Christianitas et cultura Europae. Ksiega Jubileuszowa Profesora Jerzego Kloczowskiego, Part. I. Edited by Henryk Gapski. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej. 1998. 826 pages. Hardcover. Multilingual.
Historiae Peritus. Ksiega Jubileuszowa Profesora Jerzego Kloczowskiego, Part. II. Edited by Henryk Gapski. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej. 1998. 301 pages. Hardcover. Multilingual.
This Festschrift to which 184 persons have contributed honors Jerzy Kloczowski, arguably the best Polish historian of the older generation. Part I contains scholarly essays, Part II is a collection of personal remembrances and comments. Part I is a real treasure trove of works on a broad variety of topics, from Christianity in Poland and elsewhere to the Concept of Europe, Nations and Nationalism, City and Country, the Middle Ages, History, Sociology, Philosophy. Scholars from many countries contributed to these volumes. We spotted essays by Hanna Suchocka, Krzysztof Skubiszewski, Bohdan Osadczuk, Józef Gierowski, Jan Kulakowski. How can one ennumerate all those whom Professor Kloczowski has thus united? Your reviewer learned a great deal from this book and retained it as a reference work. The languages used include Polish, French, English, Belarusian, Ukrainian. This work suggests that scholarship in Poland remains vigorous, open-minded and in tune with the great traditions of Europe.
Repertorium wizytacji kosciolów i klasztorów w archiwach Petersburskiego Kolegium Duchownego, 1797-1914 [Volume IV of the Inventory of Materials pertaining to the history of the Catholic Church in the Polish Res Publica and in Russia], edited by Marian Radwan. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej (sponsored by the John Paul II Foundation). 1998. 231 pages. Index. Paper. In Polish.
The history of Russia's relations with its western colonies will have to be be rewritten on the basis of materials such as those provided in this series of books. The present volume is a bibliography of archival materials from the College for Roman and Greek Catholicism established in 1801 by the tsarist government within its Justice Department, in order to control the Catholic majority (or plurality, in some areas) in the western provinces of the empire. Half of the College consisted of Catholic bishops and the other half, of officials appointed by the government. The College was supposed to adjudicate and administer Catholic churches, monasteries and convents, Catholic properties, schools and other institutions. Its status as a state institution was at odds with the canon law, and therefore its existence was a point of contention between the tsarist government and the Vatican.
Until the 1850s, the materials were drafted in Polish, later, in Russian. The dioceses involved give an indication of the extent of Catholic presence on Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Belarusian territory, and of the many-generational and systematic elimination of that presence. The materials deal with the following dioceses: Zhytomyr (Zytomierz), Mohyliv (Mohylew), Kamenets (Kamieniec), Vilnius (Wilno), Minsk, Tiraspol, Kaunas (in Zmudz).
The College was closed down after the October Revolution. Its huge archives became available to scholars only recently. The collection consists of 3,767 archives ranging in size from a few to several hundred documents each. This bibliographical survey with terse notes adumbrates the extent of harrassment, if not outright persecution, which the Catholic Church and the institutions it has sponsored endured under the rule of the tsars.
To return to the the point made at the beginning of this review. The history of the Russian empire will be rewritten only if there appear able and dedicated scholars willing to undertake journeys along the hundreds of trails sketched out by the four volumes of these Materials. If such scholars do not appear, the misreadings of history will continue.
Kronika Polski. Wydanie specjalne z okazji 80 rocznicy odzyskania przez Polske niepodleglosci (Chronicle of Poland: a special edition on occasion of the 80th anniversary of regaining independence), edited by Andrzej Nowak. Introduction by Zdzislaw Zygulski, Jr. Kraków. Kluszczynski Publishers (30-110 Kraków, ul. Kraszewskiego 36, email: firstname.lastname@example.org). 1998. 935 pages. Hardcover. Numerous illustrations, photographs, graphs. Index. No price given. In Polish.
A rare volume that combines the charms of a coffee table book with scholarly narrative about Polish history. The historical text begins with a prehistory of Poland and ends with the 19891997 period.
Druga twarz portretu (the other side of the portrait), by Jerzy Narbutt. Kraków. Wydawnictwo Literackie. 1982. 91 pages. Paper. In Polish.
In the postcommunist period, many Polish writers who would have otherwise made their début in their twenties or early thirties, surfaced to present their works at the age of fifty or sixty. They were deprived of that give-and-take of criticism and interaction which accompanies the publication of consecutive volumes over a writer's lifetime. Narbutt belongs in that category. Chalk it off as another loss incurred by the Poles owing to the Soviet occupation of their country. While Jerzy Narbutt is not a débutant, strictly speaking (he published his first works in Tygodnik Powszechny in 1957), his ability to publish was seriously impaired by the rigidity of the Soviet-imposed cultural atmosphere in his country. The volume contains thirteen short stories permeated with a deeply Catholic (and Polish) Weltanschauung. They make a lovely read.
Troche wierszy (a few poems), by Jerzy Narbutt. Warszawa-Tarnów. Klub Przyjaciól Ksiazki Harcerskiej w Tarnowie. 1997. 78 pages. Paper. ISBN 83-86744. Price not given. In Polish.
A volume of poetry written by a mature person who experienced many disappointments in life. There is a lot of noble remembrance in this volume, and quite a bit of bitterness over the way the world is run. The author's deep and wise religious belief saves him from merely complaining.
Full Circle: A Homecoming to Free Poland, by Radek Sikorski. New York. Simon & Schuster. 1997. 277 pages. Photographs, index. Hardcover. $24.00.
Radek Sikorski was a deputy minister of defense in the Olszewski government. In 1998, he was deputy minister of interior in the Buzek government. He is also a prolific writer and traveler. For years, he has been rebuilding a manor near the Polish town of Nako; it is now complete, and he resides there with his spouse Anne Applebaum of the London Daily Telegraph, and their child. Sikorski has an engaging style. The book details his efforts to become a normal person in Poland, and by doing so to enable other people to begin to live in a normal country. Sikorski very much wants Poland to be given a chance to be a normal country. We cannot but applaud him for it.
The Sun of Liberty: Bicentenary Anthology of Adam Mickiewicz's Poetry, translated and edited by Michael J. Mikos. Introduction by Zygmunt Kubiak. Warsaw. Energeia. 1998. 223 pages. Illustrations, bibliography. Hardcover. Bilingual in Polish and English. No price given.
A most useful collection of the best known poems by Mickiewicz: "Ode to Youth," The Crimean Sonnets, selections from Ballads and Romances, Konrad Wallenrod, Master Thaddeus, Mickiewicz's late poems and, last but not least, Part Three of Forefathers' Eve with Konrad's famous speech. In Polish literature classes, such collections are invaluable, given the dearth of English translations of the Polish Romantic poets. Polish scholars are indebted to Professor Mikos for making many such anthologies available to them.
One recalls the time when one-volume selections of Pushkin's verse became available in English: there was no talk then of comparing and savoring translations. In a 1998 issue of The New York Review of Books, an American writer compared four translations of Eugene Onegin the way gourmets compare restaurants. Alas, no such range of possibilities is available in regard to Polish literature. One can only hope that scholars and translators will follow Professor Mikos's example and create a repertoire of complete translations of the longer works of Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, Zygmunt Krasinski and Cyprian Norwid, to suit a range of tastes and preferences. In the meantime, Mikos's volume will serve nicely.
Sharing Secrets with Stalin: How the Allies Traded Intelligence, 1941-1945, by Bradley F. Smith. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas (Lawrence, KS 66049). 1996. xix + 305 pages. Index, bibliography. Hardcover.
Bradley F. Smith specializes in books on political issues related to World War II. He points out that the East-West cooperation was almost nonexistent during the first two years of World War II, when the Nazi-Soviet friendship traumatized and nearly destroyed Poland and the Baltic countries. The cooperation reached its peak in 1944, when the Soviets were poised to grab Eastern and Central Europe for their empire. To dot the i's, Western cooperation legitimized and strengthened Stalin's Russia. However, far from condemning it, Smith's book sets out to explain and exonerate such cooperation, blaming it on the exigencies of war.
That the Nightingale Return: Memoir of the Polish Resistance, the Warsaw Uprising and German P.O.W. Camps, by Leokadia Rowinski. Jefferson, NC. McFarland & Company, Inc. (Box 611 Jefferson, NC 28640. Order line 1-800-253-2187). 1999. 172 pages. Index, photographs. Hardcover. $36.50 postpaid.
Ms. Rowinski's volume adds to the growing number of books that detail, bit by bit, the Polish story in World War II. Rowinski was 16 when the war started. She participated in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising as a communications officer, dodging German snipers and artillery fire. She was subsequently interned in a German POW camp. The camp was liberated by the First Polish Armed Division under British command. Like Jan Mieczysaw Komski whom we featured in the April 1998 issue of SR, Rowinski thus avoided the fifty years of Soviet occupation which destroyed life's prospects for millions of Poles of her generation trapped in their own country. She emigrated to the United States in 1951 and now she is retired. Hers is a moving story, with family photographs showing six generations of the author's kin, the kind of story one hears from the Holocaust survivors.
Kongres krakowski w roku 1364 (the 1364 Kraków congress), by Roman Grodecki. ISBN 83-7052-334-x. Kraków. Universitas. 1995. 107 pages. Paper. In Polish.
This book has an interesting history. It was first published in 1939, just before World War II, and the entire first printing except for twenty copies delivered to the author was destroyed during the German attack on Warsaw in September 1939. The essay details the 1364 meeting in Kraków of the King Ludwig of Hungary; King Sigismund of Denmark; Prince Otto of Bavaria; Prince Ziemowi t of Mazovia; Prince Boleslaw of Swidnica, Prince Wladyslaw of Opole and other Polish princes and Charles, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The political events and concerns of the time are attractively presented in this fine essay.
Watykan wobec powstania listopadowego (the Vatican and the November 1830 rising), by Mieczyslaw Zywczynski. Kraków. Universitas. 1995. 139 pages. Paper. In Polish.
The book deals with the relations between Poles and the Vatican concerning the Polish aspirations to liberty and the Realpolitik as conducted by Pope Gregory XVI. It is well known among Poles (due to Adam Mickiewicz's rendition) that Pope Gregory displayed more sympathy toward the anti-Catholic autocrat Nicholas I of Russia than toward the leadership of the Polish rising against tsarist autocracy. This episode raises the broader problem of brutality of the Vatican politicians toward Poles whose loyalty to Catholicism has been remarkable throughout history. While most Poles are quite indignant about it, they do distinguish between this unquestionable outrage and the spiritual claims of the papacy.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1974): Pisma wybrane, translated by Hanna Malewska et al. Selection and Introduction by Przemysaw Mroczkowski. Kraków. Znak. 1974. 299 pages. In Polish.
Professor Mroczkowski calls Chesterton (paraphrasing the writer himself) "a man with the golden key." His comment refers to Chesterton's happy ability to find le mot juste for just about everything, from theology to social trivia. This collection includes Chesterton's most important philosophical and social essays, as well as his powerful speech delivered in Poland in 1927. It deals with Poland's role in Europe's Christian history. The book also contains an essay on chivalry in which, again, Poland is a prominent example, and the poem "Poland" ably translated by Jerzy Pietrkiewicz. Significantly, the book was published in 7,000 copies only, a sign that in Soviet-occupied Poland, Chesterton was a persona non grata.
Lewiatan i jego wrogowie: szkice postkonserwatywne (Leviathan and its enemies: postconservative essays), by Jaroslaw Zadencki. Kraków. Arcana. 1998. 154 pages. Paper. In Polish.
A collection of essays and one-liners on topics of power and the state, soul, wisdom and the like, much of it warmed over, with echoes of such philosophers as Nietzsche, J_nger, Cortes. The essays provide aphorisms and counsels for undergraduate readers.
Polish Traditional Folklore: the Magic of Time, by Anna Brzozowska-Krajka. Translated by Wiesaw Krajka. New York. Columbia University Press (distributor). 1998. 259 pages. Index, bilbiography. Hardcover.
A sophisticated study of Polish folklore that goes far beyond the usual sugary summaries. It considers the presentation of time and order in folkloric texts, the cosmogonic myth and the folkloric opposition of Night-Day, the mediating structure of nightfall, Civitas Dei and Civitas Diaboli as elements of folkloric presentations.
The Story of Two Shtetls: Bransk and Ejszyszki, Part Two, by Mark Paul et al. Toronto-Chicago. The Polish Educatnional Foundation in North America. 1998. 244 pages. Paper.
A continuation of the attempt by some Polish-American authors to counter the authority of The New York Times and other powerful disseminators of interpretations about Polish behavior in World War II. The results are predictable. In a recent related article, Iwo Pogonowski noted that allegations about insufficient help to Jews on the part of Poles began to massively surface at about the time of mass emigration to Israel of the surviving Jews from Eastern and Central Europe. Israeli citizens greeted these Jews with condescension and accused them of not standing up for themselves during the Holocaust. Israelis felt amazed that Jewish policemen personally herded hundreds of thousands of Jews into trains heading for the extermination camps. In that situation, it was expedient to find some scapegoats other than the Jewish policemen, and the focus was shifted from Jewish policemen to Polish Christians. Like the earlier volume, this one would have profited from copyediting. As it stands, editorial mistakes detract considerably from its credibility. The volume contains several essays by Zbigniew Romaniuk, a guardian of Jewish memorabilia in Brask, as well as essays by Tamara Trojanowska, Mark Paul, Sophia Miskiewicz, John Radzilowski and others.
Holding One's Time in Thought: The Political Philosophy of W.J. Stankiewicz, edited by Bogdan Czaykowski and Samuel V. LaSelva. Vancouver, B.C. Ronsdale Press (3350 West 21st Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6S 1G7). 1997. xii + 407 pages. Index, illustrations. Paper.
Papers from a 1995 conference at the University of British Columbia on the thought of Stankiewicz, a political philosopher and professor emeritus at UBC. He has engendered an impressive set of reflections authored among others by the two editors and Jean Bethke Elshtain, Arpad Kadarkay, Peter Petro, and Robert H. Jackson. The book also contains some essays by Stankiewicz.
Other Books Received:
Koscioly wschodnie w Rzeczypospolitej okolo 1772 roku (Eastern churches in Poland around 1772), by Witold Kolbuk. ISBN 83-85854-30-4. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej. 1998. 456 pages. Lengthy indices, maps. Paper. In Polish.
Probably the most detailed and authoritative volume on a variety of denominations in Eastern Christianity in the pre-partition Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The introductory essay is 76 pages long; the rest consists of indices and sources.
Paradise in a Concrete Case, by Leszek Dziegiel. Kraków. Arcana (31-133 Kraków, Dunajewskiego 8). 1998. Bibliography. 307 pages. In Polish.
The subtitle of the book says: "Daily Life in Communist Poland: An Ethnologist's View." It seems to be the genre which Leopold Tyrmand used in his Rosa Luxemburg Contraceptive Cooperative. A review to follow. The author is a professor of humanities at Jagiellonian University.
Powrot czowieka bez wlasciwosci (return of a man without qualities), by Cezary Michalski. Warsaw. Casablanca Studio Splka z o.o. 1997. 355 pages. ISBN 83-907190-0-2. Paper. In Polish.
A collection of essays by one of the most renowned social and political essayists of the younger generation. A review to follow.
Doskonaosc i nedza (perfection and misery), by Pawel Lisicki. Warsaw. Casablanca Studio Spólka z o.o. 1997. ISBN 83-907190-0-3. 275 pages. Paper. In Polish.
A collection of essays by an essayist of the younger generation who publishes both in Znak and in Fronda.
The Decomposition of Sociology, by Irving Louis Horowitz. Oxford. Oxford University Press (200 Madison Avenue, New York 10016). 1993. 282 pages. Hardcover. $35.00
Among others, the author points out that American universities produce far too many PhDs in sociology. In order to find jobs for the graduates, unnecessary posts are created, urging people to submit to 'professional' counseling in situations that do not call for such intervention. We have long known that some sociologists have taken weird paths, and this book confirms academe's inability to supervise itself.
Polacy, Rosjanie i biesy, by Andrzej Nowak. Kraków. Arcana. 1998. 269 pages. Paper. In Polish.
Essays dealing with Polish-Russian relations.
The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts after Communism, by Tina Rosenberg. New York. Random House. 1995. xxiv + 437 pages. Hardcover. $25.00.
This book by a well-connected journalist repeats every cliché we have recently heard about Central and Eastern Europe. The area is treated as if it had not been subject to colonialism, as if it had generated its own problems, and as if communism were not the most destructive system ever imposed on it. And now the area is said to face the 'ghosts' of the past. What ghosts? They mostly inhabit the author's imagination. The area is now returning to normalcy thanks to the debacle of communism and the weakening of colonialism. The book is a truly dreadful example of a reliance on received ideas and on politically correct views. How sad that books like this shape the American public opinion about that part of the world.
Uzaleznienie Polski od papiestwa a kanonizacja sw. Stanislawa (The canonization of St. Stanislaus and the Polish dependence on the Papacy), by Marian Witold Lodynski. Kraków. Universitas. 1995. 53 pages. Paper. In Polish.
Shooting Stardust, by Frrich Lewandowski. Illustrations by Kathryn H. Delisle. Worcester, MA. Ambassador Books (71 Elm Street, Worcester, MA 01609). 1998. 20 pages. Hardcover.
This warm and consoling story for elementary school children deals with death. It teaches children how to cope with a loss. Much recommended to parents of all children; hopefully, the book can finds its way to Central Europe as well. Frrich Lewandowski, a Catholic priest, specializes in children's stories. He is also chaplain of the Newman Center at Fitchburg State College, MA. We reviewed his books before.
Treasury of Love Poems by Adam Mickiewicz in Polish and English, edited by Krystyna Olszer. New York. Hippocrene. 1998. 137 pages. Hardcover.
By various translators.
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