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Polish Literary Reckoning of the Post-WWII Population Resettlement: the Lens of “Tender Narrator”

Aneta Stepien

Abstract: This article investigates two literary texts, House of Day, House of Night (2002) by Olga Tokarczuk and Piaskowa Góra [Sand Mountain] (2009) by Joanna Bator and how they overcome the divisive and politicized narration of the post-WWII population expulsions and resettlement in Poland. The article argues that by employing the “tender narrator,” (Tokarczuk, 2019) e.g. directing readers’ attention to the former German items of everyday use and their stories, the writers create a more empathetic version of this period of history, thus recovering the memories of the, largely silenced, Polish and German experiences of displacement. Adopting postcolonial approaches, the article draws from affect theories and studies of how displaced populations relate emotionally to the changing material environment (Svašek, 2012) to examine the attitudes and emotions of the Poles dealing with the objects, landscape and property of the German deportees. These texts raise important questions about the foundations of the communities in the Polish-German borderlands, and their wider implications for Polish-German relations.
Keywords: texts / narrator / Polish / literary / House / German / WWII / resettlement / Tokarczuk / tender

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