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The article discusses a collection of literary essays Elementy do portretu. Szkice o twórczości Aleksandra Wata published and edited by Poznań-based specialists in Polish literature and dedicated to Professor Ewa Wiegandt. The starting point for the discussion is the observation that the authors of the essays had to grapple with the elusiveness and multidimensional character of the output of A. Wat, with the entanglement of the text of his works with the text of his biography, and finally with the multitude of its cultural contexts. The reviewer distinguishes four research currents in the collection of essays, each being a different answer to these particular traits of Wat’s writing. Historical and literary studies in the book show the author in his relations and as a non-categorizable author, and challenge the Futurist character of his juvenile writings by juxtaposing them with earlier Symbolism and later Catastrophism. The interpretative study current tries to find ways to define Wat through reading his individual works. Here, the overriding opposition between ”closeness” and ”openness”, so pivotal in the poet’s works, becomes apparent. The current of thematology that present Wat’s literary topoi in relation to his biography is well represented in the volume. Finally, the studies that cross the strictly literary horizon try to capture the multi-tier structures of Wat’s works, reinterpreting them from the sociological, historical or axiological perspectives. The final conclusion of the review is the acknowledgement of the richness offered by the book that corresponds well to the intensity of works and the biography of the author.
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