The paper examines the letters of Georg Forster (1754–1794), a German scientist and traveler who
spent three years as a professor of natural history at Vilnius University. In a rich series of letters
that Forster wrote between November 1784 and August 1787, he not only discussed the issues
concerning his plans and teaching experiences but also commented critically on the functioning
of both the Vilnius University and the local society. On the one hand, his correspondence offers
a striking reminder of how European intellectuals of the period saw themselves and the world:
Forster’s great scientific and didactic ambitions were inseparable from the stereotypical perception
of Poland-Lithuania as a supposedly “backward” region in terms of its social and cultural development.
On the other hand, his reports from Vilnius reflect his loneliness, with this estrangement
initially resulting from various difficulties that stemmed from cultural differences and conflicts,
and later from a feeling of failure with related to knowledge dissemination.
The article presents an overview of Bronisława Waligórska’s book Listy z Cytadeli 1886 (Letters
from the Citadel 1886), which were prepared for publication by Monika Rudaś-Grodzka together
with the “Archiwum Kobiet” team. In this study, I present the methodological features of the
Archive’s research project in the context of women’s history, while also referring to the ways in
which the figure of Bronisława Waligórska has been placed in the context of the Polish tradition
of cultural images of female revolutionaries. The article also draws attention to the restrictive
role of myth in women’s biographies and underlines the importance of the body in the reclaiming
the material (and historical) dimensions of women’s personal writings. The physical connection
between the body and the space of the prison, as well as its influence on the form of correspondence,
is also emphasized here.
The paper On Essayistic Erasure of the Images of the Face: Virginia Woolf‘s “Street Haunting: A London Adventure” and Debora Vogel’s “Accacias Blooming” addresses Woolf’s and Vogel’s essayistic acts of visual experimentation challenging the conventional “face-to-face” optics. The paper argues that both nomadic auteurs decompose and erase images of the face to transgress the visible and unified subject. The essaysitic “I”s leave their domestic habitus “without the face” to explore the cityscapes. I argue that by means of such departures they can exercise potent strategies of indeterminacy, even rebellion. Gesturing towards new paradigms of the face, they transform the essay.
This article presents an analysis of a survey entitled “O nowy typ mężczyzny”, conducted in 1932 by “Bluszcz”, the longest running, and the most popular women’s magazine in Poland (issued between 1865–1939). As the title of the survey implies, according to the magazine’s editorial board, and its emancipated female readers, the patriarchal model of masculinity, after the First World War, has been exhausted. The survey was carried out among Polish female writers, publicists, female social activists, literary men, and female readers, who, in the pages of the magazine, answered the questions concerning, inter alia, the issue of the nature of masculinity, a model of postwar manhood, men’s attitude to emancipation, men’s view on a family, or the issue of double morality. The survey did not present any conclusions; it did not offer any new model of manhood, or a model of a man in general. It rather indicated the permanence of the achievements of both: the emancipation movement, and the process of implementation to attain gender equality by Polish women after 1918, when Poland regained its independence, and Polish women had been granted political rights.
Broadcasts aired by the Polish Radio in the Yiddish language in the 1950s were listened to all over the world. All the audience felt that for them, due to numerous reasons, the broadcasts were a matter of high value, and it is confirmed in letters sent to the station. It is also confirmed by negative reaction of the audience to the programme’s closure in 1958. The majority of letters was written in the Yiddish language, and in some cases other languages were used too – Russian, Polish, German. The letters contained many different personal traits, while reflecting the condition of preserved the Yiddish language, after the loss of homeland. The condition of Yiddish language that was used in the letters, for example informs about whether the author was subject to socialization in the original Jewish community (family home, school), whether they were present in the Jewish community, or whether they were affected by linguistic alienation in the country of their residence. Sometimes the audience would tackle the subject of their language deficiencies and point out to the forceful interruption of their Jewish education or the conditions in the country of their asylum.
Polish football players born in 1970s is an unique group. Theirs careers were affected by social transformation which started in 1989. Thus the macrostructural changes remained the background for their life choices. This paper is the analysis of these footballers’ (auto)biography books. The key topic is the private experience of the mentioned historical moment. Therefore, the text is focused on the confidential plots – social bonds, family situation, friendship, love relation. In effect, it gives the „intimate portrait” of the Polish football „1970s generation”.
Before the railway age each European community used the so called “real sun time” (when the
sun showed high noon at the town hall it was noon all over town). The differences in time became
very troublesome with increased speed of traveling. Each railway overcame the problem of the
local time by adopting for operations and timetable purposes the time of some import ant city
along the line which it served. Watch-setting rules were mandatory for the train crew members.
In February 1876 it was necessary for Henryk Sienkiewicz to change his watch many times during
his journey from Warsaw to London. Most probably, the writer ignored the local time of each
large city en route in Europe (in Berlin, Bruxelles, London). He also ignored the local time, traveling
by train across the United States. Sienkiewicz was deeply accustomed to the Warsaw’s torn
Based on the premise that blog constitutes an archetype for „new new media” the Author considers
Web 2.0 as a field for autobiographical research. Taking Wikipedia as a representative phenomenon
he analyses the issue of authorship of the encyclopaedia’s inputs as well as presents
the project of a Glossary of autobiographical terms online based on MediaWiki algorithm.
The author analyses two movie biographies of sportsmen: American Dream by Marek Skrzecz (2017) and Piotrowsky by Marcin Biegański (2017). He argues that both movies – one about a successful wrestler, the other one about an unsuccessful boxer – present an vital aspect of sports biographies as the bodily labor and the inevitable context of its market-value.
The article focuses on essays written by female representatives of the second wave of feminism after they had turned 60. The theme covered in these essays is women entering old age, psychosomatic processes which accompany this period, the loss of loved ones and their attitude towards death, but also the more positive aspects of advanced age. The article covers the various attitudes women have towards the last period of the human life cycle. The approach these authors take with regards to this problematic topic is defined as being phenomenological, seeing as it is based on the simultaneous existential experience of growing old along with a deeply introspective insight into this experience.
The title refers to Mark Beylin’s assessment of the position Niki Saint Phalle took in Paris sixties feminist practices the “art of anger”. The author discusses the biographical book Żony w cieniu mistrzów literatury rosyjskiej by Alexandra Popoff, Ferwor. Życie Aliny Szapocznikow by Marek Beylin and Kobro. Skok w przestrzeń by Margaret Czyński.
This article is an analysis of the song “Women on Waves” by the band Gang Śródmieście. The artists
touch upon the issue of abortion and build the whole narrative around it. However, it is not
just an expression of their opinion on the subject, as the authors refer to several themes in the
text. Namely, they refer to legislation, cultural situation, recall facts from public life and describe
their abortion journey. The work presents the figure of a woman with an unwanted pregnancy,
who has become a sick person due to her physiological condition. The search for an appropriate
methodology, research tools and the possibility of presenting a holistic perspective, therefore, leads to maladic discourses, and they are one of the optics I use. The other is feminist criticism,
the authors refer to its values and ideas, as I will prove in the article.
The author analyses one of the intimate diaries from concentration camps written by Abraham Kajzer, who was a prisoner of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau and AL Riese (which was a part of KL GrossRosen on Lower Silesia). In article is uses Paweł Rodak’s theory of broad understanding of diary’s materiality as a writing practice, which was very complicated and difficult during the World War II, especially at concentrations camps (finding material and tool to write, organizing space and work out a ritual of writing; also place where notes were hiding and their fates in the post-war years). Diary it’s not only on textual level but it’s closely related to regular life. But in the camp writing daries was extremely dangerous practice (author could pay with his own life for it). Abraham Kajzer was an writing in Yiddish on empty cement bags with indelible pencil in camp latrine, where he was also hiding notes. After war he passed on his material to Adam Ostoja, who translated them and edited to publication. Kajzer described his reality in concentration camps and many traumatic experiences, which are one of many evidences of the Nazi genocide.
The YIVO Archive in New York contains a number of letters from the years 1926–1927, which were
sent by students of the Yiddish Teachers’ Seminary in Vilnius to its director, Abraham Gołomb.
In this correspondence they describe the conditions of their new workplace and the character
of work in their particular school, whilst also giving unique information about life in the shtetl
and social relations there. In this article I try to reconstruct the life of a secular Jewish school
with Yiddish as a medium of instruction in Wysokie Litewskie by using letters written by three
teachers from a school there: Eugeniush Braude, Mordukh Kahanowitsh and Eydla Segalovitsh.
The text is an attempt to re-read Roland Barthes’ autobiographical book by its translator. The author is particularly focused on the tension between the subject and the language, on the identity split and on the reflection on the writing “I”. He also presents a choice of translation problems encountered while working on Roland Barthes.
The article contains the consideration devoted to Agnieszka Kłos’ output and especially her book Gry w Birkenau, published in 2015. All textes from the volume manifest their autobiografical and subversive character. The main aim o those writings is making diagnosis to present polish common life and changing rules of community life. This aim is realised by essay strategies and political engagement. In textes placed in Gry w Birkenau suggestive and expressive female subject makes still new inquiries to find the essence of herself identity.
Agnieszka Graff is an author of academic and non-academic texts. An analysis of non-academic texts constitutes a basis for an article which includes sets of essays, columns and conversations. The second factor which determines the order in an article is chronology. The titles of her books are the mile stones. This structure allows to observe self-commentary, references and aspects, which she returns to. The most interesting are those which can be seen as the signs of autobiographism – self-citations, first-person narrative, mise en abyme. These are signs which the reader decodes as autobiographism and which constitute the autobiographic strategy (prefaces, afterwords which include interpretative hints). The aim of the article is an attempt to answer a question about the functions of (auto)biographism of Agnieszka Graff. Analysis of texts is a result of a question why Graff reaches for autobiographic instruments and in which way she uses these tools.
In her case study of two frontier towns – Krzyż (Kreuz) and Żółkiew (Żowkwa, Nesterow) – Anna Wylegała presents a story of resettlement and Polish-Ukrainian or Polisch-German relations in perspective of several generations of respondents. Based on collected narrative interviews, the authoress constructs the models of collective memory, characteristic for selected places. As Wylegała shows, based on the analysis of the research material, memory and non-memory depend on many factors such as politics of memory, economy, pre-war ethnic composition and circumstances of resettlement and journey to “regained territories”. Anna Wylegała, basing on methodology of many humanities subdisciplines and social sciences, analyzes the differences in the adaptation process, constructing narratives of identity, suppression of trauma and closing the experience of resettlement. In the monography Przesiedlenia a pamięć, theories of memory are competently connected with empiricism of biographical method.
Article presents critical analysis of Bolesław Prus’s biography Prus. Śledztwo biograficzne (biographical investigation) by Monika Piątkowska. Author of the article discuss asumptions of Piątkowska’s biographical method based on arbitrary recognition that fictional works by Prus are undisputable, absolutely reliable source of knowledge about his life as well as disclose biographer’s attitude on what real literature is supposed to be (expressivistic theory of literary work). Demitologising biography by Piątkowska does not do justice to its subject, but attempt to meet readers desire for gossip and excess.
The paper constitutes a brief overview of the history of melancholy, with a particular focus given to the presence and the role of women in melancholy discourses. It also includes a discussion of the book Melancholic Migrating Bodies in Contemporary Polish Women’s Writing (2015), in which the author Urszula Chowaniec examines the contemporary Polish women’s fiction, in particular the motifs of nomadic, melancholic and „ruined” bodies. Moreover, Judith Butler’s concept of gender melancholy is also invoked as an alternative discourse of melancholy and femininity.
In the article the Author focusses on the theme of soccer in Artur Daniel Liskowacki’s novel Eine
kleine. Quasi una Allemanda. He points out the importance of this particular narrative thread for
this now widely recognized classical representative of regional literature, which, albeit confirmed
as such by critics – both journalistic and academic – in fact rarely receives much (interpretative)
Apart from filling in this evident lacuna in the already two-decades long debate over this outstanding
and internationally appreciated novel, the Author offers some considerations on the problem
of athletic experience as represented in literature in general, however paying particular attention
to its role works such as ADL’s magnificent urban tale.
The article contains reflections on the anthology of autobiographical texts Jestem, bo wrócili. Przywracanie
pamięci w setną rocznicę bieżeństwa (“I am, because they came back. Restoring memory
on the hundredth anniversary of the bieżeństwo”; Białystok 2017) that were a result of a memoir
competition. I read the texts as a tool for shaping the autobiographical collective memory (to use
Astrid Erll’s term) as they present the mass exodus of civilians from the Eastern borderlands of
Russia in 1915. The postmemory testimonies (to use Marianne Hirsch’s term) of the descendants
of the bieżeńcy make up a „unified archive” (Sidonie Smith, Julia Watson) that appears in the form
of individual memories. Due to the heterogeneous, multicultural nature of the territories covered
by the bieżeństwo (the lass exodus of civilians in 1915), the formation of the memory framework
about this experience is very complex. It seems that “transcultural memory” and “traveling memory”
(Astrid Erll) provide a suitable research framework. In this case, such metaphors of memory
are materialized in the image of the trunk that appears in many texts.
The article presents three „conceptual personae” (Giles Deleuze, Félix Guattari) of the contemporary humanist: dilettante, amateur and jester. The first two are discussed on the basis of texts of such Polish essayists as Krzysztof Czyżewski, Marcin Król and Leopold Tyrmand, who used to emphasize not only the cultural history of these figures but also their own autobiographical experiences. In order to develop our understanding of the contemporary humanistic modus operandi, the author juxtaposes the dilettante and amateur personae with the jester figure. The article underlines three dimensions of such an „intellectual clowning dialectic”: 1) the necessity of adopting a new peculiar media strategy, 2) the ambiguous relationship with an authority, 3) the exceptional „foolish” way of thinking related to deconstruction and crucial to Jacques Derrida’s L’Universite’ sans condition (discussed by such Polish authors as Michał Paweł Markowski, Tadeusz Sławek).
The first Polish edition of Art Spiegelman’s The Complete Maus coincided with the 30th anniversary of the original American publication of Maus and stimulated a delayed Polish debate about the differences between comics and a graphic novel which disregards the author’s/cartoonist’s protests against classifying his award-winning Jewish American (auto)(bio)graphical narrative as fiction and the graphic memoir. Since American theoreticians and critics of comics medium identified the tendency to overuse the term “the graphic novel” for prestige and commercial reasons, it would be useful if Polish specialists of graphic narratives also considered using such terms as the (auto)biographical graphic novel and the graphic memoir. Graphic memoirs problematizing impact of intersecting race, class and gender hierarchies on the formation of hybrid ethnic identities constitute an important contribution of many accomplished underground or alternative American male and female cartoonists of Jewish descent and it would be good if Polish anthologies reflected this trend.
The article discusses the presence of animals in the memoirs of Polish settlers arriving after
World War II to the so called "Recovered Territories" that were acquired from Germany. The settlers’
memoirs analyzed here come from post-war memoir competitions. They provide unique
insight into aspects of the private life and everyday experiences of settlers that were previously
overlooked in studies on the history of post-war migration to these areas and the everyday life of
those involved. The analysis of these sources shows that the presence of animals was often present
in various ways in settlers’ narratives. The death of animals form the basis of my case study
because it was frequently described by settlers in their memoirs. Such experiences are interesting
because they offer insight into different types of relationships between people and animals,
which at the most basic level can be divided into those characterized by empathy and those that
are characterized by a complete insensitivity. Descriptions of the death of animals also allow us
to perceive the ambiguity of interspecies dependencies of people and non-humans, while also
eliminating the stereotypical division of the world marked by the partition of people and animals.
The article concerns problems of materiality in Ślady nieobecności. Poszukiwanie Ireny Szelburg [Traces of Absence. In Search for Irena Szelburg] by Anna Marchewka. The author of the article reveals originality of Marchewka’s biographical practice interpreting records of material experience, spatial experience and photographic ekphrasis. The main feature of this new mode of biographical writing is the stress on physical, somatic aspect of biographer’s experience, which indicates different kind of epistemology – embodied, engaging body as much as mind and emotions.
The article is an attempt to reconstruct the history of Anna Iwaszkiewicz in terms of her mental
illness. At the same time, it is a polemic with the Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz’s biographers’s view, suggesting
its sudden appearance and episodic course. Instead, based primarily on Iwaszkiewiczowa’s
personal documents – diaries, correspondence – and accounts of bystanders, it reconstructs the
causal connection that led to the escalation of the disease in the mid-1930s, as well as its multifaceted
effects and echoes in later life. Thus, it is an attempt to verify the dominant biographical
narrative and an attempt to present this fragment of Anna Iwaszkiewicz’s life as related to her personal life, artistic failure and problematic gender role, as well as the lives of her relatives,
including Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz.
This reflects on the biography of Zbigniew Anthony Kruszewski published by Beata Halicka in
2019 under the title Życie na pograniczach (Life in the borderlands). The article outlines the book
which presents the most important information about the scholarship of this pioneer of border
studies in the USA. It also presents the academic’s private life, including his childhood spent in
Poland during the Second World War.
The so called emigrantion literature is a topic, which has commanded growing interest within literary studies during the last years. In German-Polish research, we see terms shifting from “migrant literature”, towards more open formulations such as “Polish literature on the move” (Ottmar Ettes, 2001). The article focuses on this very mobility of identities. The article examines autobiographically inspired novels by Krzysztof Niewrzęda, Leszek Oświęcimski and Dariusz Muszer. They immigrated to Germany during the 1980s, which means they have been part of the last migration wave before the 1989 transitions. The article examines, with recourse to intercultural German studies and psychoanalytic insights, archetypical masculinity models in the literature by the above mentioned authors (the victim, the bad boy, the fool, the monk and the saviour).
This paper outlines the Polish reception of achievements of the French school of genetic criticism.
It highlights the applicability of this methodology in research on the archives of artists, in
particular autobiographical writings that shed light on the creative process. The second part of
the paper presents approaches currently emerging in France, where the method of genetic criticism
in research on artistic archives is becoming more prominent.
The article is an attempt to answer the challenges posed to the author’s own academic writing
by the intimate correspondence in Polish written by Rachel Auerbach (1899–1974) during the
period of the Nazi occupation and the Warsaw Ghetto. Auerbach, a bilingual Yiddish-Polish writer
and survivor historian, was one of the three surviving members of the Warsaw Ghetto underground
archive. By analyzing the history of Auerbach’s personal archive and the institutional
framework within which her personal documents were made available to the public—in spite of
the fact that many of them were labelled: “to be destroyed,” the author asks questions about the
blurred boundaries between the public and the private and about the ethics of interpretation and
publication. She tries to capture the tension present in the text between the desire to destroy and
erase and the need to document and salvage traces of an individual existence that gains importance
with the changing conditions of the occupation and of Auerbach’s situation as a Jewish
woman. These changes are also connected to changes in the model of communication inscribed
in the texts, which led a series of letters to transform into an autobiographical collection, a sort
of diary, and finally into a part of a public archival collection.
The article takes up an issue of structuring two different models of masculinity that are presented on the pages of Gombrowicz’s novel. Confrontation of anachronistic, Polish, Sarmatian masculinity and modern otherness of South American masculinity results in revision of Polish national forms. It enables unsealing the limits of the notion ’masculinity’ which is closed in Eurocentric definitions. Cultural diversity of Argentinian and Polish men might be expressed by postcolonial theories. The author analyses Gombrowicz’s texts and uses terms, such as hybrid masculinity (Eduardo Archetti) or plebeian masculinities (Pablo Ben).The idea of homeland is strongly connected with hegemoniczna masculinity and national ideology. It is faced with the concept of Synczyzna (Sonland) that is based on a model of demotic and hybrid masculinity and becomes the subject of normativizing and nationalizing discourse.Polish Sarmatian masculinity presented in comparison to Argentinian culture seems to be the excess and it allows the author to draw a conlusion about masculine camp, or even sarmatic one.
This article discusses the practical ways of using letters in the biographer’s workshop and in
a biographical story on the example of Jerzy Ficowski’s work on the biography of Bruno Schulz
and Jerzy Kandziora’s work on the biography of Jerzy Ficowski. Correspondence is understood as a form of relational auto/biography and the key causal factor of the biography. The role of
the correspondents as informers and co-authors of the biography is particularly emphasized,
similarly to the peculiar location of the letter in archives (often private) and the importance of
the history of the letters themselves – lost, found, missing – in the work process and in the biographical
narrative. The letter is framed as an indispensable source material (creating a timeline
of life and work), a contribution to the psychological and sociological analysis of the protagonist
(a “multiple self-portrait”), a source of knowledge about the creative process, and the protagnist’s
The paper proposes the analysis of biographical texts where the person is described as „an existential
style” (M. Foucault’s term). Such a person resembles „the author as a gesture” (G. Agamben)
and should be understood as a „possible place”, the space of potentiality of a person. This
perspective of research of Artur Daniel Liskowacki’s essays explains his fascination of persons
seen as „possible places” disclosed by existential styles. Some essays describe the way some
existential styles go into the everyday life practices of an essayist, what M. Macé called „putting
chosen forms of life into play”. The analysis of an existential style also explains why even the
condemned person’s life is a good opportunity to write the biographical text as evidenced by an
essay concerning Roman Bratny.
The article is a linguistic reflection on the literary Polish language of Artur Daniel Liskowacki.
The author analyses the language of the works from the perspective of the canons of language
culture, normative, communicative and ethical rules. He points out the linguistic inventiveness of
the writer, the artistic qualities of his texts, his skilful balancing between seriousness and humour,
as well as the ethical foundations governing his aesthetic choices.
The subject of the article is the poetry of Artur Daniel Liskowacki. The context of the considerations
is the essays of Liskowacki himself and modern aesthetics, especially avant-garde and
post-avant-garde. Liskowacki uses the principles of modern aesthetics in his own way and leads
them to contradictions.
Largely based on the correspondence of Anna Frajlich with Artur Daniel Liskowacki, the article
gives an account of the key moments and nature of their acquaintance, including their various