Stanislaw Brzozowski and the Migration of Ideas

Transnational Perspectives on the Intellectual Field in Twentieth-Century Poland and Beyond

As a writer, critic, and philosopher, Stanisław Brzozowski (1878–1911) left a lasting imprint on Polish culture. He absorbed virtually all topical intellectual trends of his time, adapting them for the needs of what he saw as his primary mission: the modernization of Polish culture. The essays of the volume reassess and contextualize Brzozowski's writings from a distinctly transnational vantage point. They shed light on often surprising and hitherto underrated affinities between Brzozowski and intellectual figures and movements in Eastern and Western Europe. Furthermore, they explore the presence of his ideas in twentieth-century century literary criticism and theory.

Open Access

2019-01-27, ca. 362 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8394-4641-6

Recommend it

Jens Herlth

Jens Herlth, Université de Fribourg, Schweiz

Edward M. Swiderski

Edward M. Swiderski, Université de Fribourg, Schweiz

1. Why did you choose this topic?

Brzozowski is a key-figure in twentieth-century Polish intellectual history. As an obsessive reader, he dealt with literally every cutting-edge trend in early twentieth-century European intellectual life, claiming Poland's right to be part of the project of modernity. We were wondering whether this was only a one-way street or if Brzozowski's creative reworkings of Marxism, syndicalism, and philosophy of life did or at least could have had an impact on what was going on outside Poland.

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

Our book sheds light on contexts that have been largely ignored so far. It is about Brzozowski's indirect involvement in the history of what we know today as ›Russian Formalism‹, about his presence in the polemics of Ukrainian intellectuals in the Interwar period, about the surprising degree of convergence between Brzozowski and Maurice Barrès, Emil Cioran, or Richard Rorty – to name just a few of the topics.

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

The case of Brzozowski is of particular interest for anyone interested in the transnational and trans-imperial intellectual field of early twentieth-century East-Central Europe – a region that spawned a broad range of currents that marked the history of philosophy, literary criticism, and social anthropology in the decades to come. Brzozowski's observations on the performativity of the reading act and his focus on the relationship between reading and the creation of communities are still of relevance today.

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

Andrzej Walicki.

5. Your book summary in one sentence:

This book reveals hidden paths and hitherto neglected contexts in twentieth-century Polish philosophy, literary theory and criticism.

Jens Herlth / Edward M. Swiderski (eds.)
Book title
Stanislaw Brzozowski and the Migration of Ideas Transnational Perspectives on the Intellectual Field in Twentieth-Century Poland and Beyond
transcript Verlag
ca. 362
Commodity Group
LIT004110 HIS054000 HIS010010
Release date
Kulturgeschichte, Literatur
Literary studies, Polish Studies, East European History, Intellectual History
Stanisław Brzozowski, Polish Intellectual History, Literary Criticism In 20th Century Poland, Literary Theory, Literature, Cultural History, Slavic Studies, Eastern European History, Cultural Studies, Literary Studies

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