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Katowice Interdisciplinary and Comparative Studies

Literature, Anthropology and Culture

Edited by Tadeusz Slawek

This newly launched series creates the opportunity for those scholars who, on the one hand, wish to see literary works in the unceasing dialogue with other arts and, on the other, want to rethink literary theory in terms of its embededness in the reflection which involves notions crucial for the shape of contemporary human community such as democracy, justice, friendship, hospitality, home, passions, and many others. Thus we invite essays on a wide range of topics which include studies of individual texts placing them in a rich web of comparative references not turning away from the body-politic, interpretations of texts and images as important ways towards the formation of cultural identity, explorations of the dialogue between the word and the image with the complicated transpositions taking place in the process, as well as in-depth investigations of particular notions in their historical and multicultural contexts. The analyses undertaken by the authors in this series will make a serious contribution to a better understanding of the notions and processes constituting our being together.
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Revelations of Gloucester

Charles Olsen, Fitz Hugh Lane, and Writing of the Place

Tadeusz Slawek

A relationship between man and place has always attracted scientists’, scholars’, and artists’ attention. Succinctly subsumed in the concept of genius loci and implicated in the art of visual and linguistic description, topography of man’s existence invited debates among such disciplines as geography, economy, ecology, history, and philosophy. Revelations of Gloucester is a book which, including elements of all these areas of research, focuses on the variety of problems generated by the process of representing a place. Occupying a very special position on the cultural and historical map of the US, the city of Gloucester has had at least two champions of outstanding stature: Charles Olson, a leading avantgarde poet of the 1950s and 1960s whose Maximus Poems is one of the most ambitious modern attempts at creating a sequence of place-related verses, and Fitz Hugh Lane, a mid-nineteenth century American luminist painter who, from his Gloucester harbor house, investigated painterly and philosophical secrets of American light. Thus, the emphasis of the book is double: applying theoretical insights of phenomenology and deconstruction, it discusses the aesthetic and intellectual significance of both artists in relation to their home territory and tries to reconnoitre the metaphore of light seminal for the tradition of American transcendentalism.
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Tadeusz Slawek

This study takes up Thoreau’s work as an early and prophetic diagnosis of the modern crisis of relationships between the individual and society. Thus Adorno’s formulation of «a melancholy of science» finds its predecessor in Thoreau’s famous dictum from the early pages of Walden that we live our lives in quiet desperation. The author reads Thoreau’s Journal as an attempt to refute tendencies towards the narrowing of life to being understood merely in techno-economic categories which threaten the quality of the development of both the individual and the community. Thus in literary scholarship it is essential to find strategies which will critically contribute to understanding and transforming what Auerbach called «ways of life» and what Barthes referred to as «living-together».
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Organs, Organisms, Organisations

Organic Form in 19th-Century Discourse

Tadeusz Rachwal and Tadeusz Slawek

The volume addresses the question of organic form and organicity from various theoretical and critical perspectives. Nineteenth-century discourse in Europe and in America circulates numerous, sometimes incompatible, versions of organicity, which are all «humanist», mostly due to the conviction of the centrality of the ‘human’ itself. What is searched for is a natural essence of humanity, of human products, organisations and values without any regard to class, race and gender, an issue addressed by a number of texts in the volume, ranging from analyses of Romantic visions of harmonious universe and attempts at their implantation in South Africa to attempts at legitimising humanity via granting some rights to animals.