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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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Women’s Perspective in Szymborska’s Poetry — an Attempt at a Postfeminist Perspective: Bożena Karwowska


Women’s Perspective in Szymborska’s Poetry — an Attempt at a Postfeminist Perspective

Bożena Karwowska

“Women constitute about half of Earth’s population, similarly as men, and this is not in any way reflected in poetry”1 — Małgorzata Baranowska wrote in her excellent essay in which she also examines the poetry of Wisława Szymborska. “Gender does not determine the shape of a work of art”2 — Grażyna Borkowska noticed, analyzing the characteristics of women’s literature. It seems that in literature the fact that a writer is a woman is becoming less relevant, compared with the question of whether and how the author can express her femininity in the language of literature. Here lies the problem as no one really knows what it exactly means to express femininity in literature, and what this femininity is or should be in literature. According to Borkowska: “We stand … rather helpless, facing the phenomenon of women’s literature/poetry, believing that definitions paradoxically do not satisfy the need for clarity embedded in every utterance, and clear utterances are never completely true.”3 The problem is, however, much more complicated, as it generally deals with the notion of “femininity” and the different ways of defining it. For example, femininity, as defined in the masculine world order, signifies a complete (or almost complete) subordination to stereotypes and patterns that have been created for women by men. Feminist critique attempts to deal with the conventional (patriarchal) uses of this category, adjusting its meaning according to...

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