Csaba G. Kiss „Powinowactwa wyszehradzkie” (“Visegrad Affinities”)]; Janusz Golec: Austrian Literature – Cultural Code and Geography [Maciej Ganczar „Historia literatury austriackiej” (“The History of Austrian Literature”)] / 126

Central Europe from within

Dariusz Skórczewski: The Post-Colonial Perspective in the Studies on Central and Eastern Europe [„Dyskurs postkolonialny we współczesnej literaturze i kulturze Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej: Polska, Ukraina, Węgry, Słowacja” (“Post-Colonial Discourse in Contemporary Literature and Culture of Central and Eastern Europe: Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia”)]; Edyta Frelik: A New Opening. Museums and Art Galleries in Central Europe [Katarzyna Jagodzińska „Czas muzeów w Europie Środkowej. Muzea i centra sztuki współczesnej (1989-2014)” (“The Time of Museums in Central Europe. Museums and Centers of Contemporary Art (1989-2014)”)]; Aneta Wysocka: Not an Easy Reading of Ukraine [Mykola Ryabchuk „Ukraina. Syndrom postkolonialny” (“Ukraine. Postcolonial Syndrome”)] / 146

Reviews of recently published academic books, essays and documentaries, seen against the background of the most important phenomena of contemporary culture. This time the section features the publications on the topic of Central and Eastern Europe.


Lechosław Lameński: Jan Ryszard Lis – the Last of the Great / 166

An article devoted to the painter Jan Ryszard Lis (1935-1997). He was a well known and respected artist, president of the Lublin branch of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers (1977-1983) and a lecturer at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin (1975-1986). He would always pursue the highest artistic goals, wanting to be true to himself and his autonomous vision of art. The majority of his evocative, poignant works border on abstraction and belong to texture painting. They are extremely consistent in terms of the materials used and the allusive content, dominated by various threads of martyrdom and retribution. In addition, his work is characterized by remarkable consistency and attention to composition, marked by linearity, so that the viewer’s attention is immediately focused on what is important in a particular painting. The article also discusses the large exhibition of several dozen paintings by Jan Ryszard Lis in Lublin Museum (December 2015 – January 2016) which commemorated the artist’s 80th birthday.


Teresa Księska-Falger: Nikodemowicz 2016 / 176

A discussion of the fifth edition of the International Festival – Nikodemowicz – Time and Sound, which the author of the article has co-organized since its inception. Nikodemowicz (b. 1925 in Lviv, since 1980 lives in Lublin) is an outstanding composer, pianist and instructor. He has composed a number of works for piano, orchestra and choir. An important part of his work is religious music (cantatas, oratorios, suites, psalms). His compositions, stretched between the sacred and the profane, delight with diversity of aesthetic phenomena, richness of harmonic ideas, emotional permeation and exceptional sensitivity to colour and texture of sound. The festival featured several outstanding musicians from Poland, Germany and Austria who performed solo, chamber, vocal and symphonic compositions. Apart from the music of Andrzej Nikodemowicz, which dominated the festival, there were also the compositions of Palestrina, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Borodin, Szymanowski, Lutoslawski, Pärt, Kilar and Messiaen.


Jarosław Cymerman: Brudershaft and a Barrel of Salt. The Letters by Józef Czechowicz to Roman Kołoniecki / 181

A presentation of three unpublished letters by Józef Czechowicz addressed to Roman Kołoniecki (1906-1978) – poet, translator, journalist, satirist, member of the Łódź literary group “Meteor,” secretary of the monthly journal “Droga,” editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine “Pion,” employee of the Polish Radio. The relations between Czechowicz and Kołoniecki had been complicated. Both artists, for instance, projected different views on the role of poetry. The history of the acquaintance of both poets, as well as the circumstances in which Czechowicz wrote these letters, are explained by Jarosław Cymerman, Head of Józef Czechowicz Museum in Lublin.


Ewa Dunaj: Petersburg Cemeteries / 185

A literary miniature on St. Petersburg cemeteries. A walk along their alleys can tell us a lot about the Russian society: about its history, stratification, mentality, approach to life and traditions. Burial places differ from each other depending on denomination, date of death or material status of the deceased. Even though the tombstones are often damaged and the crosses are rusted or broken, cemeteries are full of life – people bring flowers and rosaries, pray and renew the inscriptions. Interestingly, this is the only safe meeting place for local homosexuals, who otherwise must conceal their sexual orientation.


Leszek Mądzik: Laudation Delivered in Honor of Prof. Krzysztof Penderecki on the Occasion of Awarding the Composer with the Title of Doctor Honoris Causa at the Catholic University of Lublin / 187

Krzysztof Eugeniusz Penderecki (b. 1933 in Dębica) is a contemporary Polish composer, conductor, music educator and botanist. In the laudation the author recalled the fact that Panderecki in his early works initiated sonorism. Moreover, his first opera was also avant-garde in its character. As an innovator of compositional technique, Penderecki applied, for example, unintentional aleatorism which is based on imprecise inscription of chords in the score for the large instrumental and vocal orchestras. His art, touching upon the mystery of human existence in general, is filled with spirituality and experience of sacrum. An important source of inspiration for Panderecki is nature, whose vitality, growth and demise blend into his works.


Jan Maria Kłoczowski: On the Art of the Earth and the Art of Memory, or on a Miracle / 190

An account of the 6th edition of the Land Art Festival, which took place from 30th June to 9th July 2016 in the village of Bubel-Łukowiska on the Bug River on the eastern Polish border. The projects presented by the artists, which blended in the surroundings and nature, aimed at exploring the specificity of the land on the Bug River. Their authors, guided by this year’s theme of home, strived to transform the space with art so that it became a symbol of the difficult experiences of the “dispossessed” inhabitants of cultural and religious borderland. At the same time the task of art was to introduce a new order, which – along with memory – is a prerequisite for regaining a sense of domestication.

Mariusz Solecki: “Będzin-Sosnowiec” Transport / 193

A note about Stanisław Wygodzki (1907-1992) – writer, poet and literary critic. Because of his Jewish origins, after the liquidation of the Będzin Ghetto in August 1943, Wygodzki was transported with his wife and a 4-year old daughter to the death camp at Auschwitz. On the train, the three of them swallowed poison, but only the father survived. This traumatic experience had an impact on the whole future life of the poet and became one of the most important themes of his work. Wygodzki – a youth activist of the communist movement – after the war joined the Stalinist authorities in Poland, but in the late 1960s, as a result of growing anti-Semitism, he left Poland and moved to Israel. He died in Tel Aviv in 1992, having settled accounts with his communist past. “I have served the wrong cause” – he said in an interview.

Notes about the authors / 198