Leopold Tyrmand Northwestern University Press, 2014 Library of Congress PG7158.T9A33 2014 | Dewey Decimal 891.858703
Leopold Tyrmand, a Polish Jew who survived World War II by working in Germany under a false identity, would go on to live and write under Poland’s Communist regime for twenty years before emigrating to the West, where he continued to express his deeply felt anti-Communist views. Diary 1954—written after the independent weekly paper that employed him was closed for refusing to mourn Stalin’s death—is an account of daily life in Communist Poland. Like Czesław Miłosz, Václav Havel, and other dissidents who described the absurdities of Soviet-backed regimes, Tyrmand exposes the lies—big and small—that the regimes employed to stay in power. Witty and insightful, Tyrmand’s diary is the chronicle of a man who uses seemingly minor modes of resistance—as a provocative journalist, a Warsaw intellectual, the "spiritual father" of Polish hipsters, and a promoter of jazz in Poland—to maintain his freedom of thought.
Diary Volume 1
Witold Gombrowicz Northwestern University Press, 1988 Library of Congress PG7158.G6692A3413 1988 | Dewey Decimal 891.858703
This is the first English translation of Witold Gombrowicz's Diary, the most Polish and the most universal of his works. Gombrowicz (1904-1969), who left Poland at age thirty-five and never returned, whose writings were banned in his own country, has had an impact on Polish literature unlike any of his contemporaries. But he changed more than the image of Polish letters. If literature cannot influence national character, it can at least influence the national image, its understanding and evaluation of itself. That is what Gombrowicz changed: the image and stereotype of the Pole.
Winner, 2015 USC Book Award in Literary and Cultural Studies, for outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the fields of literary and cultural studies
The Ethics of Witnessing investigates the reactions of five important Polish diaristswriters—Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, Maria Dabrowska, Aurelia Wylezynska, Zofia Nalkowska, and Stanislaw Rembek—during the period when the Nazis persecuted and murdered Warsaw’s Jewish population. The responses to the Holocaust of these prominent prewar authors extended from insistence on empathic interaction with victims to resentful detachment from Jewish suffering. Whereas some defied the dehumanization of the Jews and endeavored to maintain intersubjective relationships with the victims they attempted to rescue, others selfdeceptively evaded the Jewish plight. The Ethics of Witnessing examines the extent to which ideologies of humanism and nationalism informed the diarists’ perceptions, proposing that the reality of the Final Solution exposed the limits of both orientations and ultimately destroyed the ethical landscape shaped by the Enlightenment tradition, which promised the equality and fellowship of all human beings.
A Life of Solitude is a biography of Polish playwright Stanislawa Przybyszewska (1901-35). One of the finest plays about the French Revolution, The Danton Case, was written by this unknown Polish woman living in obscurity in the free city of Danzig. The illegitimate daughter of writer Stanislaw Przybyszewski, she became a writer against long odds and at the cost of her health, her sanity, and eventually her life. A Life of Solitude shows how she chose her vocation, examine her ideas about writing, and reveal her struggle with material existence. Tragically, she came to substitute creativity for life and clung to her sense of calling with a stubbornness that dulled the instinct for self-preservation and led to her death from morphine and malnutrition at age thirty-four.
In a brief life deeply and traumatically disrupted by two years in concentration camps as a political prisoner, Tadeusz Borowski (1922-1951) was tragically destined to become one of the most eloquent witnesses to the Holocaust in Poland. His recollections and stories, the most famous of which is This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, document in stark historical, literary, and personal terms the experience of the camps and its cost to humanity.
This correspondence in this volume expands on the insights of Borowski’ s published work and extends to the less-documented aftermath of the Holocaust in postwar Poland and East Germany.
The volume opens with Borowski’ s letter to his mother from Pawiak Prison the day after his arrest and closes with an unsigned telegram informing his parents of his suicide. The letters to and from family members, friends, and literary figures offer an indispensable picture of the world in the wake of the Nazis— and of the indelible stain that experience left upon the literature, politics, and life of Eastern Europe, in particular upon one gifted and doomed writer.
A Stanislaw Lem Reader
Peter Swirski Northwestern University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PG7158.L392A35 1997 | Dewey Decimal 891.8537
This collection assembles in-depth and insightful writings by and about, and interviews with, one of the most fascinating writers of the twentieth century. Anyone interested in Lem's provocative and uncompromising view of literature's role in the contemporary cultural environment, and in Lem's opinions about his own fiction, about the relation of literature to science and technology, and the dead ends of contemporary culture, will be fascinated by this eclectic collection.