Polish Journal for American Studies

Journal Information
Published by: University of Warsaw (10.7311)
Total articles ≅ 45

Latest articles in this journal

Michał Choiński
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 161-177; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.11

The aim of the paper is to discuss the figurative aspects of Jesmyn Ward’s The Men We Reaped (2013). In her memoir, Ward demonstrates the connections between the systemic racism in the US South and the tragic stories of five African-American men who were close to her, and who died between 2000-2004. The tragic loss of these lives is presented through a number of figurative images which present the region through the metaphors of predatory animals, physical burdens and uncanny doubling. Also, the article reflects on how Ward coped with the trauma of loss through her writings, and how, in numerous interviews, she justified her decision to return home to Mississippi and to settle there, in spite of the systemic racism and the trauma of loss.
Susan Savage Lee
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 117-129; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.08

Cultural appropriation has often been linked to American treatment of indigenous cultures. In Playing Indian, for example, Philip J. Deloria investigates how images of Indianness, however inauthentic, stereotypical, or completely ethnocentric, work to help white Americans come to terms with their history of conquest and possession. While the term cultural appropriation has been linked to the conflict between dominant and indigenous cultures as Deloria suggests, it is used far less frequently with respect to American and Latin American cultural identities. Yet, the preponderance of movies and literary works in which Americans follow the same rubric – use Latin American culture to define American cultural identity – evoke the same sense of loss on the part of Latin Americans, in this case, Argentines. For over a century, for example, the gaucho has been examined, evaluated, and reevaluated by Argentines within gauchesque literature to make sense of modernization, notions of civilization versus barbarism, and what creates argentinidad, or what it means to be Argentine. Ricardo Güiraldes sought to respond to the cultural appropriation and misrepresentation of the gaucho, specifically that gaucho culture could be taken up by anyone and used for any purpose, no matter how benign; and that gauchos were a part of the past, eschewing modernization in forms such as industrial ranching and technology when, in fact, they embraced it. In Don Segundo Sombra, Güiraldes addresses these issues. Rather than permit cultural appropriation and ethnocentrism to remain unremarked upon, Güiraldes demonstrates that gaucho culture has remarkable qualities that cannot be imitated by novices, both foreign and native. He then examines gaucho culture, particularly the link between frontier life and economic displacement, in order to champion the gaucho and argentinidad as the models for Argentines to follow.
Klaudia Borkiewicz
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 41-56; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.03

The main aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the vibrancy and multidimensionality of Hemingway’s work lies in its dialogic nature. In the light of the above-mentioned, referring both to Kristeva’s notion of intertextuality and Genette’s concept of paratext, the paper constitutes an attempt to bring into focus a dynamic network of interactions, which manifest themselves at the level of the text’s structure and meaning. Correspondingly, an outgoing dialogue between Spanish and American culture, between the factual and the fictional, between the articulated and the unsaid, should be viewed as breeding ground for the reader’s role in the negotiation and co-creation of meaning. As a result Death in the Afternoon becomes something more than just a manual on how to look at the bull fight. With its internal diversification, the text becomes a chance of meeting, a carnivalistic space opened for an ongoing dialogue and interaction between the elements both internal and external to the text, inviting the reader to immerse fully into a constant and always relevant conversation between writing styles, forms of artistic expression and culture.
Tomasz Jacheć
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 143-160; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.10

On Sunday, January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant – a retired star of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball franchise – died suddenly and tragically in a helicopter crash. Following his death, Bryant was instantaneously mourned and celebrated as a basketball legend, an inspiration, a role model, a family man, and a Renaissance man; he was secularly and medially canonized. This study analyzes the secular canonization process and aims at extrapolating the post-Millennial element of the narratives of the tributes to Bryant. The article looks into how the reaction to the death of Bryant, who, although a Millennial himself, seemed to embody the post-Millennial image of post-Millennials (Generation Z) i.e., competitive, spontaneous, adventuresome, and curious, reflects the self-image of post-Millennials i.e., loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, open-minded, responsible, and determined.
Ada Wawer
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 131-142; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.09

The article is a discussion of contemporary photographic works featuring Native Americans. The argument is framed through references to the conventions of representations of Native people in photography, on the one hand, and the critical discourse of Gerald Vizenor and the notions of the “Indian” and “Postindian,” on the other. The article focuses on the artist, Zig Jackson, who is described as a Postindian “warrior of survivance” and whose practice is analyzed as an attempt at the deconstruction of the popular image of the “Indian.”
Arnon Gutfeld
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 17-40; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.02

The article focuses on the conduct of American foreign policy on the subject of the Armenian genocide. This conduct serves as an excellent study of a major theme in the history of the formulation of American foreign policy – the clash between moral values and pragmatic economic and strategic interests and constraints and between the declared policy of President Wilson and the real policy of his and subsequent American administration on the Armenian genocide issue. A special emphasis was placed on “denial” as the final stage of a genocide.
Klara Szmańko
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 105-116; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.07

The dehumanization of whiteness in Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (1976) inheres in the overarching ghosthood metaphor. While first generation Chinese American immigrants in The Woman Warrior attribute the power of transforming people into ghosts to the United States of America as a country, the questioning of a person’s humanity by calling them a “ghost” is not reserved for white people alone. Chinese American immigrants also run the risk of losing their humanity and becoming ghosts if they renounce their relatives and their heritage. The husband of the first-person narrator’s Chinese aunt, Moon Orchid, is an example of a Chinese American man, who turns into a ghost on account of swapping his Chinese wife for a much younger American one. The clinic in which Moon Orchid’s husband works, a chrome and glass Los Angeles skyscraper, becomes a vehicle for the metaphoric representation of the United States as the Western Palace – also the title of the fourth of the five chapters of The Woman Warrior, exemplifying narrative techniques employed by Kingston in order to render the above mentioned dehumanization.
Tadeusz Pióro
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 57-67; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.04

Narration and dialogues in A Nest of Ninnies rely largely on linguistic equivalents of what are known as “found objects,” or “ready mades,” in the visual arts. This endows Ashbery’s and Schuyler’s novel with a sense of humor much like the one developed by the New York Dadaists in the years 1916-1920. Because of the high incidence of camp humor in the novel, affinities between it, as well as the camp aesthetic more generally, and the New York version of Dada, may be seen. Yet the principal claim of the article is that this novel is part of the literary legacy of New York Dada, a movement significantly different from the original Dada of Zurich.
Paweł Stachura
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 5-16; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.01

The article discusses two novels by Edgar Fawcett, a prolific poet and novelist active in the 1890s, as examples of materialist representation of psychology. Fawcett’s literary materialism was not only a thematic reference to his contemporary science, but a certain convention of characterization, which emphasized mystery and drastic imagery as means of character development. Numerous other examples of this tendency in the 1890s are described as well. The theoretical background is derived from the recent materialist turn in literary criticism.
Kacper Bartczak
Polish Journal for American Studies pp 69-87; https://doi.org/10.7311/pjas.15/1/2021.05

Awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, Louise Glück emerges as one of the major and most important American poets of the late 20th and early 21st century. What does this centrality tell us about the trajectory that the American poetry has traced since modernism? I attempt to offer a critical evaluation of Glück’s post-confessional stylistic, developed between the debut Firstborn (1968) and Averno (2006), by setting it in contexts that are historical and, later in the paper, psycho-theological. First, I treat her formula as a double response – to the modernist legacy of T. S. Eliot and to the challenges of postmodernity. Faithful to Eliot’s urge to transcend the biographical by connecting it with the transcendental, Glück resists the skeptical thesis of the demise of grand narratives, and writes in defiance of the postmodernist poetics of such poets as John Ashbery. Not undermining the biographical foundation of the lyric – the way Ashbery has done in his linguistic excess – she strives to make it paradigmatic. However, in this heroic search for a paradigm, Glück proposes a deeply ambiguous modification of Eliot that I characterize in psycho-theological terms. Following Agata Bielik-Robson’s research, I characterize Glück’s metaphysics as a form of Thanatic Lacanian Gnosticism. At this level we confront the costs of Glück’s post-confessionalism: a serious impairment of all those aspects of the self that make it an embodied and gendered human being.
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