Jolanta Jastrzebska, born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1945. Ph.D. from the University of Groningen. Assistant Professor of Hungarian and Polish Language and Literature at the University of Groningen
Fellow (1 September 1999 – 30 June 2000)
As a member of the nucleus A Comparative History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe I had the opportunity to work together with excellent colleagues on the book which will be published by Oxford Series probably in 2001. I focused my research on two topics: Polish Literary Histories and Traumas of War: Polish and Hungarian Literature. In the first work I examined the development of scientific interest in the history of Polish literature, from the beginning of nineteenth century. For the most scholars at that time the ideas of Hegel and Hyppolite Taine were their inspiration. They were trying to discover the characteristics of the nation in literature, which was for them the source of knowledge about what they called “the Polish soul”. My second topic concerned the representation of the Second World War in poetry and prose of two countries with a different historical experience during the war, Poland and Hungary. The heroic myths of the Ghetto Revolt and the Warsaw Uprising as important literary themes are characteristic for Polish literature. Shared motifs in both literatures are: the experience of concentration camps, the Holocaust, and feelings of guilt. Despite the differences, the development of the narrative structure seems to be the same for both countries= literature: from a laconic, objective style (for example Tadeusz Borowski), to the epic approach (Imre Kertész and Tibor Cseres), and finally to a post-modern composition (another novel of the same Kertész and György Konrád). Finding inspiration among creative people, and at the same time the ambience of peace and tranquillity during the long evenings, I was able to pursue my chief hobby: translating Hungarian literary texts into Polish. They will be published in the Fall of 2000, in the Polish periodical, Literatura na æwiecie [World Literature].