Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 11
20 March 2000

Cultural news from Poland C U L T U R E   R O U N D - U P:
Poland's Week in Culture

Wojtek Kość

This week we look back at the life of Kazimierz Brandys, encourage CER readers to consider the book of the week and there is a cultural announcement from Katowice.

In this week's overview of cultural events in Poland we have:

Click on the appropiate heading or just scroll down to browse.

Obituary: Kazimierz Brandys 1916-2000

Polish writer Kazimierz Brandys died on Saturday, 11 March, in Paris. Born in Łódź, he completed law studies in Warsaw in June 1939. His first writings date also from that year. After the war he quickly joined Polish literary circles. In 1946, he debuted with a novel Drewniany koń (Wooden Horse) and another one, Miasto niepokonane (Undefeated City). In the 1950s he was briefly fascinated by the social realist writing of the Stalinist period and wrote the novel Obywatele (Citizens) in 1954.

He quickly abandoned these views, however, to give a moving account of the Stalinist Terror in Matka Królów (Król Mother), published in 1957. In an act of protest against the philosopher Leszek Kołakowski's removal from the Communist Party, he resigned from his membership as well in 1966. In 1972 he published one of his finest novels - Wariacje pocztowe (Mail Variations).

In 1970, Brandys took part in establishing the democratic opposition movement in Poland and seven years later his novel Nierzeczywistość (Unreality) was published in a samizdat version. Shortly before the introduction of martial law in 1981 he left Poland to lecture in the US and then lived in Paris from 1983. His last major works were his diaries: Zapamiętane (Things Remembered) from 1995 and Przygody Robinsona (Robinson's Adventures) from 1999.

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Cultural Announcements

Actually, just one announcement. If anyone happens to be visiting Katowice between 17 March and 24 March, then it is worth attending the Third Polish Festival of Directors' Art called Interpretacje (Interpretations). It is an unusual event for it is not a competition for the best theater performance but for best directing. During the Festival's eight days one will be able to see such directing stars as Kazimierz Kutz or Piotr Tomaszuk. More info: 0048 32 5872 51 or 0048 32 58 89 67.

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Book of the Week

Krzysztof Jasiewicz (Ed)
Europa nieprowincjonalna
(Non-provincial Europe)

Instytut Studiów Politycznach PAN and Oficyna Wydawnicza RYTM (Polish Academy of Science - Political Studies Institute and RYTM Publishing House). Warsaw-London 1999

Book of the month perhaps would be a more appropriate title, as it is doubtful whether someone will read this monumental, 1400-page volume in just one week. And it is not a book with which a reader would sit down and read page after page, as with a novel. It contains 116 texts from 124 authors, covering what is summarized in the book's subtitle as "Changes on the Eastern Territories of the former Polish Republic (Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, eastern borderland of the III Republic) in 1772-1999."

The book is divided into six parts. In each of them there is a number of historical articles written by representatives of Belarus, England, France, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, the US and - of course - Polish authors. The latter, however, are deliberately not in the majority to give the reader awareness of the multicultural core of the Eastern Borderlands (the famed Kresy in Polish). So, there are texts on Kresy in general, on their nations and religions, their societies, wars and conflicts in the region, the troubled and tragic fates of people there and the prospects for the future. A precious supplement to the historical articles are anecdotes and recollections placed in between the scientific texts which proves an excellent means to give the book a more individual and emotional profile. Another feature that will certainly be an asset to English-speaking readers is that there are English summaries for every text in the book.

The subject this books deals with is vast and very complex and there were many failed attempts to grasp it. Europa nieprowincjonalna however, thanks to its varied authorship, which very much corresponds with this complexity, should become a basic starting point for all those wanting to understand the mosaic of cultures, traditions and nationalities that form Eastern Europe. Especially recommended for CER readers!

Europa nieprowincjonalna can be found here.

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Compiled by Wojtek Kość




Western Aid

Partners without Partnerships

Leaving Too Soon?

From Teachers to Learners


Aid to Romania


Jan Čulík:
Who's Robbing Who?

Gusztáv Kosztolányi:
On Human Rights


Fools' Gold

Tiso's Legacy

Bulgarian TV

No Bulgaria this week
» Albania  New!
» Austria
» Bulgaria
» Croatia
» Czech
» Estonia
» Hungary
» Latvia
» Lithuania
» Poland
» Romania
» Serbia
» Slovakia
» Slovenia
» Ukraine


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Feature Essay
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