Revisiting Stanisława Przybyszewska: a 120th Anniversary Workshop
1 October 2021, Tallinn University
October 2021 will mark the 120th anniversary of Stanisława Przybyszewska’s birth. One of the most original writers of interwar Poland, her life and work attracted well-deserved critical attention in the 1980s following publication of her letters and – perhaps even more importantly – the international success of Andrzej Wajda’s film Danton, based on Przybyszewska’s play Sprawa Dantona. Two decades into the twenty-first century, she remains on the margins of public consciousness, her works drastically underexplored and little read. If Stanisława Przybyszewska is to be known worldwide as more than a footnote in discussions of Danton (or as the “victim of history” presented in Hilary Mantel’s 2017 Reith lecture), it is up to us to initiate this change.
Scholars including Maria Janion, Ewa Graczyk, and Monika Świerkosz have done a great deal to recover Przybyszewska, not only for Polish literary history, but for women’s history in particular. Still, her oeuvre beyond the drama and the correspondence has only recently become available for a wider audience, owing to Dagmara Binkowska’s efforts as an editor. Even more glaring is the severe lack of scholarship on Przybyszewska in the Anglophone world. For a non-Polish speaker, only two major works on the author are available: a biographical essay by Jadwiga Kosicka and Daniel Gerould, and a study of Przybyszewska’s philosophical system by Kazimiera Ingdahl. While we are wary of judging the academic prominence of any field by how well it is represented in English, the importance of this language in the dissemination of knowledge cannot be ignored.
The aim of this workshop is twofold. First, we want to put Przybyszewska’s name on the intellectual map of the interwar period by facilitating an international dialogue regarding her legacy. Second, we propose to open a discussion on the relevance of her ideas for the present day. For that reason, the workshop is open to specialists from all study fields who see connections between their area and Przybyszewska’s thought; moreover, we encourage professionals from outside academia – be they theatre practitioners, performance artists, or creative writers – to join us in presenting new approaches to Stanisława Przybyszewska’s legacy.
We welcome the presentations related but not limited to the following topics:
- Przybyszewska and her revolutionary project
- Przybyszewska as an (anti)Modernist
- Przybyszewska and Marxism
- Przybyszewska and the limitations of psychoanalysis
- The Free City of Danzig as a liminal space
- Writer, her linguistic strategies, and the problem of national identity
- Reading Przybyszewska through the feminist lens
- New approaches to Przybyszewska’s epistolary legacy
- Przybyszewska’s afterlives in historiography and fiction
- How to stage Przybyszewska today?
From the participants we expect an abstract (200-500 words) of the presentation and a short bio. Those should be sent to Ksenia Shmydkaya (email@example.com). The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2021.
NB! We are hoping that by autumn the health crisis will be under control, allowing us to hold the workshop in the live format. If the situation is not improving or takes a turn to the worst, we might switch to the hybrid format or go fully online. The participants will be notified of any changes at the earliest possible moment.
Ksenia Shmydkaya, Early Stage Researcher, School of Humanities, Tallinn University, Estonia