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The Impact of the First World War and the Polish-Soviet War on the 'Culture of Suffering' in Post-1914 Polish Fiction

Zechenter, K; (2019) The Impact of the First World War and the Polish-Soviet War on the 'Culture of Suffering' in Post-1914 Polish Fiction. Central Europe , 17 (2) pp. 93-109. 10.1080/14790963.2019.1709019. Green open access

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Abstract

Using Jeffrey C. Alexander’s theory of cultural trauma, this article focuses on the three major types of narratives of suffering which appeared in Polish fiction, after Poland regained political independence in 1918, outside the strong myth-creating narrative of the Polish Legions’ role in the war for independence. It argues that Polish post-1918 fiction developed these three major paths in the face of suffering inflicted on Polish lands, during WWI and Polish-Soviet War. These paths were to: 1) continue the narrative of Polish suffering within the framework of heroic, and selfless, sacrifice for Poland that has been well established since Romanticism; 2) present suffering as the universal fate of humanity outside the notion of national identity, due to the monstrosity of modern bureaucratic systems wherein human beings are treated as objects; and 3) present suffering as the result of modern warfare, but told outside of “patriotic phraseology” – thus suggesting a growing need as to finding a solution to national conflicts outside narrowly defined identities.

Type: Article
Title: The Impact of the First World War and the Polish-Soviet War on the 'Culture of Suffering' in Post-1914 Polish Fiction
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/14790963.2019.1709019
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/14790963.2019.1709019
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cultural trauma, Poland, WWI, suffering, Polish fiction, modernity
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10089621
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