- November 8, 2013
“It’s good to be in Vilnius.” – an academic conference on the occasion of the 20th jubilee of the Centre of Polish Studies at Vilnius University
The trip of Polish philologists to Vilnius in the 60s, Lithuanian landscapes in Polish literature, or the dialog between the cultures – these and other topics were raised during the academic conference “Funkcjonowanie języków i literatur na Litwie. Polsko-litewskie związki naukowe i kulturowe.” (The functioning of languages and literatures in Lithuania. The cultural and academic relationships between Poland and Lithuania.) at Vilnius University.
The conference was organized by the Centre of Polish Studies at Vilnius University. Jarosław Czubiński, the Polish ambassador in Lithuania took the Honorary Patronage over the event.
The illegal trip
Professor Alina Kowalczykowa from the PAN Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences reminded everyone present the legendary trip of Polish philologists to Vilnius in 1967. “There’s no mention of it. Why? Because 32 academics took part in it. The trip lasted eight days and, as a matter of fact, totally illegal.” – said A. Kowalczykowa. She added that it was one of the best trips because the participants felt very at ease and they could see the Vilnius and the surrounding area. It was a dream come true because they were all interested in Romanticism and Vilnius is the cradle of Polish romanticism. One of the philologists who went on the trip was the legendary professor Kazimierz Wyka.
“It happened like that: the Vice Minister of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania – Russian, of course – came to Warsaw. I met him accidentally, at some party. I told him that I had been dreaming about visiting Lithuania. “Certainly, you should come” – said the minister” – A. Kowalczykowa recounted the origins of the trip. In those times it was an exceptional thing because under Soviet rule the only chance of coming to Vilnius was to buy an eight-day trip Vilnius- Leningrad- Ulyanovsk-Moscow. No one could refuse the Vice Minister of Lithuanian SSR.
Lithuanian landscapes in Polish poetry
Professor Tadeusz Bujnicki, the son of a famous Polish poet Teodor Bujnicki, discussed the theme of Lithuanian landscapes in Polish literature. “My paper concerns Lithuanian landscapes in Polish interwar poetry. (…) Around 100 poetry volumes were published in the interwar years, I chose only a dozen or so on the basis of their meaning, but also their artistic value. The picture of Lithuania in Vilnius poetry emerges from two, previously mentioned circumstances – under the influence of experiences connected with partitions and strong models of Romantic literature. They created a kind of special aura around the native landscapes, which surrounded the historical image of Lithuania.
It’s good to be in Vilnius
The Centre of Polish Studies at Vilnius University was founded in 1993 under the agreement between Polish and Lithuanian governments. Thereunder, Vilnius University and the University of Warsaw pledged to found, according to the rule of parity, the department of Polish philology studies at Vilnius University and a department of Lithuanian philology studies at the University of Warsaw. Thus, they filled a serious gap because in the post-war years Polish philology studies, unfortunately, did not exist at Vilnius University. The Centre had many important and famous visitors. The Nobel prize winner – Czesław Miłosz was also among them. In the visitor’s book he wrote: “It’s good to be in Vilnius in this company.” Dr Kinga Geben’s paper was dedicated exactly to the entries in the visitor’s book. “The aim of my paper is to analyse pragmatically the entries in the visitor’s book of Polish philology at Vilnius University. I wanted to analyse the 86 entries from 1994 to 1999. These were the first ones.” – Dr Geben from Vilnius University informed the audience.
The conference took place on 8th and 9th November. Among the participants there were academics from Poland and Lithuania – Algis Kaleda, Halina Karaś, Bohdan Cywiński, Tomasz Chachulski, and many others.
Tłumaczenie by Kinga Zinser w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Kinga Zinser within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.