The Sarmatian Review

From the Editor

As Roumiana Deltcheva points out in her article, there is much resistance to the application of post-colonial terminology to Central and Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, the similarities between the colonial empires overseas and similar empires in Europe cannot forever be disregarded. Deltcheva's article argues for a double dependency, on the East and on the West, and the ensuing situation of marginality which many East Central European writers have felt without admitting it publicly (Witold Gombrowicz being a notable exception). Deltcheva's sophisticated discussion of how these multiple dependencies and marginalities manifested themselves in Bulgarian literature is well worth perusing.

In a very different way and using a very different methodology, Professor Alex Kurczaba makes a case for a continuing pattern of marginalization of East Central European studies in the American academy. He demonstrates that high Polish enrollments and location of a university in an area with a large Polish American population have little to do with the vigor of Polish Studies at a given location. He points out however that the blame does not entirely rest with university administrators. The graduates of America's colleges, among whom there is a fair number of persons of Central European background, have failed to initiate actions conducive to change in the status quo. While multiculturalism looms large among slogans promoted in the academy, it does not include Central and East European cultures. Kurczaba bolsters his theses with startling statistics. He concludes that for pragmatic and ideological reasons, in America's Slavic Departments Russian culture has been privileged for several generations now, while the non-Russian Slavic cultures have been assigned a permanent status of marginality.

We are pleased to publish in this issue quite a few very fine poems. Colin Cleary's poems display an amazing ability to look at issues through the eyes of the Central Europeans. We consider these poems to be among the best poetic expressions in the English language of what thousands and perhaps millions of Poles felt but failed to bring to the world's attention. Krzysztof Koehler's poems are translations from the Polish original, and they persuasively explain why Koehler belongs 'to the race of poets.' One of our favorite Polish poets, Jan Twardowski, praises the humble and non-elitist manifestation of poetic activity in a way that is worth remembering.

Among the BOOKS reviewed, we would like to emphasize the bibliographical series of documents from the archives of various Central and East European cities. These volumes have to do with the treatment of Roman and Uniate Catholicism in the western parts of the Russian empire before the October Revolution.

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The Sarmatian Review
Last updated 10/2/98