The Ghost of Shakespeare in Szymborska (with Anna Frajlich)
October 4 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
The topic of Shakespearean motifs in Polish poetry has huge potential. It is an interesting phenomenon that after the disappointments with the aesthetics of socialist realism, poets turned almost en masse to the images of Shakespeare and Bruegel. References to Shakespeare became a sort of a code for discussing the topic of tyranny in the face of a still rigid censorship. Profesor Frajlich is interested in the inter-textual relation between Szymborska’s poems and Jan Kott’s essays on Shakespeare, since they both underwent the transformation in thinking experienced by many writers, who during the Stalinist era after World War II were seduced by the ideology, and later experienced the need to cleanse themselves. Beginning in 1956, many writers in Poland, and the Communist bloc, sought the opportunity to free themselves from the confines of ideology, to break away from the monoculture of the Stalinist years. These writers included Jan Kott, Tadeusz Różewicz, and Wisława Szymborska, to name only a few from a much longer list. In her talk, Professor Frajlich examines Wisława Szymborska’s poems dealing with this issue, and reviews existing literature on the topic.
Anna Frajlich, poet, scholar and educator, has lived in New York since 1970, after emigrating from Poland with her husband and son in 1969 with the Jewish “exodus.”She received her MA from Warsaw University in the Polish literature and defended her Ph.D. dissertation in the Slavic Department of the New York University in 1990. Anna Frajlich (Anna Frajlich-Zajac), Senior Lecturer Emerita taught Polish language and literature at Columbia University for over three decades. She also organized scholarly, international conferences, and related events. In Poland she worked in the magazines for blind people. In the USA, she worked in the New York Blood Center, and she has been teaching Polish language at Stony Brook University, New York University, and in the years 1982-2016 she taught Polish language and literature at Columbia University. She was a member of the Board of Directors, and Acting President of PEN Center for Writers in Exile in New York. Presently, she is a member of the Board of Director of Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America. Her poetry, reviews, articles, and essays have been published in various journals in Poland, the United States, and most of Europe. Frajlich is Sr. Lecturer Emerita at the Department of Slavic Languages and Associate Faculty Member, Harriman Institute at Columbia University in New York City. She is an author of 18 books of poetry, her poetry books had been published in Polish, English, French, Italian, Ukrainian, and Spanish. In 2002 Anna Frajlich received The Knight Cross of the Order of Merit awarded by the President of the Polish Republic, in 2008 she received the honorary title of the Ambassador of Szczecin, Poland, and in 2017 the Distinguished Pole Award in USA in the category of culture. She is the recipient of the 1981 Kościelski Foundation of Switzerland literary prize, a 2003 Literary Prize from W. & N. Turzański Foundation (Toronto, Canada). In 2015 she received Literary Prize of the Union of Polish Writers in Exile, based in London. In 2020 she received Szczecin University Medal, and she was awarded the Jubilee Medal of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. In the United State in 2020 Her collection of essays “The Ghost of Shakespeare has been published by Academic Studies Press in Boston In in 2021 The Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA) awarded her The Susanne Lotarski Distinguished Achievement Award, and The Polish American Historical Association awarded her the Oscar Halecki Prize for her book “The Ghost of Shakespeare: collected essay “edited by Ronald Meyer. In 2022 she received a Literary Award from Wschodnia Fundacja Kultury “Akcent” in Lublin.