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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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“Written on Waters of Babel”: Silence and Rhetorical Strategies of Wisława Szymborska: Dorota Wojda


“Written on Waters of Babel”: Silence and Rhetorical Strategies of Wisława Szymborska

Dorota Wojda

This essay is an attempt to use the category of silence in analyzing the poetry of the author of A Large Number.1 The analysis seeks to expose the specific character of inexpressibility and rhetorical strategies present in the poems. Often associated with these categories, silence and silencing will be used here in several ways. Firstly, they will be treated as poetic figures that rely on locating the sense of the utterance in the wordless spaces of the text, or cause the desired information to be derived from the written text only partially, or produce a complete inversion of the poem’s meaning as opposed to its literal reading. Secondly, these categories will relate not only to simple phrases, but equally to larger structural entities. And thirdly, the notion of silence also serves as a metaphor that portrays the beings that do not exist in the text, or suggests that there may be something more to them then what meets the eye. ← 155 | 156 →

Therefore, what will be analyzed will be, on the one hand, significant gaps, and on the other, the formulas of the meaning of which is situated, so to speak, outside of them. According to the literature on the subject, this differentiation is expressed through the opposition of significant silence and silencing.2 For me, the central thesis is consistent with Hart Nibbrig’s postulate: “hermeneutics of silence should explain...

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