Literaci polscy w trybach polityki

Krzysztof Kosiński



Polish Men of Letters in the Cogs of PoliticsLiteraci. Relacje między literatami a władzami PRL w latach 1956–1970 (Warszawa 2011), a book by Konrad Rokicki, is the first complete analysis of the policy applied by the authorities of People’s Poland towards the literary milieu at the time of Władysław Gomułka. The discussed monograph is composed of eight chapters arranged chronologically and according to various topics. The first three analyse the system of the administration of culture prior to and after 1956. The decentralisation of state and party supervision over literature before 1956 proved to be a difficult to task and the period of relative liberties ended in 1956, discussed in detail in chapter four. The fifth chapter depicts the situation within the literary milieu, in particular the Union of Polish Writers (ZLP), drawing attention to the role played by the security apparatus and the effects of the interference of censorship. Rokicki also considered divisions within the titular milieu as well as the writers’ financial situation and daily life. The next chapter contains an analysis of the so-called Letter of the 34, which assumed the form of open protest against the intervention of the censors. Rokicki proposed an innovative analysis of the attitude represented by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, chairman of the ZLP, inimical towards members of the opposition. In chapter seven Rokicki described events of 1967–1968, which in March 1968 resulted in a confrontation of the authorities and the intelligentsia. Chapter eight describes the outcome of the “March events”, the most important being the emigration of writers of Jewish descent, the disintegration of the milieu, and changes in the ZLP statute directed against members of the opposition. It must be stressed that Konrad Rokicki’s book is thoroughly documented, offers numerous new findings, and systematizes heretofore knowledge. It will probably become a point of reference for all researchers interested in the history of culture or the intelligentsia of People’s Poland.

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