Olga Tokarczuk, born in Sulechów, Poland, in 1962. M.Sc. from the University of Warsaw. Novelist in Warsaw.
Writer-in-Residence (1 February 2009 – 30 June 2009).
In preparation for my “Heterotopia project”, I have been studying the history of Europe in the 17th century. My focus lay in particular on:
- The history of Jews at the time of Jewish Enlightenment;
- Jewish mysticism, with an emphasis on the Sabbatai Zevi and Donmeh movements;
- Jacob Frank and Frankism, Chasidism and, though superficially, the history of Kabbalah of Kordowero and Luria; and,
- The connections between Jewish messianism and the ideas of political and social revolution.
This led me to the second strand of my project: the early visions of alternative societies in the works of Bakunin, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Abramowski, and also Ward and Dolgoff.
I carried out interesting research on both subjects and collected material to aid my writing. I was able to set out the framework of my entire book. I have also worked on three articles for the weekly magazine Polityka and on a short novel (as yet untitled).