Książka: Polish Literature in Transformation

„Polish Literature in Transformation”, edited by Ursula Phillips with the assistance of Knut Andreas Grimstad and Kris Van Heuckelom. (Polonistik im Kontext, Band 2). Berlin [et al.]: LIT Verlag, 2013, 320pp.

Consisting of a substantial introduction by the main editor and seventeen other essays, this book emerged from the conference “Polish Literature Since 1989” held at the University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies in November 2011. It is not a reflection of the conference proceedings or a collection of isolated, unrelated essays but a multi-authored volume coordinated by a single overarching theme, to which the individual authors contribute the fruits of their own research into a number of sub-themes. These contributors are drawn from several different countries and scholarly traditions: Poland, Britain (England and Scotland), Germany, Scandinavia, Belgium.

The main theme of the book is the reflection in literary works (mostly in prose, including memoirs and fiction, but additionally in poetry and drama) of the transformation, systemic and cultural, that Poland has undergone since the collapse of communism in 1989, and also the ways in which literary scholars have reacted to change, both in Poland and in the West: To what extent, for example, has the import of Western theory after 1989 influenced literary-cultural studies and has there been a reaction against this?

Themes addressed include: changing conceptions of Polish nationhood and identity or of so-called “Polishness”; the impact of European integration (since 2004); the effects of migration; revised conceptions of the foreign or the marginal, and new understandings of what is understood by émigré or emigrant literature; sensitivity to issues of gender and sexual identity, as well as the impact of feminism and queer studies; the huge impact of revived interest in the Jewish heritage, in Holocaust memory, and in Polish-Jewish relations.

Contents of the volume:

Ursula Phillips

The Conflict of Generations in Contemporary Polish Prose
Jerzy Jarzębski

Polish Urban Literature and the Memories of Lost Others
Uilleam Blacker

Polishness in Crisis? Migration and Inter-Ethnic Coupling
Kris Van Heuckelom

Wrong Sex and the City: Polish Work Migration and Subaltern Masculinity
Dirk Uffelmann

E(Migration) and Displacement: Melancholy as a Subversive Gesture in Prose by Women
Urszula Chowaniec

Marianna in Bluebeard’s Castle: Tropes of Female Authorship in Izabela Filipiak’s Total Amnesia
Monika Świerkosz

Homobiographies and Gay Emancipation
Błażej Warkocki

Women’s Archives as Literary Storerooms: Identity Politics in Women’s (Auto)biographies
Agnieszka Mrozik

Motherhood and the Transmission of Memory in Texts by Polish-Jewish Writers
Katarzyna Zechenter

Into the Well of Memory: Michał Głowiński’s Jewish Childhood during the Holocaust
Joanna Michlic

Polish Holocaust Writing after Testimony, or the Relevance of Piotr Paziński’s The Boarding House
Knut Andreas Grimstad

Constructing a Memory of a Polish/Jewish Community in Tadeusz Słobodzianek’s Our Class
Paul Vickers

Ressentiment as Experiment: Polish Theatre and Drama after 1989
Grzegorz Niziołek

Transnational or Bi-cultural? Challenges in Reading post-1989 Drama “Written outside the Nation”
Elwira Grossman

A Transformation in Verse: Reconnaissance of Developments in Polish Poetry since 1989
Wioletta Grzegorzewska and Marek Kazmierski

Rewritten Presences: Anthologies of Polish Poetry in English 1989-2011
Elżbieta Wójcik-Leese

Afterword: Political Controversy since 1989
Anthony Kemp-Welch

Notes on Contributors