From the Editor

Today, game is scarce while hunters multiply (Czeslaw Milosz). With this in mind, we offer comments on the weighty topic of east European writings and their American reception. The east European hunters, who use antiquated firearms and do not quite know what game lives where, or what game is to begin with, can hardly hope to bring home a bounty. But they can hope to bring home something, and they certainly can profit from a reconnaissance expedition.

We could not praise Professor Theodosia Robertson's article enough. In a gracious and efficient way, she introduced east central European courses at a university that had none, and she continues to conduct them with excellent results. Professor Robertson chose the path of positive action, and she has been spectacularly successful in satisfying student demand. Had she been so successful in attracting students to deconstructivism or to Heidegger's philosophy, she would probably have been given an endowed chair. The cavalier treatment of courses in east European history and political science at universities with large east European student populations can partly be blamed on the policy of university administrators bent on minimizing the presence of eastern Europe in American consciousness. Here the first step is to make Americans of east European origin realize what is being done to them. But part of the problem with the paucity of east European offerings at American universities is a proven lack of salesmanship among professors who teach east European subjects, especially among those who are first-generation Americans and who are of east European "intelligentsia" background. The problem could be solved by engaging Polish American lodges and clubs throughout the country in raising money for professorships or at least lectureships in Polish at colleges and universities. A million dollars will fund a professorship, and just a few hundred thousand, a lectureship. Ukrainians do it successfully in lieu of witless celebrations of assorted anniversaries.

A critique of Wieslaw Kuniczak’s translation of With Fire and Sword is a two-edged sword, because Professor James Thompson praises Kuniczak for his magnificent novels which together form a Trilogy echoing that of Sienkiewicz. Personally, your editor likes both Kuniczak's and Curtin's translations, as they convey things which are impossible to convey simultaneously.

A graduate student in Slavics from the University of Wisconsin, Angela Britlinger, presents her translation of Adam Mickiewicz’s poem "Romantycznosc" There exist other translations of this poem but Angela argues persuasively that hers is better.

Ordinarily, we do not publish works or reviews having to do with central Asian literatures. But in this case, a review seemed appropriate because some of the problems with which the central Asians struggle are not unlike those that besiege the east Europeans. The dastan, or a heroic epic about a brave warrior, preserves the memory of the native social institutions. Our reviewer from Poland praises the first translation into English of a dastan about the warrior Alpamysh but he criticizes the commentary as not containing sufficient sociological and historical evidence.

The UNIVERSITY SYLLABI are devoted to Polish literature. They include a variety of Professor Carpenter's survey courses and an important "Culture and Society" course by Professor Filipowicz in which "central issues in Polish culture" are discussed.

As a respite from literature and salesmanship, we offer some D.Z.H. cartoons dealing with the legacy of communism in eastern Europe and with east European literatures in America.

LETTERS deal with Polish and American high school textbooks. The Polish Minister of Education, Professor Andrzej Stelmachowski, comments on Sally Boss' article and says that her suggestions will be taken into account in curriculum development. We welcome the remarks of a ScottForesman Publishing Company executive, Ms. Barbara Flynn. Professor Arnold Schrier, a member of the joint Soviet-American task force on textbooks, gives us a glimpse of the situation concerning textbooks in Russia.

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The Sarmatian Review
Last updated 04/10/97