Archive for July, 2006

Stanisław Lem – colossus of science fiction of the XX century

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

When I was a little boy the books by Julius Verne allowed me to travel. I went around the world in 80 days, I visited the oceans with captain Nemo, and I even traveled to the moon. A couple of years later came the time of Łajka, Gagarin, and Armstrong. All of a sudden the mankind was on a brink of conquering space. And this is when, for the first time, I saw a book written by Stanisław Lem. For a teenager in Poland, in the fifties, when everything was a “state secret”, his books about robots, astronauts, and space vehicles were like a magical world.  Lem opened our eyes; his books moved galaxies and planets closer to us, while the technology became more understandable and accessible.
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It’s enough to “decode” Dan Brown’s fiction…

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

The creation of Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code has experienced large commercial success, gaining a spot on modern literature lists in a world hungry for cheap thrills. Through the use of tested and proven literary tactics, skillfully enclosed in a story line, the writer makes money. The measures of Brown’s success are the millions of copies sold to readers who only understand the questions raised by the text at the surface. Without the historical knowledge, nor theological know how, the reader freely absorbs Hollywood’s approach to explaining the aspects of our existence. It is so predictable and always bought into, as long as the plot is full of mystery and conspiracy, at the same time not lacking in explosions and passionate love. These stories are a quick read, which is an accomplishment in today’s times, and where skillfully created intrigue pulls the reader from the beginning into the middle of an extensive plot in conflict with historical facts. The phenomenon is based on the moment when the reader, guided by the author, stops raising the necessary questions and no longer tries to counteract the absorbed ideas with historical facts.
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The Emigre Prince Jerzy Giedroyć on the 100th anniversary of his birth

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

“Someone who wants to be Polish. An act of will is more important than a birth certificate. To be a Pole is not to change one’s national loyalty.”
Juliusz Mieroszewski, „Kultura”

If we had to choose the five Poles with the greatest degree of influence on the fate of Poland, and therefore Europe, in the twentieth century, among them would certainly be Jerzy Giedroyc, the creator and editor of Kultura in Paris and the founder of the publishing house Instytut Literacki (Literary Institute).

The work of Jerzy Giedroyc is so associated with the Paris-based journal Kultura that we often forget about his literary and government work during the prewar years. During his studies in law and history at the University of Warsaw, Giedroyc edited two titles, „Bunt Młodych” (Youth Rebellion) and „Politykę” (Politics). In these first years of his work, his numerous talents were already evident: his work ethic, excellent organization, and, most important, his ability to surround himself with excellent people. In addition to his publishing activities, the young Giedroyc was employed in the Ministry of Agriculture and, before the outbreak of war, he was secretary to the Minister of Industry and Trade.
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