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2012 | 10 | 1(18) | 48-68

Article title

Współczesne przynaglenia (o Amy Foster Conrada)

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If modernity dismissed the author, whose position has been traditionally very strong, and called up the “subject” in his place, it is possible to claim that post-modernity introduces an even more drastic reduction by degrading the author to a body. As far as writing is concerned, such a process would consist of reducing, firstly, the modern grand work to a postmodern text, and later – to an artefact, a trace of that which exists. The return of the author, who has been repressed in modernity, is a fundamentally traumatic affair, for it entails the surfacing of that which, though uncanny and inexplicable, is still overwhelming. This situation provokes two characteristic responses that define it. On the one hand, it is possible to observe an attempt to find one’s way according to traces, tropes, wounds and signs of that which is mute and excluded. I try to show how this strategy works on the basis of Joseph Conrad’s short story Amy Foster, in which the key categories of European modernism are led to a logical conclusion, but in my opinion are never transgressed. On the other hand, some writers try to reclaim both the possible and impossible meanings from the noise of speech – a scattering of voices and amalgamations of diverse languages. I illustrate this theme with the help of contemporary poetry, investigating two of its strands: the apocalyptic, modernist poetry of Andrzej Sosnowski, and the poetry of Joanna Mueller, who proposes a radical reduction of the author to the last possible referent – the body.


  • Instytut Badań Literackich Polskiej Akademii Nauk, ul. Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warszawa


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