This exhibition was assembled by the Towarzystwo Opieki nad Archiwum Instytutu Literackiego w Paryzu [Society for the Protection of the Literary Institute Archive in Paris] for THE YEAR OF JERZY GIEDROYC.
"JERZY GIEDROYC AND 'THE LOST ROMANTICS'" is an exhibition that was assembled by the Towarzystwo Opieki nad Archiwum Instytutu Literackiego w Paryżu [Society for the Protection of the Literary Institute Archive in Paris] for THE YEAR OF JERZY GIEDROYC
. The project's partners include BISE Bank and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute
"The Lost Romantics..." is how Waclaw A. Zbyszewski referred to "Kultura's" founders in one of his essays:
"They faced poverty and destitution, were threatened by bankruptcy daily, and counted every penny. Four people doing all the editing and administration for the journal and books: Giedroyc, his brother, Zygmunt and Zosia Hertz, plus Jozef Czapski and his sister as reserves or volunteers. Add all the guests they took in, add assisting various writers in need, acting as an 'employment agency' for them, add all the people in transit from Poland and add thousands of small duties and problems (...) this handful of people with minimal resources somehow managed to contribute, however minimally, to putting Poland's future and Polish thought straight..."
In the exhibition, several dozen large panels present a calendar of key events in the history of the Literary Institute from its founding in Rome in 1946 to the present day, an extensive biography of Jerzy Giedroyc
, excerpts from selected articles published in "Kultura" by authors Jozef Czapski
, Andrzej Bobkowski
, Juliusz Mieroszewski, Czeslaw Milosz
and Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski
A large section of the display is devoted to Zofia and Zygmunt Hertz. Zofia, a co-founder of "Kultura," recalls the time she spent in pre-war Lodz, the war years, and the first years of the Literary Institute.Czeslaw Milosz
wrote the following about his friendship with Zygmunt Hertz in "Kultura" (no. 390/1980):
"Certain days... Zygmunt was a buzzing bumblebee... It was Zygmunt's calling to be a filanthropos - a friend of people, and his skill at doing good for people could not have found better use than it did in that strange zone between Poland and the outside world. 'Nadwislnia' [Vistuland] engrossed Zygmunt, and he would get irate, ecstatic, and embarrassed about what was happening there. He treated this fixation as an illness, but as an incurable one and one against which he no longer struggled. As it always was with him, this constant fretting about Poland related to concretes: earnings, prices, working conditions, personal freedom or a lack thereof - in other words, the lives of real people whose names he knew or people whose daily lives he imagined in detail. He would immediately start thinking about how to take action, how to help. It was a vast list of people who owed Zygmunt their scholarships, their first jobs in Paris, their invitations abroad... Whoever picks up an issue of 'Kultura' or a book published by the Literary Institute, and whoever takes either of these in hand in the future, should pause to think about pots and pans, about breakfasts, lunches and dinners prepared by the same three or four people responsible for editing, proofing, washing up, grocery shopping... and they should multiply the number of these and other household chores by the days, months and years. And then they should remember the string, the packing paper, the heavy packages carried to the post office to be mailed..."
Another section of the display is titled "The 'Kultura' Circle." Jerzy Giedroyc once wrote:
"One of the things I wanted to do most urgently was to form a circle of 'Kultura' authors."
This circle included Andrzej Bobkowski
, Jozef Czapski
, Witold Gombrowicz
, Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski
, Marek Hlasko
, Konstanty Jelenski, Leszek Kolakowski
, Stanislaw Lem
, Czeslaw Milosz
, Juliusz Mieroszewski, Slawomir Mrozek
, Jerzy Stempowski
, Kazimierz Wierzynski
... Ultimately, a total of 533 volumes appeared under the "Biblioteka 'Kultury'" imprint, including Witold Gombrowicz's DZIENNIKI / DIARIES, Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski's INNY SWIAT / ANOTHER WORLD, Czeslaw Milosz's ZNIEWOLONY UMYSL / THE CAPTIVE MIND, Andrzej Bobkowski's SZKICE PIORKIEM / DRAWING-PEN SKETCHES and Marek Hlasko's CMENTARZE / CEMETERIES.
A large section of the display is devoted to Jerzy Giedroyc himself. It includes excerpts from his AUTOBIOGRAPHY FOR FOUR HANDS and the Editor's statements about 'Kultura' and its contributors, as well as statements about Jerzy Giedroyc by the likes of Czeslaw Milosz, Stanislaw Lem, Ryszard Kapuscinski
and Natalya Gorbanevskaya.
The exhibition incorporates photographs from Literary Institute Archive in Paris and a series taken in October 1998 at Maisons-Laffitte by Piotr Wojcik (Agencja Gazeta). Agnieszka Mitkowska authored the exhibition scenario and Hanna Milanowicz designed the visuals.
In celebration of THE YEAR OF JERZY GIEDROYC in 2006, the exhibition will be presented at several dozen venues.Back to "The Year of Jerzy Giedroyc" main page