Kingdom of Insignificance
The Traumatic, the Quotidian, and the Queer in the Life-Writing of Miron Bialoszewski
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Northwestern University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Introduction: Playing Out Life in the Everyday: The Quotidian, the Queer, and the Traumatic
When imagining the task of explaining what
makes Miron Białoszewski a great poet, Michał Głowiński playfully lays out
the main challenges of Białoszewski’s work:
Białoszewski is a fascinating phenomenon because of his paradoxical nature. I can imagine talking to a foreigner who never read anything by Białoszewski and telling him or her that Białoszewski was a great poet. But if you skip his early...
Chapter 1. “The Glaring Identity of ‘Now’”: A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising as a Reenactment of the Traumatic
The posters announced, “They were dying in the sun” (“Umierali w słońcu”), but the images were of contemporary young Varsovians. They were dressed like twenty- fi rst- century urban youths, and they faced the camera in the frontal, still posture typical of the tradition of photographic portraiture. These...
Chapter 2. Something More from Almost Nothing: The Paradoxes of Białoszewski’s Life-Writing
What is this compulsively repeated “all” that we see in this passage from the second volume of the small narrations? Clearly, it does not mean a thematic all-inclusivity—an impossibility in any case—but rather a specific kind of relationship between the narrator and his project of life- writing. The low register of a need for bodily purgation juxtaposed with a diary- like...
Chapter 3. Miron at the Margins, or Can We Queer Białoszewski?
This passage is entitled “Redemptorysta” (“Redemptorist”), after the character of an effeminate male theology student belonging to the order of “redemptorists,” in Lubiewo—a 2005 novel by Michał Witkowski.1 Lubiewo, in an unprecedented way, envisions the life of Polish cioty—a word that might be translated as “fags” or “queens”—under Communism and their contemporary...
Epilogue: “Ridiculous Places” and Queering Memory: Life- Writing, History, and How We Do Not Know
It is particularly apt now to ask questions about how our knowledge of Białoszewski’s homosexuality can most productively enter into our interpretation of his work. Białoszewski’s long- awaited secret diary (tajny dziennik), the publication of which was delayed under the terms...