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the school book list

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article1903396.ece

i liked the bit about hen farming. also curious to read the sienkiewicz family comment - the list is such that writers would prefer to be excluded ?

Re: the school book list

for the lazy here is claire's link.

Writers facing expulsion from Poland’s schools
The right-wing Government’s plans for a new syllabus are being compared to crackdowns under the Nazis and Communists

SUSAN SONTAG DESCRIBED the Polish novelist and playwright Witold Gombrowicz as “one of the super-arguers of the 20th century”, and his 1937 novel Ferdydurkeas “one of the most bracing, direct books written about sexual desire”.

But the Polish Government wants to drop Gombrowicz (1904-69) from its school syllabus – along with such writers as the Polish-born Joseph Conrad, who apparently exhibited unpatriotic behaviour by emigrating from Krakow, anglicising his name and becoming a master of English – Goethe and Kafka. Other renowned Poles such as the avant-garde painter-writer-playwright Witkacy are also under threat.

The proposals come from Poland’s Minister of Education, Roman Giertych (who represents the League of the Polish Family in the coalition Government). His policy, reminiscent of bans under the Nazis and the Communists, has provoked fury and disbelief in Poland’s writers.

“Roman Giertych should start farming hens,” according to Andrzej Stasiuk, one of the country’s leading writers, whose novel Nine was published by Harvill Secker in Britain last month. “He should never have been trusted with the education of children and youth. Children are to be uniformed and disciplined, they must develop herd instinct and be afraid of strangers. Later, when they grow up a little, they should couple as soon as possible in order to take care of reproduction and not waste time on trifles. There is no room for any meaningful discussion here.”

The Nobel-prizewinning poet Wislawa Szymborska has also protested: “I think Giertych shows an enormous sense of humour in replacing these writers with Jan Dobraczynski” – a conversative whose books include eulogies to the Polish-born Pope John Paul II – “and other unknown writers who will give only one answer, their correct answer, to all the dilemmas rankling the rest.”

The descendants of another Polish Nobel-prizewinner, Henryk Sienkiewicz (1882-1959) whose novels such as Quo Vadis? (the basis for the 1951 Hollywood film) and The Deluge remain on the syllabus, have written to Giertych demanding that they be removed on the grounds that their rightful place is with the cancelled books, not those by Dobraczynski.

Their letter confronts the suspected reasons for the policy: “We are convinced that true patriotic behaviour is built on dialogue, on having the courage to confront different attitudes towards the great challenge of Polishness. Not understanding this fact leads to the wounding of our own national identity. The Poland of The Deluge and of Ferdydurke is a Poland that does not fear itself . . .”

This is a critical time for Poland. With its economy boosted by EU accession and increasing tourism, it needs to show the West the best of its culture, but the right-wing coalition-Government is wary of foreign influence and of the breakdown of family and religion in the face of affluence.

Instead of encouraging students to take pride in Poland’s contribution to literature, and to appreciate how enriching such works are in guiding readers through life, the Government is now facing mockery from the rest of Europe.

Only last week, it issued a warning that Teletubbies may be dangerous for children as one male character has a handbag and another a triangle on his head.

The infrequent “tolerance” marches supporting homosexuality, individuality and the right to self-expression are banned or scarcely tolerated by local governments and met by violent antigay groups and questionable policing. On Giertych’s suggested canon, he claims that the Defence of Socrates is by Aristotle, rather than Plato. The Cracow poet Marcin Swietlicki said: “I guess they changed that because Plato was a faggot.”

The “righteous reading-list” controversy mirrors the absurdity of Ferdydurke itself. In the novel, a 30-year-old man is kidnapped by a professor and forced to go to school to undergo indoctrination in national identity through the literature of the Polish greats, such as Norwid and Slowacki. But the more spirited pupils resist the call to nationalism and mind-numbing conformity.

Instead, Gombrowicz, ripe with linguistic mischief, whizzes through a range of registers from street-speak to aristocratic posturing, peasant slang to the grandiloquence of the intelligentsia, endlessly rebuking authority’s monotonous demand to behave, to be straight, “to be something definite”.

“I wanted to break out in protests and explanations . . .” the protagonist, Joey Kowalski declares. “Any delay threatened to make it permanent.” The same must be said of the response to Giertych’s proposals.

Re: the school book list

the latest snippet from a colleague :

"you know who farmed hens?"
"no"
"Himmler"

so the comment says a little more than it would seem to at first glace

Re: the school book list

Yes, the hen farming comment was indeed clever . I wonder how many people made the connection?

Re: the school book list

Wouldn't anybody? And the comparison between Heinrich H and Giertych doesn't just stop there - manifest destiny of their nation, virulent anti-semitism a love of uniforms etc..

Excellent and brave of the Sienkiewicz family - and amazing that 'Roman the Fowler' wants to drop Conrad, one of the world's best known Poles and best known writers. He's always been a favoutite of mine, and I was intrigued to read a theory not long ago suggesting that his wife, Jesse Conrad, ought to be given more than a little credit for his works. the literary and linguistic style of Conrad's opus fits closely to surviving texts written by her. The plots are certainly by Joseph, but at the very least, there was probably heavy editing by Jesse.

That sort of thing was more common years ago - so much of Brecht's stuff was written by women around him, and even in pulp fiction, some people suggest that Dan Brown & Dick Francis' wives should be credited at the very least as co-authors.

Re: the school book list

I'm not sure Heinrich Himmler's chicken farming adventure is widely known outside the small world of history enthusiasts.

Re: the school book list

"
Excellent and brave of the Sienkiewicz family - and amazing that 'Roman the Fowler' wants to drop Conrad, one of the world's best known Poles and best known writers. He's always been a favoutite of mine, and I was intrigued to read a theory not long ago suggesting that his wife, Jesse Conrad, ought to be given more than a little credit for his works. the literary and linguistic style of Conrad's opus fits closely to surviving texts written by her. The plots are certainly by Joseph, but at the very least, there was probably heavy editing by Jesse.

That sort of thing was more common years ago - so much of Brecht's stuff was written by women around him, and even in pulp fiction, some people suggest that Dan Brown & Dick Francis' wives should be credited at the very least as co-authors.
"


Very true.

Re: the school book list

A translator I know specialised in translating one of these authors but couldn't get published in the States so, scared at having revealed his work in a submitted manuscript he put his translation on the web somewhere - and a translation was later published by a US publishing house showing obvious similarities of style.
If you think I'm being a bit cagey, it's only because I'm scared of whispering the word ... plagiarism.