PROBLEMS WITH THE PAST: POLISH HISTORICAL FICTION AND HISTORIOGRAPHY
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The article tries to describe two types of fictional narratives inspired by the main principles of the 'New Historicism', Both J.M. Rymkiewicz's novels as well as J. Limon's 'Whale' situate themselves in opposition to traditional historical narratives. The author of 'Zmut' defies it by a deliberate 're-presentation' of the past and by letting his narrator communicate with and capture reality 'in statu nascendi', alive because embodied in matter. In effect the writer does not follow the trail of 19th-century fictionalized biographies. Instead he creates a metaphysical space in which 'there' and 'then' merge with 'here and now'. In the 'Whale' the past is no longer the object of painstaking copying ('reflection'). The past is now 'discovered' with the help of stylized 'anthologies of source materials', which reveal a broad variety of historiographical conventions. The collage composition of Limon's works is turned into a system of mirrors, which reflect not reality perse, but its textually mediated aspect.
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