GEOPOLITICS AND GEOPOETICS IN STANISŁAW KOLBUSZEWSKI’S BALTIC ESSAYS

Wojciech Browarny, Piotr Zazula

Abstract


The paper discusses Stanislaw Kolbuszewski’s essays devoted to the capitals of the Baltic states (W stolicach państw bałtyckich, Poznań 1939; (In the Capitals of the Baltic States).) the author visited in the 1930s. Kolbuszewski’s aim was to familiarize the Polish reader with modern Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia as seen through the eyes of a (friendly) stranger. His book clearly transcends the conventional limits of its genre (travel writing, journalism, reportage). The three capitals function there as extended conceptual metaphors of the Baltic states, their history, architecture, urban layout, and local color being viewed by the Polish “tourist” as symbolic manifestations of their inhabitants’ national mentality. The paper focuses on the geopolitical and geopoetic ideas implicit in Kolbuszewski’s account, exploring the connections between “imagined” geographical space and the nation’s collective memory. Curiously enough, though a Polish nationalist at heart, Kolbuszewski does not make any territorial claims on what was once “Polish Livonia”. Instead, he enthusiastically endorses Baltic nationalisms, dismissing the German and Russian cultural contributions as hostile foreign intrusions. The tropes of ethnic “purity” and folk cultures viewed as pillars of national identity, recurrent in Kolbuszewski’s Baltic essays, bring to mind the anti-German propaganda employed by Polish National Democrats after WW1 and Polish communists after WW2 in their attempt to justify Poland’s annexation of German Silesia, Pomerania, and Masuria, symbolically redefined in the Polish political discourse as the so-called Regained Territories. The connection between Kolbuszewski’s Baltic essays and his affinities with the Regained Territories narrative, as developed by Polish Western Thought and the Piast historiography, is our focus in this article.

Keywords


Stanisław Kolbuszewski; Baltic states; nationalism; National Democracy; Regained Territories; Piast narrative

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17770/latg2017.10.2770

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