Department of Theoretical Poetics and Semiotics of Culture

Room 128; Tel. (22) 6572-701

Members of the Department:
Chair: Professor Jan Kordys (office hours: Tuesdays 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Professor Jacek Leociak (office hours: Tuesdays 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Associate Professor Grzegorz Grochowski (office hours: Tuesdays 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)
Dr. Magdalena Szczypiorska-Chrzanowska (office hours: Tuesdays 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.)

Other scholars who participate in the activities of the Department:
Professor Teresa Dobrzyńska-Janusz
Professor Danuta Danek
Dr. Dorota Urbańska

More information:
On the history of the Department of Theoretical Poetics
Literary Theory: Concepts and their Contexts (cooperation with the Institute of Literature, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)

About the Department:
Research conducted by the members of the Department focuses on developing methods for the analysis of literary works defined as complex sign structures built out of language material and subjected to different conventions of discourse. This type of research belongs to descriptive poetics and has a clear linguistic and semiotic profile. It uses analytical categories from various branches of linguistics: semantics, pragmatics, stylistics and text, and discourse theory. Interpretation-oriented studies apply the latest methods of literary analysis.

Research on the text structure, discourse theory, and semantics of literary expression – the problems of metaphor, in particular – is being carried out especially vigorously. Work is also underway in the fields of semiotics and neurosemiotics and, in recent years, a line of research on the textual representation of the Holocaust has been developed. Apart from the inquiries concentrated on the mechanisms of language communication, the Department also conducts many interpretation studies devoted to various contemporary writers. In addition, the Department’s research represents major achievements in the field of verse studies.

The Department – under different names and in the organizational forms that were modified a few times – has existed since the founding of the Institute of Literary Research. Until 1981, the creator and manager of the team was Professor Maria Renata Mayenowa. After her retirement, Professor Lucylla Pszczołowska became the manager. And since 1993, the team has been headed by Professor Teresa Dobrzyńska. Scholars who have been affiliated with the Department for many years include Danuta Danek, Zofia Florczak, Elżbieta Janus, Zdzisława Kopczyńska, Dorota Urbańska, and Anna Wierzbicka.

In the last decade, the team’s record of publications has been enriched by Teresa Dobrzyńska’s volume of essays Tekst – styl – poetyka [Text – Style – Poetics] (Krakow 2003), as well as by such books as: (1) Kategorie antropologiczne i tożsamość narracyjna [Anthropological Categories and Narrative Identity] by Jan Kordys (Krakow 2006); (2) Odmiany dyskursu. Semiotyka życia publicznego w Polsce po 1989 roku [Varieties of Discourse: Semiotics of Public Life in Poland After 1989] by Zbigniew Kloch (Wroclaw 2006); (3) Znaczenie wyboru formy wiersza [The Importance of Choosing the Verse Form] by Zdzisława Kopczyńska, Teresa Dobrzyńska, and Lucylla Pszczołowska (Warsaw 2007); (4) Ocalony w gmachu wiersza. O poezji Stanisława Barańczaka (Saved in the Edifice of Verse: On the Poetry of Stanisław Barańczak] by Jerzy Kandziora (Warsaw 2008); and (5) Doświadczenia graniczne. Studia o dwudziestowiecznych formach reprezentacji [Borderline Experiences: Studies of Twentieth-Century Representation Forms] by Jacek Leociak (Warsaw 2009).

The Department collaborates with the Institute of Literature of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Along with the Institute, the Department has organized a series of conferences, including "Memory and Text: Cognitive and Cultural Aspects" (Sofia, June 16-17, 2003), "Word and Image: Iconicity in Literary Communication" (Sofia, September 19-20, 2005), "Observation and Meaning" (Sofia, September 25-26, 2008), and "Similarity and Difference: The Problem of Identity" (Sofia, September 16-17, 2012). This collaboration has resulted in the publications of edited volumes. Moreover, the Department has maintained regular scholarly contacts with Czech researchers of discourse (Czech Language Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague). For many years, the Department was also an organizer of the symposiums in the series "Comparative Slavic Metrics." The members of the Department participate in many scholarly conferences organized by other institutions.

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