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Affinities

Essays in Honour of Professor Tadeusz Rachwał

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Edited By Agnieszka Pantuchowicz and Slawomir Maslon

Affinities, a collection of essays dedicated to Professor Tadeusz Rachwał, a noted literary historian and cultural critic, pioneer of the present-day cultural studies in Poland, includes texts written by his friends, colleagues, and disciples. As it turns out, even though the topics discussed by the particular authors differ from each other, the volume has a definite focus: literature and culture from the early modern times to the present, approached in ways that combine attention to the textual detail with a broad perspective of social change and the ability to use the hermeneutics of suspicion to see through various received ideas and petrified ideologies. Scholars from Poland, the UK, and the USA have demonstrated that Professor Rachwał attracts minds that unite critical passion and inquisitiveness with expertise in many fields of research in today’s (post-)humanities.
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“See how they hurry to enter their bodies”: Jorie Graham and the Move Beyond Modernism

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For several generations since the High Modernist moment, the burden of North American poetry has been to synthesize, to assimilate, and to work past the major Modernist discoveries. Some startling consolida­tions have resulted: from the first generation of Anglo-Americans (Auden, Spender, and MacLeish), through later clusters of writers like the Southern Agrarian/Kenyon poets, the Black Mountain School, the Beats, the Lowell-Schwartz-Berryman group in their youth. But along the way the New Criti­cal theories that had sprung from Modern models (through texts including I.A. Richards’ Practical Criticism, 1929, William Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity, 1930, and Wellek-and-Warren’s Theory of Literature, 1949) became less descriptive, as in their original formulations, and more prescriptive in practice. As a critical method, the “close reading” of poems encouraged attention to qualities of irony, allusiveness, formal experimentation, aesthetic integrity – responding to, and privileging, characteristics of the poems of High Modernism and of the “tradition” the Moderns had retrospectively defined.

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