Department of Theory & Anthropology of Literature  



The foundation of the Department of Theory of Literature in 1950 was the result of a growing interest in the issues of theory and methodology of literary studies among the faculty in the Institute of Polish Philology at KUL. Scholarly activity of professors Julius Kleiner (at KUL from 1944 to 1949; his dissertations written in those years were later published in "Studia z teorii literatury" [Studies in Theory of Literature], Lublin 1956) and Maria Dluska (1944-1950, lectures and seminars on versification, her major work "Studia z historii i teorii polskiej wersyfikacji" [Studies in History and Theory of Polish Versification], vols. 1-2, Krakow 1948-1950) was essential for the development of this interest. Kleiner's and Dluska's students from the Lublin period continued and developed theoretical issues during their own scholarly career either at KUL (Maria Jasinska, Stefan Sawicki) or in other research centers (Zdzislawa Kopczynska, Tadeusz Kurys, Lucylla Pszczolowska).The arrival of Irena Sławinska (1950) and Czeslaw Zgorzelski (1949) at KUL, both graduates of the University of Vilnius and students of Stanislaw Pigon and Manfred Kridl, gave a tremendous boost to the development of the literary theory curriculum. Irena Sławinska was the first chairperson of the newly created Department of Theory of Literature. Czeslaw Zgorzelski, an eminent literary scholar, for years' the chairman of the Department of Literature of Enlightenment and Romanticism at KUL, along with his students (incl. Ireneusz Opacki and Marian Maciejewski) created and developed his own school of literary studies, giving these studies a solid, theoretical basis, especially in the area of literary genetics.


Irena Slawinska's research interests were indeed extensive. Among them, two areas are of particular importance, as they determined the character and the range of the department's research and teaching activities. The first area was familiarizing other faculty in the Institute of Polish Philology with modern achievements of theory and methodology of literary studies abroad. It was a critical issue in the time when access to foreign literature was very limited and national theory of literature was deeply influenced by Marxist ideology. The other area of Sławinska's research included the theory of drama and methodology of drama studies. This area was developed by her in an original and systematic way, and eventually led to the founding of the Department of Drama and Theatre (1976).


In 1976, after Irena Sławinska began to chair the newly created Department of Drama and Theatre, Stefan Sawicki became the chairman of the Department of Theory of Literature. By then he was already the author of well-known studies on versification and a monumental study on the history of literary research in Poland "Początki syntezy historycznoliterackiej w Polsce" [The Early Period of Literary-historical Synthesis in Poland] (Warsaw 1969). Sawicki's developing areas of research after he began to run the Department of Theory of Literature can be divided into five circles, all of which have significantly influenced the character and scope of Department's activities. These five circles are: 1) methodological issues, 2) the theory of a literary work of art, 3) literature and values, 4) sacrum in literature, 5) studies in Cyprian Norwid. The two latter produced the base for founding two separate research units: the Interfaculty Department of Studies in Religious Literature (1952) which was run by Maria Jasinska-Wojtkowska, and the Department of Studies in Cyprian Norwid's Oeuvre (1985) run by Stefan Sawicki. Both these units engage in diverse scholarly, bibliographic, and editorial activities.


In October 1999, Wladyslaw Panas, Sawicki's student, became the chairman of the Department of Theory of Literature. Panas's research areas included: structural semiotics (the Tartu School of semiotic tradition), theory of interpretation, problems of cultural intersections and interferences, with special focus on Orthodox and Jewish cultures in Poland's territories, and the works of Bruno Schulz and Jozef Czechowicz.


In February 2005, Edward Fiala was appointed the head of the Department of Theory of Literature.