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Kingdom of Insignificance

The Traumatic, the Quotidian, and the Queer in the Life-Writing of Miron Bialoszewski

Joanna Nizynska

Publication Year: 2012

Joanna Niżyńska has written the first scholarly book in English on Miron Białoszewski (1922 – 1983), a major figure in twentieth-century Polish literature.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Series: NUP


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xii

Author’s Note

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pp. xiii-2

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Introduction: Playing Out Life in the Everyday: The Quotidian, the Queer, and the Traumatic

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pp. 3-50

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...

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Chapter 1. “The Glaring Identity of ‘Now’”: A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising as a Reenactment of the Traumatic

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pp. 51-98

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...

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Chapter 2. Something More from Almost Nothing: The Paradoxes of Białoszewski’s Life-Writing

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pp. 99-133

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...

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Chapter 3. Miron at the Margins, or Can We Queer Białoszewski?

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pp. 134-175

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...

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Epilogue: “Ridiculous Places” and Queering Memory: Life- Writing, History, and How We Do Not Know

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pp. 176-186

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...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 187-188


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pp. 189-226


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pp. 227-248


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pp. 249-259

About the Author

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pp. 276-276

E-ISBN-13: 9780810166257
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810128460

Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1
Series Title: NUP
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 859687035
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Kingdom of Insignificance