Volume XXIV, No. 1
The Nation in the Village: The Genesis of Peasant National Identity in Austrian Poland, 1848-1914, by Keely Stauter-Halsted. Ithaca & London: Cornell Univ. Press, 2001. x + 272 pages. Index, bibliography, photographs, maps. Hardcover. $49.95 on Amazon.com.
This book ushers in compelling evidence that the modern Polish national identity developed among peasants in Galicia long before the First World War and reconstitution of independent Poland. It also shows that the conception of Polish identity among peasants was by no means uniform. The author argues that the region's peasants possessed a high degree of civic consciousness at the time when non-Germanic Central European peasants were supposed to be illiterate, mute, and malleable. Thus the book works toward the shattering of stereotypes associated with peasantry, and for that reason it will not be welcome by those who cling to these stereotypes. The region's peasants were proverbially poor ("Hunger" and "Misery" are the actual names of villages in the vicinity of Zakopane today). As has often been the case concerning Polish lands partitioned among three European empires, the history of this area has usually been told from the standpoint of the politically and economically successful groups.
The book is meticulously researched and documented. The scholarship is cutting-edge. In the early twentieth century, Polish immigrants to America came largely from Galicia. The Nation in the Village has already surfaced in various American Polish discussion groups on the Web.
A Cold War in the Soviet Bloc: Polish-East German Relations, 1945-1962, by Sheldon R. Anderson. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000. 336 pages. Hardcover. $33.00 on Amazon.com.
A revealing study of the relationship between two Communist groups, East German and Polish. In spite of sloganeering about the supranational nature of Communism, the old animosities survived intact in the East German-Polish relations during the Cold War. East German Communists conveniently shrugged off their portion of guilt for the Second World War, attributing it all to West German capitalists. This enabled them to remain intransigent, behind the facade of consent, about the Oder-Neisse border with Poland. The old Prussianism with its hostility to Poland and to the Auslnder generally survived in the DDR more fully than in the FRG. It enabled East Germans to feel no sense of guilt whatsoever toward the Poles whose country they invaded, ravaged, and exposed to half a century of Soviet occupation. Scholars in German and Slavic history need to pay more attention to this book.
Warsztaty translatorskie II / Workshops on Translation II, edited by Richard Sokoloski, Henryk Duda, and Jacek Scholz. Lublin-Ottawa: Towarzystwo Naukowe KUL and Slavic Research Group, University of Ottawa, 2002. 205 pages. Paper. ISBN 83-7306-113-4. In Polish, English, German, and Russian.
This volume is a continuation of a project started in June 1999 and involving cooperation of the Institute of Polish Philology of the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, and the Slavic Research Group of the University of Ottawa. It comprises selected papers from two Workshops on Translation held in Lublin in 2000 and 2001.
The contents of the volume are diverse yet coherent. It embraces issues related to both theory of translation and practice of it. The authors and participants in the workshops are interested in some specific problem of translation of (mostly) literary texts into a particular language. This pragmatic direction is welcome. Also worth noting is the fact that the Lublin-based Workshops on Translation, having already become a tradition, develop to embrace other languages of the Central and Eastern European region and thus become a forum for scholars, graduate students, and professional translators who seek to improve their instruments of translation and exchange their experiences. Besides Polish and English (the latter being the target language of translations of some of the most difficult Polish poetry by Mikolaj Sep-Szarzynski, Jan Andrzej Morsztyn, Ignacy Krasicki, Adam Mickiewicz, Cyprian Norwid, Tadeusz Róěewicz, and Stanislaw Jerzy Lec), other Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian) as well as non- Slavic languages (German and even Turkish) are objects of research. (ds)
Ethos, vol. 14, no. 4 (2001). A quarterly published by the John Paul II Institute in Lublin and the John Paul II Foundation in Rome (firstname.lastname@example.org). ISSN 0860-8024. 398 pages.
A periodical on philosophical and ethic issues. The authors of essays (some of them translated into Polish, others written in Polish) are all noted philosophers and scholars. The lead essay is authored by Karol Wojtyla and it deals with the role of Christianity in history. A section of the philosophy and theology of history follows (four articles) then a section of the philosophically-minded Romantic poet of Poland, Zygmunt Krasinski (eleven essays). These major sections are followed by polemics, book reviews, interviews, and conference reports. There is a summary in English.
Unfortunately, the volume is marred by editorial incompetence. The archaic way in which bibliographical matters are supplied is one. Issue numbers and dates of publication have to be brought in line with the standards prevalent in first world countries. As things stand now, a reader does not know whether Ethos is published quarterly, yearly, or semi-annually. The publishers of the footnoted books are not supplied, only the cities in which books were published and dates of publication. The topics of previous issues enumerated on the back cover mean nothing to a contemporary researcher unless accompanied by names of people who wrote on these topics. No such names are supplied. Such nameless listings smack of medieval times when Christian humility made authors avoid putting their names forward. Today they merely signal editorial negligence. The English summary is too brief. These and other slips make this worthy volume lose potential readership.
Polskie sredniowieczne piesni maryjne. Studia filologiczne, by Roman Mazurkiewicz. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Akademii Pedagogicznej, 2002. 412 pages. Bibliography, indexes, summaries in English, French, and Russian. Paper. In Polish.
In his study of the Polish medieval Marian songs, the author argues that a living Marian cult in Poland was not, in spite of a deeply rooted opinion, a specifically Polish feature, but that it grew from a common Christian tradition prevalent throughout Europe. It is therefore necessary, when studying the native heritage of Marian poetry, to take into account an extensive context of tradition: biblical, apocryphal, patristic, theological, exegetic, literary, iconographic, and musical.
The book consists of two parts. The first is titled Polish Marian Song in the Middle Ages, and it is a survey of major findings emerging from the existing studies devoted to the heritage of Polish medieval Marian song. The chapter entitled A General View of the History of Research: Discoveries--Editions--Studies presents the history of the discovery of sources and of studies devoted to medieval Marian songs in the Polish language. The next chapter, A General Description of Resources, provides a synthetic discussion of key issues connected with the heritage of the Polish medieval Marian song preserved to our days: its birth and development, sources and forms of transmission, creative milieus, attitude towards foreign models, place in liturgy, performing practice, typology of works, their language and imagery. The third chapter, Inventory of Polish Marian Songs Until the Middle of the 16th Century, reviews the source materials: the known texts, information about probable dates and authors of the songs, their relationship to foreign models, their purpose and liturgical function, as well as the most important editions and studies of the old documents.
The second part features five analytical studies (Studies and Analyses). Four of them pertain to specific songs: Holy and Pious Anna, The Lord's Mysteries Are Immense, The Living God's Liberality, and A Pure Little Flower, Consolation of a Sad Heart, while the last one deals with one of the crucial questions in Polish medieval studies, namely the relationship of the native medieval Marian songs to the Old Czech literature.
These songs glorify the most important Marian holidays of ancient Christian origin: Mary's Birth (Holy and Pious Anna), Annunciation and Incarnation (The Lord's Mysteries Are Immense), and Dormition and Assumption (The Living God's Liberality). Consequently, they pertain to the most important and earliest mysteries of the Mother of God's life on earth celebrated by the Church. The fourth poem (A Pure Little Flower, Consolation of a Sad Heart) is in turn a prayerful and laudatory song, summing up merits and virtues of the "glorious Virgin." All of them are original works, at the same time deeply rooted in the tradition of medieval mariology. In addition, these poems represent a relatively high theological and literary level, while illustrating a development of the Marian song in Poland from the first half of the fifteenth century (The Lord's Mysteries Are Immense) to the beginning of the sixteenth century (Holy and Pious Anna).
The studies devoted to these documents contain transliterations and transcriptions of texts, commentaries pertaining to the history of literature and to language, and present earlier readings and emendations. But they also go beyond pure philology, opening it to the contexts most natural to religious songs: biblical, typological-figural, liturgical, hymnological, theological, and literary.
The author of this highly recommended book concludes that Polish medieval Marian songs have deep roots in Christian tradition, from which the old "masters" drew inspiration and models, and in whose language, adorned in the poetic music of the vernacular, they conveyed to the faithful "the Lord's immense mysteries about Mary's magnificence." (mjm)
Other Books Received:
Two-Hearted Oak: The Photography of Roman Loranc. Afterword by Lillian Vallee. Berkeley, CA: Heyday Books, 2003. 80 pages. Hardcover. $ 27.95 on Amazon.com.
A stunning work of art, or rather works of art, for the album contains several dozen photographs of California's Central Valley, followed by some photographs of Central Europe. Among these monochromatic masterpieces we liked best the title (and dustcover) picture of two-hearted oaks.
Xenophobe's Guide to the Poles, by Ewa Lipniacka. London: Oval Books, 2000. ISBN 1-902825. A delightful and humorous introduction to a nation once called "a state of mind" by an English wit. You do not have to agree with everything it says to enjoy it. Definitely a nice gift to an unsuspecting friend. Full of jokes, too.
Leksykon zakonów w Polsce: Instytuty zycia konsekrowanego i stowarzyzenia zycia apostolskiego, by Bogumil Lozinski. 2d revised edition. Warsaw: Katolicka Agencja Informacyjna (http://www.kai.pl), 2002. 480 pages. Illustrations, indices, tables. ISBN 83-9911554-6-3. Paper. In Polish.
An official encyclopedia of the religious orders in Poland. From it, one learns that there were in 2001 over 26,000 women religious in Poland, and under 14,000 religious men (plus a roughly similar number of diocesan priests). Altogether, there are 238 religious orders in Poland. They run nearly 2,000 charitable institutions. Each order is described in terms of its founding, present status in numbers, addresses and institutions run by it, as well as its spiritual goals.
Vmeste ili vroz': zametki na poliakh knigi A. I. Solzhenitsyna, by Semen Reznik. Moscow: Zakharov, 2003. ISBN 5-8159-0332-9. 432 pages. Hardcover. In Russian.
Takes on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's ideologized book on Jews in the Russian empire. Reznik points out that an entirely different history of Jews in Russia could be written, and he contributes to this counterhistory in a significant way.
Treasury of Polish Love Poems, vol. 2. Edited and translated by Miroslaw Lipinski. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2003. 11. pages. Hardcover. Bilingual English-Polish. $11.95.
Poems from Jan Kochanowski to Wislawa Szymborska.
Tyrmand: bikiniarz, konserwatysta. Szkice o literaturze i obyczaju, by Tomasz M. Glogowski. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Gnome, 2001. Index. 85 pages. In Polish.
Nie minelo nic, prócz lat, by Szymon Kobylinski and Aleksandra Ziólkowska-Boehm. Warsaw: Nowy Swiat Publishers, 2003 (www.nowy-swiat.pl). 303 pages. Paper. In Polish.
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