The article discusses the book Roizman. The Ural Robin Hood by Valery Panyushkin (2014). The author of the article points out that the novel, which belongs to a non-fiction literature, contains typical features of a reportage (i.e. the category of a participant and the category of a witness). This book also seems to be taking qualities of a narrative prose. The writer uses virtual reported speech form or presents reality from the perspective of his characters’ awareness. Such a narrative method does not lead Panyushkin to blur the boundary between referentiality and fi ctionality in his book but inclines cognitive skepticism. Neither does it neglect the “truth” of facts, nor does it interpret them, but it indicates various ways of interpreting certain events or phenomena.
The study aims to contribute to research on the onomastic-stylistic diversity of Polish prose in the late 20th century. In focus are those onomastic properties of literature that reveal connections between names and language in the process of creating non-mimetic, literary-style fiction. These properties also point to the nature of proper names as they function in a literary work of art — that work being a post-modern intellectual-literary game. The names used in the novel (anthroponyms, toponyms, chrematonyms, also zoonyms) mainly derive from the author’s linguistic creativity: they contribute to the world-view projected through the text. That world-view is “purposefully and totally unusual”, different from the real world.
After leaving a GDR prison, in the 60s, Erich Loest started to write crime stories under the pseudonym Hans Walldorf. His series of only a few novels finishes with the short story collection entitled Oakins macht Karriere. In his stories, presenting the investigations by a London detective Pat Oakins, Loest did a specific kind of travesty of a classic genre convention, going away from a socialistic-didactic character of crime stories in Eastern Germany.
The conversation concerns mayor questions in the theory of historical writing, both raised or elaborated in Hayden White’s work. It focuses on the relation between history and its closest others: science and literature, as well as the issue of the function of historical studies. Conversation includes the discussion of the concepts of fiction, figure, fullfillment, figurative and conceptual language, modernism.
This article questions the consensus view of The Invincible (Niezwyciężony) as one of Lem’s classical sci-fi fictions. The author contends that in this novel the familiar conventions (later rejected in His Master’s Voice) coexist with a structural design characteristic of his late novels. An analysis of two pieces of the world of The Invincible, usually disregarded by the critics because of their sketchiness, i.e. the story of the extinct Lyrans and the account of the ancient biosphere of Regis III, reveals that in either case Lem no longer cares for the realist credentials of his fiction and does not put the two planets on the astronomical map (which is no doubt deliberate choice). Moreover, in contrast to his earlier novels, his outline histories of the two biospheres contain hidden (but nonetheless unmistakable) parallels to the prehistory of the biosphere of the Earth (though he was no believer in evolutionary repeatability). As this article tries to demonstrate the two peripheral facets of the world depicted in the novel are clearly related and subordinated to the central story line (concerned with the ‘necrosphere’ and humanity). This structural dependence as well as the way in which key aspects of the world depicted in the novel seem to illustrate the theses articulated in Lem’s essays justifi es the conclusion that The Invincible should be treated as the first novel of his late phase, represented – on account of its form – by His Master’s Voice.
This article combines a general introduction to the crime fi ction of Walery Przyborowski with a study of the structure of the plot of his novels. The analyses of ten of his novels conclude with a typology of their narrative schemes, shown in the context of certain invariant patterns and the conventions of related literary genres. While the main objective of this study is to outline the structure of crime story and the social issues depicted in Przyborowski’s crime fi ction, it also pays some attention to the ways in which it refl ects his concerns about contemporary life and the condition of Poland under foreign rule. Basically, Przyborowski’s formula is to make use of the staples of the genre – mystery, adventure, romance – and the techniques of the popular novel. Moreover, his novels, like all of the 19th-century crime fi ctions, are clearly indebted to the conventions of the historical novel.
Professor Jerzy Pelc was the creator and long-time manager of the Department of Logical Semiotics, University of Warsaw. He also founded the Polish Society of Semiotics. He published six own books, among others Studies in Functional Logical Semiotics of Natural Language (1971; in English); he edited also dozens of volumes of Semiotic Studies and Library of Semiotic Thought. As Kotarbiński, his master, and Twardowski, the master of his master, Professor Pelc was a radical rationalist. This radical rationalism has linked him to atheism, anti-communism, a distance to politics, and a frown on the falsehood of public life. He was a great patriot – in his life and in his work. He considered himself a successor of the Lvov-Warsaw School tradition. In the field of metaphysics, Professor Pelc combined theoretical minimalism with anti-rationalist attitudes, including the postulate of precision and the requirement of criticism. The main field of his interest was logical – and broader: theoretical – semiotics. He advocated and largely developed the functional concept of signs. To traditional paradigms of research: historical, teleological, causal and prognostic ones – Professor Pelc has added a semiotic paradigm, determined by the question “What does it mean that p?”. Referring to the interdisciplinary fashion for interdisciplinary research, he conducted an analysis of the notion of INTERDISCIPLINARITY. In ontology, he analyzed the notions of OBJECT and CAUSALITY. In his approach, aesthetics was treated form a semiotic point of view: he sought mainly ways to logically rewrite its terminology. In particular, he reconstructed the main aesthetic notions: FORM and IDEOLOGY (of literary works), THEME, MOTIVE, METAPHOR and (literary) FICTION – as well as semiotic notions essential to the description of literary arts, namely the notions of ASSERTION and INTENSIONALITY. In the field of ethics, Professor Pelc declared himself as an advocate of the ideal of trustworthy guardian, which he took over from his teacher, Kotarbiński. In metaethics, he analyzed the notions of NORM, EVALUATION and HUMANITY. A master of Polish: beautiful Polish – he was certainly a true humanist.
Twentieth-century historians of Polish literature (e.g. Henryk Markiewicz and Grażyna Borkowska) unanimously agree that Waleria Marrené-Morzkowska was at best a second-rank writer. It seems that such negative opinions are founded, fi rst of all, on the critics’ low view of her favourite genre, the popular romance; and secondly on a critical survey of her work written in 1966 by Irena Wyczańska for a multivolume Guide to Polish Literature of the 19th and 20th Century (Obraz literatury polskiej XIX i XX wieku). This article attempts to revise the established view of her fiction by analyzing some of works, i.e. two novels, Leonora’s Husband (Mąż Leonory, 1883) and The Little Blue Book (Błękitna książeczka, 1876), and the short story A Duplex Woman (Dwoista, 1889). This reappraisal draws on the favourable assessments of her work of the first generation of her readers, among them writer Teodor Jeske-Choiński, literary historian Henryk Galle and Piotr Chmielowski, a leading literary scholar of the late 19th century. In their view her work rose above the level of run-of-the-mill romances and didactic fi ction thanks to her skill in combining the conventions of the realist novel with plots of popular romance.
This is an interpretation of Ireneusz Iredyński’s short novel Manipulation in the context of acedia, a state of depressive indolence and spiritual apathy. This psychological condition received its earliest description in the writings of the Desert Fathers (most notably Evagrius Ponticus), Christian hermits who lived in the Egyptian desert in the 3rd-4th Century A.D. The article lists and analyzes some of the acedic symptoms and motifs that recur in the experience of the main character of Manipulation (i.e. temptation by demons, suicidal fantasies, imprisonment in a cell); it also examines the temporal structure of the narration. For intertextual reference the discussion reaches out to the writings of Evagrius Ponticus and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Possessed.
This article is built on the premise that the topos has become a potent unit of cultural memory, an image that stores a wealth of often vague, buried or forgotten ideas. Its contents, like those of literature, tend to become extraordinarily condensed and confl ated; in consequence, some topoi (in particular the Holocaust topos) defy conventional tools of understanding and analysis. A solution to this problem can be found in an approach which broadens the scope of the sources of the Holocaust to include pop culture; gives up the rigid classifi cation of topoi, based on ‘hard’, documentary evidence; and, draws on a conceptual frame that connects the topos with the mechanisms of remembrance. A practical application of this approach is offered here in a series of readings of selected passages from Marcin Pilis’s novel The Meadow of the Dead (Łąka umarłych), Zygmunt Miłoszewski’s crime story A Grain of Truth (Ziarno prawdy), Marcin Wolski’s alternate history novel Wallenrod, Justyna Wydra’s war romance The SS-man and a Jewess (Esesman i Żydówka), Krzysztof Zajas’s thriller Oszpicyn [local Yiddish: Auschwitz] as well as some poems by Jacek Podsiadło from his volume The Breguet Overcoil (Włos Bregueta).
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908) enjoys unprecedented popularity in Poland and has played a considerable role in the shaping of modern Polish culture. As many as fourteen different translations of the fi rst volume of the series have been published; moreover, there exists an active Polish fandom of Montgomery’s oeuvre. The authors of this article briefly discuss the cultural and social aspects of this phenomenon which was triggered off in 1911 by Rozalia Bernsteinowa’s Polish translation of Anne of Green Gables. Her translation, still regarded as the canonical text, greatly altered the realities of the original novel. As a result, in Poland Anne of Green Gables has the status of a children’s classic, whereas readers in the English-speaking world have always treated it as an example of the sub-genre of juvenile college (school) girls’ literature. The identity of the Polish translator of L.M. Montgomery’s book remains a mystery, and even the name on the cover may well be pen name (though, at any rate, it strongly suggests that she must have belonged to the Jewish intelligentsia of the early 20th century). What we do know about her for fact is that she was a translator of German, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and English literature. Comparing Rozalia Bernsteinowa’s Polish text to its English original has been a subject of many Polish B.A. and M.A. theses. The argument of this article is that her key reference for was not the English text, but that of the fi rst Swedish translation by Karin Jensen named Anne på Grönkulla (1909).
This article deals with Janusz Makarczyk’s bestselling historical romance Jafar of Baghdad, first published in 1950. Makarczyk had a varied career as a journalist, travel writer of the ‘globtrotter school’, military officer, diplomat and academic; his deep involvement with the Middle East and Arab history began in the 1926 when he was sent to the Polish consulate in Jerusalem. The life of Jafar ibn Yahya provided him not only with enough material for a gripping story of love and romance but also a pretext for painting a broad canvas of historical events and personages. Addressed to younger readers, the book is didactic in the sense that it offers them basic information about Islam (e.g. the division between the sunni and the shia) as well as lots of facts about the Arab world at the peak of the Abbasid Age (e.g. Harun al-Rashid and the struggle for his succession; rise and fall of the powerful Barmakid family, Harun al-Rashid’s half-sister Abassa; the great Islamic jurists Malik ibn Anas, Muhammad al-Shaybani and Al-Shafi ‘i; an assortment of poets and scholars, including the translator Ibn al-Muqaffa). In addition to countless allusions to the Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, the narrative is encrusted with explicit and covert quotes from the Qur’an, Arabic adages and proverbs (32), the poems of Abu-l-’Atahiya and Abu Nuwas. The writer is aware that the allusions and learned references need to be contextualized in a way that is functional and that their incorporation into the main text must be handled with maximum flexibility. The great popularity of Jafar of Baghdad in its time can be taken as proof that Makarczyk did succeed in bringing the two functions of his novel, the cognitive and the aesthetic – to instruct and to please – into a harmonious whole.
Czarny Paryż [The Back Paris] is a crime novel written by Jolanta Fuchsówna, journalist and writer, and Jan Brzękowski, leading poet of the Cracow Avant-garde who lived in Paris, and serialized in the Cracow daily Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny in 1932, but not published as a book. In this article two typescripts of the novel are analyzed and compared with the printed text, taking note of all the corrections and amendments introduced by the authors. An integral supplement to this textual study is an extract from Chapter XIII ‘A Party in the Studio of the Japanese Man’ reproduced in two versions, 1) with footnotes and modernized spelling, and 2) the original text from the typescript with all annotations.
This article examines Henryk Sienkiewicz’s proto-racist distinction between the gentry and the commoners in his novel With Fire and Sword (1883–1884). This division, which is believed to be part of the divine world order, credits the commoners with an inferior humanity. It is founded on a set of essentialist beliefs – that social class is inherited, that ‘noble blood’ confers superiority, and that physiognomy bespeaks high birth (you can tell a noblemen or noblewoman by their physical appearance). As the article claims, Sienkiewicz allows no room for a voice questioning those beliefs, let alone exposing their class-bound arbitrariness.
This article deals with the rise in the Polish literature of 1970s of a new type of biographical novel, associated with the fi rst post-war generation of writers like Bohdan Zadura, Julian Kornhauser, Adam Zagajewski, Henryk Lothamer, Stanisław Piskor and Donat Kirsch. Their work is subsumed here under the label ‘new fi ction’ primarily because of its literary context, i.e. the late-modern fears and uncertainties culminating in the assumption that literature reached the state of exhaustion. The article argues that the ‘new fi ction’ acquired its distinctive character from a preoccupation with the biographical narrative and a sense of generational identity. The writers who defi ned themselves in these generational terms saw their prospect of following their aspirations and building up authentic lives weighed down by the constricting realities, and, as the article claims, resigned themselves – at best not entirely – to this sad conclusion.