Tag Archives: Poland
Hotel Brody © Dennis Marks

In the footsteps of Joseph Roth

Dennis Marks died on April 2 at the age of 66. This interview, conducted in 2012, is being republished in commemoration. Broadcaster, filmmaker and writer Dennis Marks talks to literalab about his recently published book Wandering Jew: The Search for Joseph Roth, in which he follows the geographical trail of the constantly moving writer from […]

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The Immortal Gombrowicz

Ruth Franklin has an excellent article on Gombrowicz at The New Yorker (subscription required), placing the new translation of his diaries in a context that provides the requisite history without weighing the reader down (as most critics seem to) with the obligatory yet incomprehensible need to go on and on about his Polishness the way […]

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Story of a Secret State

Jan Karski’s ‘Story of a Secret State’

Jan Karski’s wartime memoir and account of Nazi atrocities is a reading experience as exciting as it is horrifying On April 23, 2012 US President Barack Obama announced that he would award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest honor, to Polish Resistance fighter Jan Karski. Earlier this year in Poland the parliament announced […]

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Literary roundup: Poets of our mad, transitory world

“To your mad world—one answer: I refuse.” – from new translations by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine of Marina Tsvetaeva’s “Poems to Czechoslovakia.” The latest issue of Poetry magazine features a number of selections of the work of Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva. I will soon be writing something about Tsvetaeva’s brief but impactful time living […]

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Literary roundup: Schulz, suffering and soccer in Europe’s borderlands

This year not only will Poland and Ukraine co-host the UEFA European Football Championship, they will also collectively celebrate the 120th anniversary of the birth of Bruno Schulz. This isn’t just a friendly gesture – both countries have some claim on the brilliant writer as his Galician hometown of Drohobycz is in today’s Ukraine and […]

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Eastern Europe galore: new magazines

Eastern Europe has made its way into a lot of recently published magazine issues. First of all there is Timothy Snyder’s fantastic article in the NYRB on Galicia (requires subscription) “A Core of European Tragedy, Diversity, Fantasy,” in which figures as diverse as Emperor Joseph II, Stanisław Przybyszewski, son of the composer Franz Xaver Mozart, […]

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Czesław Miłosz & the Future

From October 19 to 21 neighbor of my former graduate school Claremont McKenna University is hosting a cenntenial festival devoted to Czesław Miłosz with a interesting program and varied array of guests. Absolute tops in terms of title is Polish intellectual, historian and journalist Adam Michnik’s talk – Miłosz: Man Among Scorpions, which seems to […]

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19th century Polish manuscript found in Moscow

When I hear of looted cultural artifacts I think of the image of train cars stuffed with Old Master paintings and objets d’art steaming back in the opposite direction of equally packed troop trains. Then come accusations and bitter quarrels, pleas of national patrimony and then lawsuits and more lawsuits. In fact many of the […]

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A season of Stanisław Lem

On September 9, the British Library will host an evening devoted to the great Polish science-fiction writer Stanisław Lem. Discussions of Lem’s work and film screenings will take place in conjunction with the publication launch of Lemistry: A Celebration of Stanisław Lem, an anthology featuring three previously untranslated stories as well as commissioned works by […]

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Eastern disillusionment meets western incomprehension

On Dorota Masłowska’s play – “A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians” It is hard to be subversive in the 21st century. Writers and artists of all kinds have been aiming in that particular direction for so long now that it seems almost old-fashioned. And if you’re from what is commonly referred to as Eastern Europe, […]

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