By Kasia Lech
Discussions on Polish literature within the English-speaking world have largely targeted on male writers. A current article printed by Notes from Poland, which seemed on the 9 Polish works to characteristic in a world listing of books “you need to learn earlier than you die” was no exception: all 9 have been written by males.
That is partly as a result of for a very long time the Polish voice has been imagined as tantamount to the combat for nationwide liberation, which, as Maria Janion famous, has been predominantly male. My different choice provides a rundown of thrilling Polish feminine writers encompassing quite a lot of genres, providing snapshots of girls’s voices all through Poland’s advanced historical past.
9 Polish books you need to learn earlier than you die
Nearly all of them have been translated into English, however two haven’t. This displays the interpretation hole compared to texts written by Polish male writers, however can be meant to induce curiosity, which possibly, simply possibly, will lead somebody to think about translating extra Polish works.
Limitations of house imply that some worthy writers needed to be overlooked. I made a decision to highlight the authors who could also be much less recognized in English-language contexts: Zuzanna Ginczanka over Nobel laureate poet Wisława Szymborska, for instance.
Nonetheless, as a great Polish saying says, guidelines exist to be damaged, or at the least stretched. So, whereas I can not identify all of the writers I want, I want to dedicate this text to different good feminine authors: Gabriela Zapolska, Zofia Posmysz, Manuela Gretkowska, Inga Iwasiów, Martyna Majok, Maria Dąbrowska, Małgorzata Musierowicz, Joanna Chmielewska, Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, Stanisława Przybyszewska, Maria Konopnicka, Brygida Helbig, Halina Poświatowska, Zofia Stanecka, Irena Tuwim… Google them.
A Transaction, or an Account of the Total Lifetime of an Orphan Lady by the use of Plaintful Threnodies within the 12 months 1685, by Anna Stanisławska, 1685 (a novel in verse)
Anna Stanisławska’s autobiographical work is an account of her life: love, oppression, and private battle, but additionally her encounter with and perspective on Polish historical past’s most necessary occasions and figures.
Additionally it is a narrative of feminine empowerment. Stanisławska tells the story of her oppressive marriage to Jan Kazimierz Warszycki (the castellan – a territorial official – of Kraków) and the way she – with royal intervention – ends it, regaining her life, dignity, and happiness.
It’s out there in English in an excellent translation by Barry Keane (with commentary) which conveys the rawness and honesty of Stanisławska’s voice. Strains like: “Loyalty is now not due / Once you’ve been overwhelmed black and blue!” might be simply used on a #metoo protest signal.
The challenges of bringing Polish literature to the world: an interview with translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Poetry by Zuzanna Ginczanka, Nineteen Thirties/Nineteen Forties
Zuzanna Ginczanka, born in Kyiv, was a multilingual Polish-Jewish artist of the interwar interval. Her poetry explores feminine Polish-Jewish bodily, physiological, and sensual expertise.
Essentially the most well-known of her poems Non omnis moriar – right here in translation by Nancy Kassell and Anita Safran – was in all probability written in 1942 after she was denounced by Zofia Chominowa, a caretaker of the home the place she was hiding, and arrested by the Nazi Germans.
Non omnis moriar, used as proof in a courtroom case towards Chominowa after the battle, is a deeply ironic and bitter response to Holocaust, but additionally to her personal struggles to be recognised as a Polish poet.
Regardless of skilled acclaim from her contemporaries, Ginczanka was trapped in antisemitic stereotypes. She escaped the 1942 arrest, however was killed in Kraków in 1944 by the Germans. Largely ignored till the Nineties, her poetry gained consideration because of Izolda Kiec and Agata Araszkiewicz.
A few of her works can be found in English. You may also immerse your self in watching and listening to the rhythms of a passage from her poem Miłość (Love) carried out by the ensemble of Teatr Narodowy (Polish Nationwide Theatre) in Warsaw in Polish and Polish Signal Language.
Medallions by Zofia Nałkowska, 1946 (novel in prose)
This assortment of eight quick tales, translated into English by Diana Kuprel, is accompanied by a strong and well-known motto: “Ludzie ludziom zgotowali ten los” (Folks made this destiny for different individuals).
Primarily based on Nałkowska’s participation within the Polish investigations of the Nazi crimes and on witnesses’ testimonies, Medallions provides an account of occasions throughout World Conflict II in Poland. The horrifying details are contrasted by Nałkowska’s distanced, documentary-like, language.
“The Adults and Youngsters of Auschwitz” is a must-read for anybody making an attempt to know the trauma of World Conflict II.
International Our bodies by Julia Holewińska, 2010 (a play in prose that generally rhymes)
Julia Holewińska’s play – the recipient of the celebrated Gdynia Drama Award – is ready in pre-1989 and post-1989 Poland, alternating between each occasions. It tells the story of Adam, a hero of the Solidarity motion.
After the autumn of communism in 1989, Adam modifications his intercourse and turns into Ewa. Nevertheless, Ewa is recognised neither by her household nor Solidarity. Ewa as Adam is married and has a son, however he refuses to name her a mom.
Anna Bilińska: the groundbreaking Nineteenth-century artist who defied adversity to encourage others
Holewińska’s play discover transgenderism and transsexualism and, in broader sense, points of performativity of gender and writing girls out of Polish historical past. It has been carried out in Poland, Eire, and Germany, amongst others.
Eminent Polish theatre translator Artur Zapałowski labored on its English-language model, which was printed in a bigger anthology of Polish modern performs created by Krystyna Duniec, Joanna Klass, and Joanna Krakowska.
Snow White and Russian Purple by Dorota Masłowska, 2002 (prose however not prose)
Dorota Masłowska was a young person about to take her last secondary faculty exams when she wrote Wojna polsko-ruska, subsequently translated into English by Benjamin Paloff. It provides a platform for tales of marginalised youth immersed in events, medicine, and intercourse.
The central character, Nails (or Silny, actually “Sturdy one” within the unique), lives together with his mom and tries to search out himself in (absurd) Polish socio-political realities. The language – which on the one hand seems as Silny’s stream of consciousness and on the opposite performs with type – is a novel ingredient of the e book, and of Masłowska’s model normally.
“An aggressive younger thug has points together with his girlfriend and spends a number of chaotic days in a haze of medicine and violence.”
Wojna polsko-ruska (Snow White and Russian Purple) (2009) pic.twitter.com/0TIxeLe12N
— Lauren Rosewarne (@LaurenRosewarne) July 16, 2020
She is now a recognised and multi-award-winning creator, and her debut novel has been translated into quite a lot of languages. It obtained the esteemed Polityka Passport cultural award in 2002, and was made into a movie by Xawery Żuławski in 2009.
A Piece on Mom and Motherland by Bożena Keff, 2008 (multi-form work that features verse, prose, poetry, libretto, and extra)
Polish-Jewish author Bożena Keff brings collectively numerous varieties and myths – from Greek myths to Tomb Raider and Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings – to cope with an oppressive relationship between mom and daughter, between an individual and their motherland, and Polish and Jewish.
All these are underpinned by trauma. The mom in Keff’s textual content is a Holocaust survivor. She identifies herself by way of her private and nationwide struggling, and her daughter by way of the dearth thereof.
Keff’s Piece was partly impressed by Artwork Spiegelman’s comedian Maus and partly by her personal biography. It has been tailored to stage by Polish well-known administrators Marcin Liber (2010) and Jan Klata (2011), nominated for the Nike Literary Award, and translated to many languages together with English (by Benjamin Paloff and Alissa Valles).
First exhibition dedicated to Artwork Deco painter Tamara Łempicka opens in Poland
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Useless by Olga Tokarczuk, 2009 (novel in prose)
Olga Tokarczuk, the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, wants no introduction. Tokarczuk’s books are well-known and multiple-award-winning throughout totally different nations and linguistic contexts as each literary works and as translations, together with the Man Booker Worldwide Prize for Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft.
Drive Your Plow (the title comes from a poem by William Blake), translated into English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, is underpinned by vegan and feminist ideas – an method which integrates the oppression of animals into the evaluation of patriarchal tradition. It focuses on an aged village girl and poetry lover, Janina Duszejko, and her involvement in an investigation of murders on native hunters.
The novel was tailored as a movie titled Spoor by Agnieszka Holland (2017).
Translating Tokarczuk: An interview with Jennifer Croft
Ciemno, prawie noc (Darkish, Nearly Evening) by Joanna Bator, 2012 (novel in prose)
Set as a criminal offense or thriller story, Ciemno, prawie noc is a examine of a transgenerational trauma rooted in darkish historical past of Wałbrzych in southwestern Poland. A German metropolis till the tip of World Conflict II, it grew to become Polish in 1945, however lots of its German residents remained. After the post-1989 transition of the Polish financial system, it had its coal mines closed, resulting in a deep disaster, notably felt by way of poverty and social exclusion.
The novel’s central character is Alicja Tabor, who returns to her residence metropolis and her post-German home to research mysterious disappearances of kids. The e book, which oscillates between modern Poland and Wałbrzych’s and Alicja’s painful histories, received the celebrated 2013 Nike Literary Award and was a semi-finalist of the ANGELUS Central European Literature Award. Its 2019 movie adaptation by Borys Lankosz is on the market on Netflix in some nations.
One other scene from the movie “Darkish, nearly evening” (#Ciemnoprawienoc) has been filmed at #KsiążCastle, taking us again to the time when the Purple Military stormed into the Fort. The scene depicts the burning of furnishings, books on the Fort terraces.#poland @WalbrzychMM #polishcinema pic.twitter.com/jv3Gxb1uve
— Zamek Książ (@Zamek_Ksiaz) April 26, 2018
Pucio by Marta Galewska-Kustra, 2016 (prose)
The Pucio collection – books and video games for the youngest kids (0-6) – tells the story of the toddler Pucio and his household. Pucio offers with on a regular basis challenges, feelings, and folks in his life.
The distinctiveness of the gathering is in the way it facilitates kids’s speech growth. Marta Galewska-Kustra is a speech therapist and has a PhD in pedagogy. Pucio’s consecutive elements construct from onomatopoeic sounds to full tales.
The books have been translated into a number of languages together with German, Czech, and Croatian. As a mom of a bilingual baby, nevertheless, I can confidently say there isn’t any equal within the UK bookshops. Pucio as the ultimate e book on this listing speaks to the meta-level of my choice.
For a very long time in Europe’s historical past, kids’s literature was the principle platform for feminine voices to be heard. I need to finish by emphasising my resistance to the concept kids’s literature isn’t a severe type. Such a lingering stereotype is a part of the patriarchal custom that each one the opposite texts featured right here problem.
Important picture credit score: Gender Research UW/Fb. Creator picture by Tomasz Lazar.