The main goal of this paper is to analyze, depict, and characterize the semantic construction of the latest novel Przewóz [The Carriage] (2021) written by one of the most significant contemporary Polish writers Andrzej Stasiuk. A key way of organizing Stasiuk’s novel is juxtaposing semantically distant wholes, which creates strong tensions not only at the level of language but above all at the level of meaning. Categories of different meaning interpenetrate in the novel, creating a conglomerate of new meanings, showing the fractures of the world described by the novelist, the incoherence of a reality infected by war.
Such construction of the novel, based on contrasts and the tensions resulting from their occurrence, allows Stasiuk to reflect the tragedy of wartime experience. War is a catalyst that makes us aware of the uncertain anchoring of concepts and categories, hitherto considered unchanging and permanent, it allows us to capture the illusory nature of human beliefs, the incoherence of human actions, and the naivety of human recognition. The marginal comes to the fore, becoming a model of the world under a microscope, a theatre of history, revealing the nakedness of human existence. Such basic and key concepts as strength, courage, beauty, sacrifice, patriotism, culture, universality, boundary, and truth are questioned.
Stasiuk’s ontology is based upon a constant play of tensions between particular categories that make up reality. Nonetheless, the writer does not propose a coherent, unambiguous assessment of reality but rather draws attention to its complexity, impossibility of complete cognition, elusiveness, and delusion. These tensions, so pronounced in Stasiuk’s novel, reveal the illusory nature of the concepts in which a human is immersed, and at the same time, as one of the fundamental elements determining the artistic value of artwork, they are expected to lead to a catharsis, to a release of emotions, they also help to understand better the situation into which a person is thrown at the border moments. Thus, works designed in this way – as cleansing and releasing, and saturated with tension and contrasts – become, as it were, automatically universal, going far beyond transient vogues.
The goal of the paper is also to focus on these aspects of Stasiuk’s novel, to demonstrate how war as a border situation can lead to a relativization of concepts, how it can introduce confusion and chaos into a well-established, as it would seem, axiological system, which the writer demonstrates precisely by creating clear tensions. In his novel, Stasiuk does not offer a zero-one vision of the world, tensions are not created mechanically, and the writer uses contrasts and paradox, but what is really important for him are halftones, ambiguities, multivocalities, and a smooth transition in between categories. This is what sets Stasiuk’s world in motion.
BaloghMagdolna: Pamäť a nostalgia v súčasnom poľskom románe. World Literature Studies2014/2: 53–63.
BaloghMagdolna: Pamäť a nostalgia v súčasnom poľskom románe. World Literature Studies
2014/2: 53–63.)| false
Ryś PawełWiktor: „Z chamskiej wsi do pańskiego miasta”. O plebejskim dziedzictwie we Wschodzie Andrzeja Stasiuka. In: Miejsca, ludzie, opowieści. O twórczości Andrzeja Stasiuka. Rzeszów: WUR, 2018. 238–249.
Ryś PawełWiktor: „Z chamskiej wsi do pańskiego miasta”. O plebejskim dziedzictwie we Wschodzie Andrzeja Stasiuka. In: Miejsca, ludzie, opowieści. O twórczości Andrzeja Stasiuka. Rzeszów: WUR, 2018. 238–249.)| false