Academic journal article Text Matters

Reading Literature-Matters Still: A Review of Czytanie Literatury [Reading Literature], a Journal of the Institute of Polish Studies, University of Lódz

Academic journal article Text Matters

Reading Literature-Matters Still: A Review of Czytanie Literatury [Reading Literature], a Journal of the Institute of Polish Studies, University of Lódz

Article excerpt

Reading Literature-Matters Still: A Review of Czytanie Literatury [Reading Literature], a journal of the Institute of Polish Studies, University of Lódz

Among the many Polish periodicals devoted to contemporary literature one can understandably observe an implicit urge to fashion critical endeavour in accordance with the latest trends in world philology. Still working to compensate for the period of blindness to the developments in the humanities that took place in the latter part of the twentieth century, Polish journals press for standards that comply with the internationally acknowledged levels of criticism. Czytanie Literatury [Reading Literature], a new academic journal affiliated with the Institute of Polish Studies, University of Lódz, seeks to rise to the challenge.

The first issue (1/2012), published at the beginning of this year, is devoted to reading a number of individual poems by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz and Czeslaw Milosz. However, Czytanie Literatury breaks far beyond the boundaries of monograph discussions in that there are sections on the general tradition of criticism and the history of Polish philology in Lódz, and added to those are (always hearteningly welcome) papers on the reception of Polish literature abroad and a survey devoted to the question of the meaning of literature today, which is answered by renowned Polish scholars. Clearly, the first issue surprizes with its staggering diversity, ranging from meticulous close readings to the more popular, though no less intriguing, discussion of the purpose of literature in today's world.

However, the particular strength of Czytanie Literatury lies in the translation section as seen in the first issue. Immediately after the series of essays dealing with Iwaszkiewicz, Milosz and a broader spectrum of literary tradition, there is a translation of the illustrious Stanford critic Marjorie Perloff's essay on T.S. Eliot, which comes from her crucial 2002 book 21st Century Modernism. In the essay, Perloffargues that in his pre-Waste Land poems, Eliot created a highly complex constructivist poetics that would later be re-deployed in a more radical manner in the late-twentieth-century lyrics of American poets such as Lyn Hejinian, Frank O'Hara and Charles Bornstein. However, placing Perloff's essay in the context of Polish poetry as it is investigated in Czytanie Literatury makes as powerful a critical statement here as it did over a decade ago in the US. …

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