From the Editor

With this issue, we introduce the SR Index modelled after Harper's Index, as one of our permanent departments.

The issue is dedicated to the Polish press. While we do not presently feature (we will, in future issues) a full- size article about Polish American periodicals, the conclusions reached by the authors of articles about the press in Poland apply here too. The articles suggest that the press and those who write for it have received far too little scrutiny and criticism from the public at large. W.P. Szymanski's essay is characterized by that rare honesty which comes at the expense of renunciation of personal advantage. He paints a devastating picture of Polish intellectual life under communism, its virtual enslavement not only to the communist overseers but also to the communist fellow travelers in the West. The article strongly suggests that the label "intellectual" is no guarantee of intellectual honesty, and that treating intellectuals as the new priestly class has been one of the mistakes of modernity. Whether one agrees with the article or not, it deserves careful reflection as it deals with matters fundamental to Polish identity and human decency.

At the same time, a recognition of how certain authors paid for privileged life under communism does not invalidate all of their works. Maria D'browska's Noce i dnie [1932-34] remains the quintessential Polish liberal novel. Julian Tuwim's delightful children's poetry is another case in point. We publish in this issue one of his cheerful poems in English translation.

Professor Janusz Wrobel ably dissects several issues of Trybuna Ludu, the standard bearer of the PUWP. The techniques of persuasion discussed by him are not limited to Trybuna Ludu, as a critical reader of the American press might attest.

Professor Norman Davies of the University of London has kindly provided us with excerpts from his forthcoming History of Europe. It promises to be a groundbreaking work, as it will integrate the history of eastern and western Europe, something European historians have repeatedly failed to do. We shall publish these excerpts in this and subsequent issues of the SR, beginning with a bird's-eye view of Mikhail Glinka's opera Ivan Susanin which has probably done more to foment Russian hatred of Poland that any other Russian work of art. In the first speech he gave on Russian soil in May 1994 (copies of the speech were distributed to 4,000 well-wishers who turned up to greet him), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn compared the devastation of Russia after communism to the devastation of Russia after the Polish invasion of Moscow in 1610 (Poland-Lithuania's Moscow expedition was actually a narrow trek, just miles across, and did not disturb in the least the vast thousands of miles of the Russian countryside). Prejudices die hard.

In response to our Questionnaire on Polish Studies, Professor John Kulczycki wrote a thoughtful piece which contains a disturbing assessment of the low level of self-esteem among young Polish Americans. According to Professor Kulczycki, they take little pride in their ancestry and consider taking a Polish history course a no-go. Those Polish clubs and organizations dedicated to happy-go-lucky celebrations of polkas and their kielbasas (or to self-congratulatory attitudes about the greatness of Poles and the superb place which Polish Americans occupy in American society) might want to take note.

Our BOOKS section is particularly rich in this issue, and we recommend it to the readers' attention.

Return to September 1994 Issue
The Sarmatian Review
Last updated 10/20/97