Polish in the University and in the UL : the July 2017 Slavonic items of the month

This week has seen the very welcome news that the pilot Polish Studies Programme, launched in 2014, has succeeded in attracting funding which will ensure that Polish will remain in the University academic programme in perpetuity.  To celebrate this wonderful development, the July 2017 Slavonic blog post looks at Polish holdings in the University Library.

The UL holds over 25,000 volumes in Polish.  The period covered by the Polish-language collections stretches over a span of more than 450 years from the mid-16th century to the current day.  Books printed before 1800 are the smallest component, but they include some extremely important and rare items.  The earliest book in Polish in the University Library is the first printed translation of the Bible into Polish, which was produced in 1561 in Kraków.  The second translation, printed in 1563, is rarer than the first; all but 20 or so copies were destroyed.  The University Library is fortunate enough to have two copies each of these first two editions (Young.55 and BSS.232.B61; Young.56 and BSS.232.B63).

Images from the Young.55 copy of the 1561 Polish Bible.

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20th-century Polish art : the April 2016 Slavonic item(s) of the month

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Images from the three featured books

Polish book selection in the University Library focuses on the history and culture of Poland, with art a well-represented subject.  This month, we look at 3 recent arrivals, books on Tadeusz Peiper, Bruno Schulz, and Zygmunt Radnicki.

Our first item, ‘Papież awangardy’ (Pope of the avant-garde; S950.c.201.695) was published as a companion volume for the exhibition of the same name held in Warsaw in 2015.  The exhibition examined the role played by Tadeusz Peiper in European culture, particularly the Polish and Spanish avant-garde.  Peiper was a seriously influential figure in 1920s art and literature, chiefly in his native Poland but also in Spain – where he spent some years – and further afield.

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Memory and place : bibliographical notes for the Michaelmas 2015 CamCREES seminars

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Slavnym zavoevateliam Arktiki (1997.8.3465)

Thursday 14 January sees the first of the Lent term’s CamCREES seminars.  This blog post provides a brief bibliographical note of the Michaelmas seminars: Sheila Fitzpatrick’s talk on memoirs and the first three lectures in the joint CamCREES/Department of Slavonic Studies series ‘A Sense of Place, on the Arctic, post-WW2 Eastern Europe, and the Russian graphosphere.

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Władysław Bartoszewski, the man and his legacy : the May 2015 Slavonic item(s) of the month

Władysław Bartoszewski – Polish resistance member, prisoner, diplomat, and historian – died in late April at the age of 93.  The University Library’s holdings of works by and about him date from 1968 and include a 6-volume set of his works (590:4.c.200.49-54).  Our latest Bartoszewski acquisitions are the focus of the May Slavonic item of the month feature.


The three books discussed in the blog post.

In his long life, Bartoszewski saw first-hand some of both the bleakest and most hopeful parts of modern Poland’s history.  A young man when the Nazis arrived, he fought in the defence of Warsaw against the invading army and later in the 1944 Uprising.  In between, he was imprisoned in Auschwitz and, on his release (organised by the Polish Red Cross), worked in the resistance, both in the main Polish Home Army and also in Żegota, whose work was focused on aiding Jews.  In Communist Poland, he worked as a journalist and historian, but was imprisoned for much of the post-war decade.  His last imprisonment came in 1981, during martial law, for his connections with Solidarność.  Post-Communist Poland lauded him.  In his two terms as foreign minister, he played a vital role in forging strong connections with Israel and Germany. Continue reading