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New Perspectives on Literary Censorship in Communist Poland (1944-1990)

Kamila Budrowska (Białystok)

Thursday, 20 October 2022 14:30

Am 20. Oktober 2022 heißen wir gemeinsam mit dem Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus (LWC) Kamila Budrowska in unserem Regensburger Forschungskolloquium willkommen. Sie wird einen Vortrag zum Thema "Censorship towards literature in Poland under communism (1944-1990)" halten. Der Vortrag findet in englischer Sprache statt.


This lecture outlines the forms of censorship and how they functioned in communistera Poland. Drawing on my extensive research on literary censorship, the lecture will offer insight into the broader context relating both to the study of censorship today – including methodological and conceptual issues – and also to how censorship institutions and practices developed under communism – including the transnational influence of the Soviet Glavlit and the legal basis for Polish state censorship. A key aspect of the lecture explores how censorship policy and practices shifted over time, becoming variously more and less stringent. I show that key factors in this were: chronological, revealing the historical and political contingency of censorship; thematic, with banned and restricted topics changing; and personal, with writers treated differently according to their perceived standing. Here I will focus on two literary fields: how writers and the authorities approached the Second World War and the Holocaust – with censors even declaring the latter thematically “obsolete” by 1949 – and on women’s literature, which faced severe restrictions in some cases. I will also address problems related to the censorship of Polish contemporary literature, Polish classics (including the important question of re-working the canon), and translations from foreign languages. In conclusion, I will consider the prospects for new perspectives in censorship studies, that could draw on transnational studies, as well as postcolonial and minority narrative perspectives.

Kamila Budrowska:

Kamila Budrowska ist Professorin an der Philologischen Fakultät der Universität Bialystok und Leiterin des Lehrstuhls für Philologische Studien. Sie ist Autorin von über hundert Veröffentlichungen zur Literaturzensur in den Jahren 1945-1989.




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