Gender and Sexuality in Ethical Context: Ten Essays on Polish Prose


Knut Andreas Grimstad
Ursula Phillips


For a country like Poland that’s struggling with both democracy and religious fundamentalism, the problem of sexual difference can give art a margin for subversiveness and even revolutionary potential.”[1] In referring to dissident voices of today, the contemporary art historian Paweł Leszkowicz indicates the premise and the purpose of this volume on Polish prose of earlier times: to explore how issues of gender and sexuality not only emerge as imaginative elements, but also how they may challenge and transgress social as well as cultural norms. In no sense is our project intended as a comprehensive survey of Polish “gender and sexuality writing”; neither does it claim that such writing constitutes a coherent tradition. The title Gender and Sexuality in Ethical Context: Ten Essays on Polish Prose therefore operates as a set of interrogations into selected texts rather than of direct assertions: Is gender socially and ideologically constructed or conditioned? Is there such a thing as essential sexual difference? Is sexuality something given by nature, and is it universally the same? In this connection, gender and sexual ethics, like all ethics, is, as Leszkowicz’s committed quote implies, an ongoing conversation, and this collection is but a voice in the dialogue.

  1. Ursula Phillips: Femme Fatale and Mother-Martyr: Femininity and Patriotism in Żmichowska’s The Heathen
  2. Małgorzata Anna Packalén: The Femmes Fatales of the Polish Village: Sexuality, Society and Literary Conventions in Orzeszkowa, Reymont and Dąbrowska
  3. Grażyna Borkowska: The Feminism of Eliza Orzeszkowa
  4. Włodzimierz Bolecki: Gender and Sex in Early Polish Modernism: Przybyszewski, Irzykowski, Witkacy, Schulz
  5. German Ritz: Does Paluba Have a Sex? Irzykowski’s Paluba in the Light of Gender Studies
  6. Magdalena Rembowska-Płuciennik: Family Nausea: Attitudes towards Family Values in Zofia Nałkowska’s Snakes and Roses and The Impatient Ones
  7. Urszula Magdalena Chowaniec: Initiation into Womanhood: Irena Krzywicka’s Flight from Darkness
  8. Ewa Kraskowska: Femininity and Communism: The Case of Elżbieta Szemplińska
  9. Knut Andreas Grimstad: Gombrowicz’s “Gender Trouble” or, the Problem of Intimacy in Possessed
  10. German Ritz: Inexpressible Desire and Narrative Poetics: Homosexuality in Iwaszkiewicz, Breza, Mach and Gombrowicz
  11. Contributors
  12. Index of Names

Not available online.


May 30, 2017

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