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From the Editor

April 2002

Volume XXII, No. 2

The dearth of translations of Juliusz Slowacki's works was only slightly alleviated by Michael Mikos bilingual selection of Slowacki's poems This Fateful Power/Ta sila fatalna (Lublin: Norbertinum, 1999). Mikos's volume contains parts of Canto Five of Beniowski (1841) of which we present a longer excerpt in Christopher Zakrzewski's translation. We are pleased that at least a tiny bit of Slowacki's poem now exists in two translations, for the reader to compare and savor. The bulk of Slowacki's poems, plays, and prose works remains untranslated Ditto Cyprian Norwid. Oh, the riches of which the American Slavists remain unaware, and not just in Polish literature (see the review of Myroslaw Shkandrij's book in BOOKS). The text was translated from Slowacki's Dziela wszystkie [Complete Works] edited by Juliusz Kleiner (Wroclaw: Ossolineum, 1952-4). Oleszczynski's medallion on the title page was reproduced from the same edition.

This issue also contains the translations of two Sonnets by Polish Renaissance poet Mikolaj Sep-Szarzynski. The translator, Steven Clancy, has already translated for SR Valeriia Novodvorskaia's essay in 1997. We are pleased to publish a Herbert-inspired poem by a poet from Oregon, Robert Davies, whose ‘Mr. Cogito Press' has published many poets from the American heartland and from Eastern and Central Europe. Lastly, we publish a poem by a Polish woman poet, Marta Fox, translated by a young Slavicist Anna Gasienica-Byrcyn. This is our way of foregrounding the fact that women's concerns must be recognized for what they are: a vital part of literature and of social and cultural life. Polish and other Central and Eastern European literatures have been male-oriented, and women's concerns have all too often been relegated to issues of secondary importance. Fox's poem forcefully reminds us that there is a world out there that needs to be recognized. And not only her poem: Manuela Gretkowska's novel Polka reviewed in BOOKS carries an even weightier message. Gretkowska is a world pioneer in giving voice to pregnancy and childbearing, and in exploring the feelings of women who have become incubators of another life.

Bogdan Czaykowski's review of Piotr Wilczek's habilitation treatise, Dyskurs, przeklad, interpretacja, is in many ways exemplary of how good reviews should be written. A fair summary of the book's content is essential in a good review. Czaykowski does this, and more: he rephrases a number of subtle points in Wilczek's book that a casual reviewer would have sacrificed to the speed with which books are read nowadays.

In his review of a German-language account of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, Marek Chodakiewicz reminds us of the power of ‘elbowing out:' cultural politics in Soviet-occupied Poland privileged works of left-wing resistance over centrist and right-wing resistance, and thus an opinion was formed (even among historians) that the first played a substantial role whereas the second was mostly concerned with opposing progress and the Soviets. The figures which Chodakiewicz quotes: 6,000 for left-wing PPR/AL and 70,000-90,000 for right-wing NSZ, indicate that publishing policy can distort history and leave a lopsided image of what actually happened

Our Take takes on the issues of Orientalism and Occidentalism as they are being debated in literary periodicals including NYRB. Central and Eastern Europeans need to generate a discourse on these and related issues, lest they be subsumed by the dichotomy of which they do not partake.

Finally, we include in this issue the second installment of Zofia Ptasnik's dramatic Diary. This source material on World War II history will continue to appear in subsequent issues.

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