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Book versus Power

Studies in the Relations between Politics and Culture in Polish History

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Edited By Jacek Soszyński and Agnieszka Chamera-Nowak

This volume considers the various interactions between the culture of the book and politics in Polish history. Each of the fourteen authors deals with a different topic, chronologically starting with the beginnings of the early Piast monarchy in the 10 th century up to contemporary times: for instance, E. Potkowski discusses the political ambitions of Duke Mieszko I and his descendants with regard to the introduction of early writing and reading in Poland; A. Kamler analyses the attitude of the Jagiellonian dynasty in the 1500s towards books and education; and D. Jarosz traces the changing approach of the communists towards book production and the promotion of readership in their attempts to persuade Polish society to accept their ideology.
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Polish Government Administration and the Professional Press Dedicated to the Book Market, 1989–2000

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This article will discuss the development of the Polish professional journals dedicated to the book market1 during the last decade of the twentieth century—times when the Polish economy and the political system, indeed the society as a whole, underwent fundamental changes, known as the transformation. During this period, the professional press underwent profound changes too, and the role played in these changes by the government administration was by no means negligible. In the communist era, the role of the authorities in the functioning of the professional press—just as in the book market in general—seemed obvious: the state organized and managed nearly all aspects of the publishing process, as well as wholesale and retail book circulation. Within the centrally run system, the decision makers reserved some space for the activities of the book market press. The 1989 watershed brought about changes, which can justly be called revolutionary—a cliché that implies that the new state left the book market to its own, and to the governance of the freed economic forces of supply and demand. The situation of the professional press is usually treated in the same way. However, it is worth noticing that a number of important positive decisions by governmental agencies, as well as negative ones (intentional resistance in addition to refusals to appeals from below) did influence the functioning of the book market and the professional periodicals. With the end of the transitional period, the role of the state in the functioning of...

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