„Tak oto urodziłem się w Gdańsku”... („Odzyskanie” Ziem Odzyskanych w młodej polskiej prozie lat 90. XIX wieku)
“And thus I Was Born in Gdańsk”… (A “recover” of the Recovered Territories in the Young Polish Prose of the 90s of the Twentieth Century)
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On the border of the 80’s and 90’s of the twentieth century a criterion of Polish as the main way of self-identification lost its definiteness and self-sufficiency, and therefore the character-narrator-author of a significant portion of young prose works of this period sought support for his own “I” in finding “a little homeland” and in the artistic arranging of his personal genealogy. Memory has become a basis for self-identification, and a nostalgic family myth intertwined in one: the history of the relatives and the genius loci, illuminating the history of the nation only through them. The nostalgic map of Polish literature has been enriched in the 90s by new Western territories (works by P. Huelle, S. Chwin, A.D. Liskowacki, J. Limon, A. Jurewicz, etc.). It was made by the children and grandchildren of displaced, whose children's imagination was fed, on the one hand by the stories of parents and grandparents about the resettlement, on the other – by the half-erased traces of German life. The protagonists of the prose which is often written from the perspective of the post-memory (memoirs of strange trauma, flowing not so much from the experience but from empathy), undertake a kind of archeology of the Recovered Territories, whose memory is similar to the multi-layered palimpsest, bringing out hidden traces of the war and pre-war future of both their own and foreign ancestors. The natural carriers of knowledge of the past are objects, creating “a pocket”, “portable” homeland of their parents and grandparents, as well as things that store the echo of someone else’s experience, a strange fate. The chosen model of autobiographical narrative – stretched between the consciousness of a former child and adult today – enables reading this space-palimpsest without bias, and overcomes the ambivalent sense of randomness/ purposefullness of their own fate, as a result of the family history determined by the chaos of History, offering the possibility to guess the meaning of one’s own existence. Accordingly, the novels and short stories of the late twentieth century regarding the Recovered Territories focus on the issue of memory, and the guiding principle of the narrative is an attempt to achieve, with the assistance of it – a unity of biography, both on the level of family, and space.
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