Issue 12/2019 (757)



Sage, Rosemary, Thyme and a Dead Mouse

Justyna Bargielska

An absentminded volunteer visits her patient and the patient’s room-mate in the nursing home. Both elderly ladies suffer from memory loss, so they seem not to always know who calls round, so each visit is like a unique adventure. This absurd and humorous play talks about old age, dementia, and dying, but also about the lyrical charm of a relationship that begins all over again. The author, Justyna Bargielska, is an award-winning poet and writer.

Father’s Tools

Agata Skrzypek

A strange house arrangement: Hans Bellmer, his friend Unika and two Bellmer’s dolls, acting as daughters. Full of symbolic and psychoanalytical meanings, the text talks about suffering, jealousy, insanity and violence hidden in the works of the artist who used to declare himself as a pacifist and anti-fascist. Agata Skrzypek also recounts the figure of a less known artist, a tragically deceased painter and writer who shared her life with Bellmer. She also portrays the surrealists’ circle.

Penelope (Pénélope)

Leonora Carrington

The play, written in 1946, one out of two in Leonora Carrington's work, is a surrealistic critique of society bound by the rules of bourgeois etiquette. The Mexican staging of the play of 1962 by Alejandro Jodorowsky, with the stage design and costumes by Carrington, went down in history.

Behind the Double (Derrière son double)

Jean-Pierre Duprey

Written at the end of 1948 and included in the debut volume published a year later, Behind the Double was an important pass for the young artist to a small circle of Parisian surrealists. Rated enthusiastically by André Breton, it has remained one of Duprey’s greatest artistic achievements.

Essays, Studies

How does a pistachio nut work?

Justyna Jaworska

Justyna Bargielska, the author of one of this issue’s plays, claims that she has a pistachio nut in place of imagination. Her female characters and lyrical subjects are not necessarily the same in this respect, but with all their tender sensitivity, they must be tough (ironic, composed, brave, full of disinvolture, and at the same time precise even in their dreams) at the time when they have no one to handle their insanity.

What do they have in common?

Bożena Keff

The poet Bożena Keff wonders what are the similarities between Zuzanna Ginczanka and Debora Vogel, apart from the fact that they both were poets and Jewish women, who died a brutal death and then were forgotten for a long time.

Duprey, the surrealist

Zbigniew Naliwajek

The author presents the career and work of one of the most important post-war surrealists. Initially, Duprey associated his hopes mainly with writing – valued in the artistic circles, he created primarily poetry inspired by the great texts of the second half of the nineteenth century, and especially symbolist texts. Soon, however, he turned his attention to sculpture and painting. He died by suicide – it was apparently his gesture of protest against the French war in Algeria.

Leonora Carrington’s horses

Agnieszka Taborska

Leonora Carrington – a painter, sculptor, writer and a cult figure of international surrealism and feminism – possessed a handful of features which distinguished her everywhere and in every situation. These were: a sense of humour, derived from Lewis Carroll's tradition, distance to herself, unlimited imagination, uncompromising attitude, distrust of all values and ideologies, sharpness of observation, and curiosity about the world. She died in 2011 at the age of ninety-four.

An Ordinary Exorcist

Joanne Pottlizer

Leonora Carrington, considered worldwide an extraordinary woman, a brilliant artist, preferred to consider herself an ordinary woman, any ordinary woman, with all the difficulties, flaws, and struggles of getting through this life on earth. This essay communicates something of the co-habitation of Leonora’s extraordinary and ordinary worlds.

The biggest secret of the doll

Piotr Paziński

The doll is suffering matter, which for his own entertainment he turned into a silent figure made of wax and rags, and then unsuccessfully tried to revive with the power of dreams and phantasms. This is also the reason for its lofty silence: suffering that we do not want to see in its artificial, enameled eyes. The biggest secret of the doll.

A decade of schizofrenia

Maksymilian Wroniszewski

The theme of mental illness, in particular schizophrenia, is constantly present in the Polish culture of the 1970s. The author recalls the most important works devoted to this issue. He also points to the combining of perspectives related to trends of humanistic psychiatry, antipsychiatry, as well as topics derived from romantic anthropology in the work of researchers as well as in writing and reading practice.

How to narrate modern incidents

Zbigniew Majchrowski

Forefathers' Eve directed by Henryk Baranowski in 1977 at the Jaracz Theatre in Olsztyn were extremely effectively erased from the history of the theatre, and at most remembered as a scandal. The author attempts to break the curse cast on this spectacle, placing it in the context of contemporary social events.


Tadeusz Nyczek, Marek Beylin, Piotr Morawski

Piotr Gruszczyński Quite other things are important – a polemic with Piotr Morawski's column from the November issue.


Konteksty: Zofia Cielątkowska on the margin of Achille Mbembe’s Critique of Black Reason, Duke University Press, Durham 2017. Notes on plays: Gwyneth Lewis Clytemnestra, Sabine Reveillet Les Lunatiques, Stefan Tajbl Flajšmanovi. Playbill