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From Her Point of View: Woman's Anti-World in the Poetry of Anna Świrszczyńska
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This book is a monograph about Anna Świrszczyńska’s poetry. It may be described as one woman’s attempt to read another woman’s literary work by taking into account established canons as well as the tools of feminist literary analysis. Part One begins with a discussion of Świrszczyńska’s biography (Chapter One). It then moves on to an overview of critical (mainly male) reactions to Świrszczyńska’s work (Chapter Two), with special regard to Czesław Miłosz’s contribution to its interpretation and popularization (Chapter Three). In Part Two there are three principal discussions: 1) of Anna Świrszczyńska’s early work Wiersze i proza [Poems and Prose] (1936), in which the poet develops her specific female view of European art and culture as disintegrated into incongruent fragments. Her premonition of the apocalypse, which is soon to be fulfilled in the events of World War II, finds its expression in the poet’s desperate attempts to unite the fragments of a shattered culture into individualized versions of myths (Chapter Four); 2) of the collection Budowałam barykadę [Building the Barricade] (1974), in which what is most crucial to the poet (biographically and poetically) is expressed – the encounter with human suffering in an inhuman world. Following this, her poetic view of the mortal body exposed to suffering under an empty sky becomes a well established motif in her work (Chapter Five); 3) of the collection Jestem baba (1972), in which Świrszczyńska introduces into poetry, by making the non-poetical “baba” her lyric heroine, the “outlawed feminine” and, as a result, revolutionizes the language of poetry and poetic representation, which leads in turn to liberating herself from the hegemony of the totalizing male gaze. In this way her anti-world is created (Chapter Six). The “world” is understood here as a male term – one might say that Świrszczyńska creates a “woman’s anti-world” as a place where the woman herself has to regain the right to name things according to her own terms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2007. , 340 p.
Stockholm Slavic Studies, ISSN 0585-3575 ; 35Södertörn doctoral dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 17
Keyword [en]
the grotesque, ekphrastic poetry, the Warsaw Uprising, poetry of witness, the city lament, studium and punctum, the abject/abjection, body-soul dualism
Keyword [pl]
Świrszczyńska/Swir, Miłosz
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Slavic Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-6966ISBN: 978-91-85445-68-4ISBN: 978-91-89315-73-0OAI: diva2:197374
Public defence
2007-09-15, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2007-06-29 Created: 2007-06-29 Last updated: 2012-10-01Bibliographically approved

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