Closure of Conference project. Post-Conference Plans

Many many thanks to everyone who participated in the conference, to all those who presented papers, read their poetry or translations, contributed to discussions or just came to listen.

This blog will remain open as a record of the conference proceedings and will continue to include the programme, the abstracts of the presentations and the short biographies of the participants.

We have removed the conference papers from this site because we intend to include revised versions in a post-conference book. This book will not be a representation of the conference proceedings as such, however, but a volume of articles roughly reflecting the structure of the conference. The book will be edited by Ursula Philips, supported by a team of advisers (Urszula Chowaniec, Knut Andreas Grimstad, Kris Van Heuckelom and Elwira Grossman). It is expected that the volume will appear in 2013.

Should anyone wish to contact the authors of papers or read the original papers, please contact the conference organizer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Uilleam Blacker, University of Cambridge


Traces of Lost Others: Memories of Vanished Urban Communities in Contemporary Polish Literature

The urban experience of contemporary Polish writers is defined by the ghosts of vanished others. Writing on cities in Poland in the post-communist period has been preoccupied with dealing with the traces of these others, with evoking and/or exorcising their ghosts. In cities such as Gdańsk and Wrocław, contemporary writers such as Paweł Huelle, Stefan Chwin, Inga Iwasiów and Marek Krajewski are faced with an urban heritage that is overwhelmingly German, while in cities such as Warsaw, Kraków or Łódź the specters of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the traces of the ghettos still loom large in the imagination of writers such as Andrzej Bart, Mariusz Sieniewicz or Piotr Paziński. These are not the only lost others that appear in the contemporary Polish literary cityscape – a recent novel by young writer Łukasz Saturczak deals with the Ukrainian heritage of Przemyśl. The paper will argue, through reference to several of the writers mentioned above, that Polish authors treat their cities as memory texts that demand careful interpretation and re-inscription. The defining feature of these texts, however, are the uncanny, almost-erased traces of lost others that persist in the urban space and thus in memory.