Translations and introduction by Anita Jones Debska
Photographs by Damian Debski
Published by Wivenbooks Press, 2018
Available from Wivenhoe Bookshop
The Language-Land presents images of the Polish countryside in the words of nineteenth-century Polish writers accompanied by modern photographs of Polish landscapes, a personal selection on the part of translator and photographer.
The texts are presented in both Polish and in English translation, together with a commentary to guide the reader through the book. After Poland was partitioned by its neighbours in 1795 and disappeared from the map, the poets in exile created a ‘language-land’ from their native landscapes and writers still living in the territory of the former Republic recorded ongoing rural life and traditions. Thus the independent Polish state that came into being in 1918 inherited a strong sense of national identity and a rich literature.
The year in which modern Poland celebrates its centenary is a time of worldwide displacement of people for whom the creation and cherishing of a personal ‘language-land’ seems more than ever meaningful. The book is a tribute to the Polish writers in each partition, and to those forced into exile who preserved the sense of Polish identity and attachment to their country. It includes photographs of the Polish countryside and a commentary by the translator, whose own experience of the land and culture began six decades ago.
Anita Jones Debska will be promoting the book as part of the Essex Book Festival on 3 March, 7pm