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Rethinking Orient

In Search of Sources and Inspirations


Edited By Adam Bednarczyk, Magdalena Kubarek and Maciej Szatkowski

The contributions in this book address a vast variety of questions concerning the sources and mutual inspirations in Oriental and European literatures. The authors discuss selected texts from both historical and synchronic perspectives. They reveal and scrutinise the sedimented layers in their search for the original as well as for the repetitive and universal. The book revolves around the creative reception of one’s own cultural heritage and of works which originated in other cultures.

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About a Traveler Who Failed to Find what He Longed For: Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas and his Early Novels (Weronika Sztorc)


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Weronika Sztorc

University of Warsaw Poland

About a Traveler Who Failed to Find what He Longed For: Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas and his Early Novels

Abstract: Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas’ autobiographic novels tell the story of his life from childhood in Warsaw to his emigration to Alexandria. The turning point of his biography was the convertion into Islam. Since that moment he often traveled to various Eastern countries to finally settle down in Egypt. One of the major motivation for his travels and his move is the search of “the sources” – since Kalwas feels an Eastern man. The aim of the paper is to show what these “sources” are, and whether he actually gets it. Indeed, it turns out that the East as found by the writer has already been “spoild” by its contacts with the West. It is also considered in what way his dreams of the Orient are comparable to the traditional way of thinking about the East and about the journey to the Orient. Last but not least, it is interesting whether, according to his declared willingness to meet the Other (in Lévinas’ understanding), Kalwas’ narrator is able to avoid the colonial approach, or he sometimes does show a certain superiority or condescension.

Key words: sources, Orient, Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas, Egypt, the Other

The novels of Piotr Ibrahim Kalwas have not been widely commented on by critics so far. Nevertheless, it appears to be worthwhile...

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