Representative prose works by leading twentieth-century Polish writers. Polish literature's critique of modern European civilization. The relation of historical memory, collective victimization, and the utopian imagination in Polish literature to political power and national survival.
Can we deal with the curse of terrorism by learning lessons from the past? In the 19th century Polish and Russian terrorists evoked in Europe fear comparable to that caused nowadays by al-Qaeda. In 1869 Russian nihilist Sergey Nechayev wrote “Catechism of a Revolutionary,” a handbook of terrorism. In 1881 a bomb thrown by Polish anarchist Ignacy Hryniewski killed Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Even Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of U.S. President William McKinley, had Polish roots. During this course we will analyze the history and contemporary issues of terrorism in Eastern Europe, from Russian anarchists to Chechnyan fighters. As a mirror of this phenomenon we will read the works of such writers as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Albert Camus and Juliusz Slowacki, and we will discuss the image of terrorism in contemporary Russian and Polish cinema, theater, and literature.