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.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Przymysław Czapliński

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

How Polish Fiction has Invented Society: the Double Story of Prose After 1989.
My paper will concern Polish prose in the period from 1986 until the present day especially the double act of inventing society. During the first stage, lasting roughly until the late 90s, fiction was dominated by the principle of "Maximum differences - minimum of conflicts". This project was based either on the nostalgic method of evoking interwar Poland as the country of harmonic coexistence of multiple groups, or in the negative presentation of the uniform policy applied by the communist authorities. The nostalgic image of the old differences had to create a society that in the name of memory of the former tolerance would be open to all present differences - ethnic, religious, sexual, gender. So the primary element in that prose was the figure of the Other (in all its varieties: a woman, a Jew, a sexual misfit), and a key method of narrative was the archaeology of different layers of reality hidden beneath the surface of the present. Prose expanded the practice of repetition in all areas of life: pastiche is a method of manufacturing literature, nostalgia - the basis for producing of society, while recycling is the method suggested by capitalism, which is regarded as an ally.
          At the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries this order changed radically. Instead of “a maximum of differences a minimum of conflicts”, there is a minimum of diversity - a maximum of conflicts”. The abundantly represented Other gives way to the Countryman (Swojak), while nostalgic archaeology turns into post-colonial sociology. Its aim is the articulation of the desires, demands, fantasies and hatred inherent in the Countryman. The various practices of repetition give way to excess: the poetics of pastiche is replaced by the poetics of waste; the project of inventing a society of consent, based on past patterns, changes into images of social violence, while the alliance with capitalism is transformed into anti-capitalist “procycling”.
Thus, the central issue in the prose of the early twenty-first century is the same as a major social problem: how to generate society/ literature from the waste, which should not be reused?