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Wisława Szymborska’s poetry

Choice of essays- Translated by Karolina Krasuska and Jedrzej Burszta


Edited By Anna Nasilowska

This is a reader’s book about Wisława Szymborska’s poetry. She holds the Nobel Prize in Literature of 1996. The Contents of the book are the Nobel Lecture held in Stockholm at the official ceremony by the poet in December 1996, a choice of Polish essays about Szmyborska’s poetry and translations of her works into German, English, Spanish and French by Polish critics (translated into English). All essays were published at first in Polish in separated books or in literary revues. Since many years Wisława Szymborska’s poetry is translated into many different languages and loved by readers as intellectual and ironic comment to contemporary world. The book of critics written in Poland and by Western specialists on Polish literature shows how her poetry was read and seen on background of artistic tradition and experience of her generation and from the point of view of different currents in humanities.
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The Limits of Lyric: Western Theory and Postwar Polish Practice: Clare Cavanagh


The Limits of Lyric:Western Theory and Postwar Polish Practice

Clare Cavanagh

I have felt that the problem of my timeshould be defined as Poetry and History.Czesław Miłosz,“A Poet Between East and West” (1977)

1. The Lyric Under Siege

Poetry and history, poetry and society, poetry and politics: according to many recent Anglo-American critics, these phrases pair virtual antonyms. In the ideological criticism that has dominated the American academy in recent years, the lyric has come to serve as a convenient stand-in for “aesthetic isolationism” generally, that is, for art’s apparent “refusal of life actually conducted in actual society,” which in fact amounts to a “complicity with class-interested strategies of smoothing over historical conflict and contradictions with claims of natural and innate organization.” With the advent of Romanticism, Terry Eagleton explains, all art was ostensibly rescued “from the material practices, social relations and ideological meanings in which it is always caught up, and raised to the status of a solitary fetish.” And Romanticism’s favored form, the lyric, is invariably the worst offender in such socially irresponsible sleight-of-hand.1

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