Numer 57 (2/2020)
Walls and ceilings in literature and culture
Redaktor: Marzena Woźniak-Łabieniec
Spis treści
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Marcin Kępiński
The wall of silence surrounding literature and remembrance: Varlam Shalamov’s “Artificial Limbs”, Etc. as a metaphor of the soviet empire
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/1505-9057.57.01
7 – 25
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Słowa kluczowe

totalitarianism | memory | literature | testimony | forgetfulness | GULAG

Streszczenie

Literature of an autobiographical character acquires a special significance in the world of the bloody tragic events of the 20th century, i.e. the Holocaust, the Second World War, the realities of the Nazi and Soviet totalitarianisms, death camps, and forced labour. Those are the recollections of experienced trauma which shatters identity, and of existential experiences of a borderline nature, of which Shalamov, a witness to the epoch, felt an obligation to talk. An anthropological analysis of Varlam Shalamov’s short story titled Artificial Limbs, Etc. enables one to grasp the role of memory and autobiographical testimony as a kind of cultural and literary antidote to silence and memory distorted by the Soviet totalitarianism. The author of Kolyma Tales offered a faithful description of a world outside the‘human’ world, one which was almost impossible to describe due to its inherent moral void, level of violence, and fear of the authorities who made people forget about the crimes, victims, and oppressors.


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Uniwersytet Łódzki


Tomasz Kaczmarek
To break “the Black Wall”. The motif of fear in plays by Henri-René Lenormand
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/1505-9057.57.02
27 – 38
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Słowa kluczowe

“black wall” | depression | anxiety | fear | play | Henri-René Lenormand

Streszczenie

Henri-René Lenormand refreshed theatre, defining a new domain for it: the mysteries of the human soul. In all of his plays, he strived to explain the secret of internal life, as well as to solve the mystery that people are to themselves. Therefore, dramaturgy was for the author of La Folle du Ciel not only a means of literary expression, but also a kind of therapy, enabling him to combat his depression. In this article, three plays are discussed: Le Temps est un songe, Les Ratés, and Le Lâche, in which the French playwright diagnosed cases of melancholia by describing the psychotic world from the perspectives of the suffering protagonists. He presented them in closure, isolated from the rest of the world, suffocating in claustrophobic rooms under mansard roofs which symbolised their strained mental conditions. Apart from physical walls, in Lenormand’s works there is also the invisible to the eye yet pervasive “black wall”, in front of which a human being stands completely defenceless and mentally broken, trying to find in it even the slightest crack enabling them to escape the delusional world.


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Uniwersytet Łódzki


Ewelina Szymoniak
The brickwork, walls and ceilings of Havana: Representations of space in Pedro Juan Gutiérrez’s Novel “Nothing to Do”
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/1505-9057.57.03
39 – 64
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Słowa kluczowe

literature | space | vagabond | landscape of scents | oppression | Havana | Gutiérrez

Streszczenie

Latin America is a continent where for centuries various walls of ethnic, class, and political divisions were erected and demolished. Cubans, for whom the once paradise island became a cage, are a society which painfully experienced what those walls are as well as what isolation is. The aim of the article was to discuss the way in which Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, a writer who belongs to the first generation of Cubans who grew up in the Revolutionary reality, creates the literary space of Havana by depicting the everyday lives of its inhabitants. In the novel titled Nothing to Do [Nada que hacer] (1998), the invisible yet terribly tangible walls dividing Havana into zones of influence of various social groups, and the disintegrating walls and ceilings of flats are not the only proof of the universal poverty – they also seem to constitute a metaphor of the relations of power within the society and of the condition of its spirit. Furthermore, the author indicates how a conscious individual tries to build around themselves an intellectual wall which could separate them from the void which deprives one of the will to act. The analysis was based on the concept of mobility by Zygmunt Bauman and John Urry, on a study by Elżbieta Rybicka regarding the sensory literary geography, and on a discussion by Javier del Prado Biezma of the methods for presenting space in literature.


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Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach


Joanna Janusz
Brickwork and the wall as metaphors in Carlo Emilio Gadda’s fiction
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/1505-9057.57.04
65 – 79
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Słowa kluczowe

wall | space | brickwork | 20th-century Italian literature | Carlo Emilio Gadda

Streszczenie

The article analyses the topical motifs of the brickwork, the wall, and the house in the works of Carlo Emilio Gadda, one of the greatest Italian writers of the 20th century. These motifs were part of the writer’s broader writing project, the aim of which was to depict and catalogue the entire material reality. These elements appear as parts of a bigger whole: a safe house and a private impenetrable space, but also as a symbol of limitations, petite bourgeois conventions, and a place of suffering and sacrifice. In utilising architectural elements, Gadda indicated the minutest of details and functions that constitute the whole. By utilising architectural references such as a brickwork or a wall, Gadda made them part of a complex system of metaphorical relations through which he attempted to bridle the chaotic reality. The brickwork and walls of villas, condos, labourers’ flats, rural manors, and towering stone fencings often possessed dual meanings and roles: they separate one from the world and protect them against the chaos of the world, or are the products of the burgher culture – despised by the writer – as well as the marks of its undoubted richness and bad taste. This was why they became the focus of his criticism. In some of his works, they become a symbol of a character’s desire to isolate themselves from the world. At the level of the narrative structure, the motifs of the brickwork and the wall become a pretext for a digressive expanding or a developed pause, which, in turn, produces an effect of a breaking-up of a diegesis, which remains unfinished and fragmented.


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Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach

Rafał Maćkowiak
Surrounded by a wall: The hermetic language of the Polish community of video gamers. Do Poles know the language of Polish gamers? The results of a survey-based study
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/1505-9057.57.05
81 – 112
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Słowa kluczowe

Video games | lexis | modern Polish language | sociolect | survey

Streszczenie

The video game industry is today one of the most rapidly developing branches of the entertainment industry. Such corporations as Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo are increasing their investment engagement in the manufacture of gaming hardware (e.g. computers, consoles, and tablets), and in game development for various platforms. There has developed and continues to expand an extensive terminology which due to the increasing consolidation of the user base is progressing towards producing a sociolect. Linguists have not yet examined the lexis of gamers which is why it must be studied considering the extent of the phenomenon and the sheer size of the gamer community. Video gamers form a large group. At this point it must be stressed that the gamer community and the lexis specific for it does not exist in isolation. The lexis used by gamers continues to permeate outside the community, e.g. to other media or the colloquial language. The author of this article conducted a survey to check whether the lexis of video gamers is known to random respondents. This article presents the results of the survey.


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Uniwersytet Łódzki


Mateusz Poradecki
The limits of magic: A study in breaking through barriers in fantasy fiction
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/1505-9057.57.06
113 – 128
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Słowa kluczowe

magic | social barriers | fantasy | science fiction | function of magic in literature

Streszczenie

The article analyses the theme of magic in the works of Andrzej Sapkowski (the Witcher series) and Jarosław Grzędowicz (Pan Lodowego Ogrodu) in terms of their potential, limitations, and the social consequences of using them. Magic is a genre-forming element of fantasy fiction, yet in most works – e.g. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or Robert E. Howard’s Conan series – readers do not learn about it more than they do from fairy tales. Magic is subject to extensive descriptions much later, i.e. in the works by Sapkowski and Grzędowicz. In Sapkowski’s texts, it is a natural force of nature, which is studied and developed by the members of an academy. In Grzędowicz’s novel, it is a highly advanced technology, often mistaken for spells by the fairly undeveloped inhabitants of the planet Midgard. Magic is an attempt at breaking through barriers enforced by the laws of nature as well as social barriers. An uncontrolled development may lead to the self-annihilation of an entire civilisation.


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Uniwersytet Łódzki


Helena Hejman
“Who of us has never traced light over these walls”?: The archaeology of Stanisław Grochowiak’s poems
DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/1505-9057.57.07
129 – 144
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Słowa kluczowe

material turn | existential concrete element | inscription | Stanislaw Grochowiak

Streszczenie

Through a simple wall, a transparent element of everyday life, Stanisław Grochowiak’s poems enable one to uncover the existential concrete element, matter endowed with an amazing hypnagogic potential, a chronicle of ‘objectness’. In the poet’s imagined world, the wall constitutes both an empirical item and a phenomenon, which transcends the ontology of matter, which determines its semantic fluidity: at one point it resembles an anthropological document (a place of cultural/biographical inscription) only to, a moment later, resemble the basis for surrealist visions or the material of an artifact. The wall seems to be the limit of the zone of mental comfort or, e.g., expose the in-body plane, which, like the walls of pre-historic caves, is covered with archetypal images from (the) childhood (of humanity). This study, based on contexts in art history, psychoanalysis, and a material turn, is an attempt at identifying the references which focus “on the wall” in the following works: “Płonąca żyrafa”, “Malarstwo”, “Zejście”, and “Ars Poetica”.


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Uniwersytet Gdański


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Acta Universitatis Lodziensis
Uniwersytet Łódzki
ISSN 1505-9057
Folia Litteraria Polonica
Wydział Filologiczny
e-ISSN 2353-1908