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Essays in Honour of Professor Tadeusz Rachwał


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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Redeemer Nations: Polish and American Romantic Rhetoric of Mission


In one of his essays, Czesław Miłosz, poet and long-time professor of Slavic literatures at Berkeley, remembers a sarcastic remark scrawled by some student reader on the margin of Forefathers’ Eve. Part III, a drama by Adam Mickiewicz, the most significant figure of Polish romanticism. As a comment to a scene in which Father Peter has a vision of Poland crucified as the “Christ of nations,” the student wrote, “Served you right,” and a few other words added below left no doubt that he or she must have been dismayed by the idea that some people considered themselves destined by God to fulfill a masochistic mission of global or at least continental redemption. Evidently the belief in eschatological uniqueness of a middle-sized and back then, in the 19th century, politically non-existent country in East-Central Europe seemed to an American a ridiculous fantasy.

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