Whitman in Poland: The Reception and Role of the American Poet in Polish National Culture
by Marta A. Skwara
translated by John Merchant
University of Iowa Press, 2020
Paper: 978-1-60938-738-9 | eISBN: 978-1-60938-739-6
Library of Congress Classification PS3237.4.P7S59 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.3

Whitman in Poland examines the reception of Walt Whitman in Poland from 1872 to the present day. The many ways in which Whitman was read, translated, and constructed in Polish culture are analyzed using a unique interdisciplinary approach that melds reception, communication, translation, and comparative studies. Marta Skwara shows how Whitman’s biography was portrayed in
Poland; how and why the mid-1950s saw the greatest flourish of interest in Whitman as he was read in terms of “socialist realism” in accordance with the political indoctrination of the era; how Whitman’s image in Poland evolved from his first Polish translators and enthusiasts on through modernist poets’ responses; and how reading multiple Polish translations of the same Whitman poem by different translators allows us to see changing cultural and comparative contexts. Readers will get a full picture of how Whitman has functioned as a presence in Polish prose and poetry, and even in cinema and television.

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