Edited By Beata Ptaszyńska, Paulina Stanik and Stanisław Świtlik
Cultural historians, literary scholars and linguists have been concerned with the question of how the world can be understood and represented in text. This volume presents new questions, methods and approaches in Humanism by promoting scholarly work of young researchers who participated in the Inter-/Trans-/Unidisciplinary Methods – Techniques – Structures conference in Warsaw, Poland. In their analyses, the authors shed new light on works of literature, foreign cultures and languages of the world by adopting broad perspectives and using various methods. It contains eleven articles organized into the following parts: The World in Languages and The World in Literature.
Far from Revolutionary: Orientalism in Polish World War II Accounts of India (Paulina Stanik)
Far from Revolutionary: Orientalism in Polish World War II Accounts of India
Abstract: Jerzy Rostworowski, a British Army officer who travelled to India during World War II, was one of the very few Polish military men to do so in that period. His memoir, entitled Moje drogi wojenne (2016), contains a chapter dedicated to the journey in which he describes all that fascinated him about the undiscovered India. In the course of the study it has been established that, apart from Rostworowski, at least four other Polish soldiers stepped onto Indian soil in the 1940s and wrote about it: Wojciech Łęski, Ryszard Łysakowski, Jan Henryk Janczak, and Jan Weseli, whose accounts supplement the analysis. What was the image of colonial India the authors presented to their readers and how did their origin influence it? In this paper, I argue that Polish servicemen participated in spreading and reproducing stereotypical images of the East despite coming from a country which did not possess overseas territories. Although they mostly attempted to distance themselves from the Indian Other, they seemed cautious about justifying British hegemony, often placing themselves in the position of an observer.
Keywords: Orientalism, colonialism, interwar period, World War II, Poland
Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel In Desert and Wilderness (1911) comes to mind when browsing library catalogues containing World War II memoirs written by soldiers of the 2nd Polish Corps. The terms “adventure”, “road” and “path” as well as exotic geographical locations repeatedly...
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