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Polish authors, books & literature.

Ironside 52 | 11,774
9 Aug 2010 #1
Let's have a discussion about books and authors - not only Polish but any you deem worthy.

Włodzimierz Odojewski

Odojewski's prose is rooted in the literary tradition of existential inquiry. It is characterised by an obsession with time, memory, and the inevitable coming of disaster and catastrophe. The world in which Odojewski's characters find themselves is a mythical one, a world of great passions, where values undergo continuous erosion. The distinguishing feature of Odojewski's writing is his mastery of the literary craft. The author does not hesitate to experiment with Faulkner's internal monologue, with Joyce's explorations in the world of literary form and with the techniques employed in the French nouveau roman.

"My aim has been to show in my short stories and novels a world that has passed by, so that it does not fade from our memories as well. Thus I have summoned up a past full of human emotions, human suffering, fear, love and hatred, but a past rooted in historical fact as well." (W. Odojewski)

frd 7 | 1,401
9 Aug 2010 #2
Ludwik Stomma - "Polskie Złudzenia Narodowe" ( Polish National Delusion ), a great read and an interesting view of Polish history myths. I'd recommend this book to harry, because imo he is looking in the wrong place... anyways I dunno if there's an english edition.. I'm gonna post an abstract of this book someday ;o
OP Ironside 52 | 11,774
9 Aug 2010 #3
Great writer , extremely interesting life, I really urge to read his books - some of them are available in English!
Sergiusz Piasecki (1901–1964), was one of the most renowned Polish language writers of the 20th century. His most famous work, Kochanek Wielkiej Niedzwiedzicy (The lover of Ursa Major), published in 1937, was the third most popular book of the inter-bellum Poland. After World War II , Piasecki's books were banned by the communist government of Poland.
kondzior 12 | 1,048
11 Aug 2010 #4
Jacek Dukaj, the true successor of Stanislaw Lem. One thing, his books are not for humanists. (Humanist- guy who was not inteligent enough to cope with some sort of real science).
andrei - | 25
13 Aug 2010 #5
I prefer Janusz A. Zajdel over both of them... a truly visionary books and really good sci-fi concerning both real science (he was a quantum physician) and things like society, politics, economics, the real nature of information, propaganda, psychology and so on. In my opinion by far the best Polish sci-fi writer although not as well known as the authors mentioned by you.
George8600 10 | 636
13 Aug 2010 #6
Ever heard of Jacek Dehnel? Amazing Polish novelist and poet, I am also friends with him ^_^
andrei - | 25
13 Aug 2010 #7
Also I would recommend the books of Konrad Fiałkowski, he actually wrote only 2 sci-fi novels but still a very good ones.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
13 Aug 2010 #8
Back home one a few Polish authors translated into Dutch in my young years was Lem (who I really like), Miłosz and Kapuczyński. Equally adored by me.

Humanist = guy who realized that bits and bytes are not everything in life :)

Adam Zamoyski - being blue-blooded magnat offspring - he writes very good books about Polish history.
Richfilth 6 | 415
13 Aug 2010 #9
I read Lem's Cyberiad in English, and I'm using the Polish versions to try and improve my Polish as a sort of comparative method of reading.

My girlfriend is constantly pushing me to get my Polish to a level so that I can read Marcin Swietliski's Jedenascie, Dwanascie and Trzynascie.

But I have read two of Kapusczynski's volumes in English (The Shadow under the Sun, and Imperium) and I find him almost painfully boring. He's beautifully descriptive, but he's so florid that I find I really don't care about any of the people or countries or situations in his stories, I fall asleep before he gets to the point (which is always the same; the horror, the horror.) He's like Joseph Conrad's character of Marlowe, but without the element of suspense. Sorry. Maybe something's been lost in translation.

Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke had me almost crying in laughter, however; mostly because, in 80 years, the Polish education system still hasn't changed.
noreenb 7 | 557
14 Aug 2010 #10
I liked "Jealousy and medicine'" ("Zazdrość i medycyna") by Michał Choromański a lot.
Oh, and "Wspólny pokój" ("Joint room?" :) by Zbigniew Uniłowski.
Anybody remembers a name of that English guy who was writing funny stories about a vet?
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
14 Aug 2010 #11
Yes - some decent (translated) new material would be nice. I haven't seen any decent new books here in Easons for a while now, so any recommendations are welcome. Maeve Binche doesn't exactly move me.


M-G (bored)
George8600 10 | 636
19 Aug 2010 #12
!!!!!!!!!!!! TOMASZ ROZYCKI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The famous Polish poet Tomasz Rozycki has recently published an Epic Poem called Twelve Stations which any of you should be able to find in Poland. If you can find me an english version (bilingual or not) you will be paid $50 to $100. It can either be online or in paper for which I would ask you to ship it to me and I would pay all charges for postage.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
19 Aug 2010 #13
The number of Polish authors translated into Ducth is limited...
Lem of course (I really like him). Kapuczyński... Miłosz...
And more recent... "Madame" from Antoni Libera. And there was also a novel about young people in Wałbrzych - cannot remember title and author... But it was depressive.

There is also a collection of essays by Adam Michnik - also good.
OP Ironside 52 | 11,774
22 Aug 2010 #14
Jan Kochanowski
(1530 – 22 August 1584) was a Polish Renaissance poet who established poetic patterns that would become integral to Polish literary language.

He is commonly regarded as the greatest Polish poet as well as the greatest Slavic poet prior to the 19th century

I-S ( He is good)

Paweł Jasienica
was the pen-name of Leon Lech Beynar (10 November 1909 – 19 August 1970), a Polish non-academic historian, journalist, writer and soldier.
He was born in Simbirsk, Russia, to Polish parents, Mikołaj Beynar and Helena Maliszewska. His father worked as a Russian official. Beynar's family lived in Russia and Ukraine until the Russian Revolution of 1917, after which the family returned to Poland in 1920. He graduated in history from Stefan Batory University in Wilno.

Beynar was a soldier in the Polish army during World War II and fought against the German Wehrmacht during the invasion of Poland in September 1939. After the defeat of Poland, he joined the Polish underground Armia Krajowa (AK, or Home Army) and continued the fight and was wounded while fighting against Soviet units.

Jasienica would later became famous for his popular historical books about Piast Poland, Jagiellon Poland and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Good stuff!
Varsovian 92 | 634
16 Nov 2010 #15
Merged thread:
Excellent book: Nadberezyńcy by Florian Czarnyszewicz

A good read, but these things are subjective of course.

Any other good books around?
OP Ironside 52 | 11,774
24 Nov 2010 #16
Eustachy Seweryn Sapieha (1916-2004)
his memoirs "The way it was" - interesting !
Varsovian 92 | 634
24 Nov 2010 #17
Richfilth mentioned Ferdydurke ... OMG

Set reading - my son is horrified by this book. Come back Giertych, the only Education Minister with sense in post 1990 Poland!
jonni 16 | 2,485
24 Nov 2010 #18
Set reading - my son is horrified by this book. Come back Giertych, the only Education Minister with sense in post 1990 Poland!

One of the great classics of Polish literature, and one of the few Polish books to be known arount the world! A great read.

Surely you're being tongue in chhek about that ape Giertych!
24 Nov 2010 #19
Giertych, the only Education Minister with sense in post 1990

Bastard never even replied to my letter about intelligent falling being taught in school physics lessons alongside the theory of gravity.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,322
24 Nov 2010 #20
Come back Giertych, the only Education Minister with sense in post 1990 Poland!

Yes, the only Education Minister who managed to attract huge protests against his appointment. His entire era can be summed up through focusing on banning mobile phones instead of actually fixing the very real problems in Polish education.

Tell me, what did Giertych actually do as Education Minister? He certainly didn't abolish the mental law that forbids the explusion of children under 16 from school.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
24 Nov 2010 #21
what did Giertych actually do as Education Minister?

we still have a hamster cup with his name on it. there were a few things on sale, which took the piss out of him.

to answer your question: he did more harm than good and gave the impression of being clueless
resident 1 | 27
25 Nov 2010 #22
Kapuszcinski (sp?) has done some marvellous works, and while I've only read one book of Borowski's (This way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman), I think it stands out as one of most haunting works that covers the war. On a far less intense note, I've also recently discovered the joys of Jerzy Kosinski. Ok, some of his work reads like the sort of Clancy/Brown/Garland garbage you find in an airport store, but others - for instance Blind Date, Being There and Painted Bird - should be rated as little less than champion reading.

I've also recently purcahsed some Dorota Maslowska, who according to the sleeve note is the Polish Irvine Welsh. Well, so far I'm disappointed in her, but shall strive to persevere.
25 Nov 2010 #23
Kosinski was exposed as a notorious liar. You should read "Czarny ptasior" by Joanna Siedlecka (if you can read Polish)

"The Poles branded Jerzy Kosiński a Holocaust profiteer because the novel, which drew comparison with The Diary of Anne Frank, was immediately granted the status of a chronicle of the Holocaust," while - at the same time - exciting a form of lust reminiscent of the extreme part of modern day Holocaust prnography."
resident 1 | 27
25 Nov 2010 #24
Yes, I'm aware of his somewhat 'muddled' history. I think it is important for people to be aware of this when reading Kosinski, however, a good book is a good book. It's crucial people do not mistake it for an account of Holocaust survival (and I'm sure many people unfortunately have). I do not have my copy at hand, but I'd be certain on the sleeve notes it's described as 'fiction', it certainly appears in 'fiction' sections of book stores as opposed to 'history'.

Part of Kosinki's magic, I believe, lay in his ability to intertwine truth with fiction, leaving the reader to guess which was which. A great writer of stories, definitely, but never to be confused with a historian.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
25 Nov 2010 #25
Of course Lem and Gombrowicz are among the best Polish writers of the last century but if one goes back even farther one meets Jan Pasek who's fantastic stories never fail to amaze. His sucessful scheme which used a small obnoxious wedding guest as a weapon to knock out a large obnoxious wedding guest is not only entertaining but instructive.
David_18 68 | 982
25 Nov 2010 #26
Some books i've been reading recently is.

Adam Zamoyski.
Warsaw 1920: Lenin's Failed Conquest of Europe

Adam Zamoyski.

Alex Storozynski.
The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution

All of them are awsome and i really recommend them!
mephias 11 | 304
24 Apr 2011 #27
Merged thread:
Who is the best Polish writer/novelist in your opinion ?

And of course name of the best Polish books and novels.
Krynski - | 82
24 Apr 2011 #28
What criteria would you use to determine who is the best writer or novelist? There are a few great Polish novelists - Henryk Sienkiewicz, Boleslaw Prus, Stefan Zeromski (especially his "Popioly" - "The Ashes"), Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont (especially his "Chlopi" - "The Farmers"), Maria Dabrowska.... Polish was also Count Jan Potocki who wrote in French the adventure and horror novel known in English as "The Manuscript Found in Saragossa" (there is a very good film based on it, directed by Wojciech Has).

By the way, Sienkiewicz seems to have had a considerable influence on American literature (e.g. Faulkner) and also film - a fact which seems to be ignored and concealed by today American literature and movie "experts". Sienkiewicz's writing style seems to have influenced also Joseph Conrad.
mephias 11 | 304
24 Apr 2011 #29
What criteria would you use to determine who is the best writer or novelist

Only personal taste. There are many different categories, it would be unfair to label one as the best of all. On the other hand I am more interested in literature perspective (not the best sellers or pieces which are popular for short term and does not have any artistic value).
Krynski - | 82
24 Apr 2011 #30
On the other hand I am more interested in literature perspective (not the best sellers or pieces which are popular for short term and does not have any artistic value).

Then I would recommend the aforementioned writers, and a few others (mostly poets - are you interested in Polish poetry as well?). They are great artists and their works are timeless. Of course, today there some in Poland who, having gotten delusional about the (would be) united Europe without nations, and about globalism, would babble that these writers aren't good, etc. nonsense.

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