book cover of The Politics of Literature

The Politics of Literature

Poland, 1945-89
A non fiction book by

In Poland literature is politics by other means; writers are the "real" national leadership. The history of post-war Polish literature is also very much the story of opposition to communism. In this pioneering and stimulating study of post-war Polish intellectual history, Carl Tighe analyses the complex interface between politics and literature under communism. It is an analysis which shows clearly it was not the Catholic Church but the writers of the lay-left who were the most consistent critics and opponents of Stalinism. This innovative study draws on the working lives of more than 200 writers, but its focus is on the wily creativity and turbulent careers of a handful of internationally renowned figures: novelist Jerzy Andrzejewski, critic Jan Kott, science-fiction writer Stanislaw Lem, diarist Kazimierz Brandys, journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, novelist Tadeusz Konwicki and historian Adam Michnik. This portrait of a generation depicts vividly the dilemmas faced by writers in 20th century Poland. Between them they ran the gamut of European political experience: military dictatorship, invasion, occupation, resistance, "liberation" by the Red Army, Stalinism, revisionism, opposition, imprisonment, anti semetic purges, exile, emigration, Solidarnosc, martial law, the collapse of communism, the advent of the free market and democracy. These writers challenged Stalinism, but clung to the idea of "socialism with a human face". This challenging study explores the literature of post-war Poland and examines the social and political ambitions of the new intellectual leadership. It is a timely analysis of the culture of a country whose experience of recent history has been very different to that of Western Europe.

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Hardback Editions

January 1999 : UK Hardback

Title: The Politics of Literature: Poland, 1945-89 (University of Wales - Pocket Guide)
Author(s): Carl Tighe
ISBN: 0-7083-1524-0 / 978-0-7083-1524-8 (UK edition)
Publisher: University of Wales Press
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