Łukasz Woiński

Streaming 31 March

Antal Szerb and His Modernist Novel

Łukasz Woiński, PhD candidate, Institute of Linguistics, Translation Studies, and Hungarian
Studies, Faculty of Philology, Jagiellonian University in Kraków



From an early age, I had the opportunity to observe the co-existence of different cultures in Podlachia, a region where Catholicism encounters Orthodox faith and Islam, and at every step one comes across the centuries-old Jewish presence in this area. In the eastern part of the voivodship on a daily basis we can easily hear the Belarusian language, and the Lithuanian in the north. This situation generates conflicts, but it also abounds in examples of good neighborly cooperation. While travelling abroad, I always intuitively searched for border spaces, where different identities co-exist side by side and create a specific social fabric, which is separate from the centers of their cultures.

Because of my deep conviction that it is necessary to expand the discourse of literary studies to include a comparative perspective I graduated both from Polish and Hungarian Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. My scientific interests quickly turned to the areas that Hungary lost after the World War I, where people were always exposed to cultural diversity. My attention was particularly drawn to Transylvania and the interethnic relations in the region, which became the subject of my master’s theses. During my internships at the Documentation Center of Borderland Cultures in Sejny, Poland and at the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities in Cluj-Napoca I had a chance to collect materials on the borderland question.

The search for identity with a vague, non-obvious status has led me to the phenomenon of hauntologies in Hungarian literature. My doctoral dissertation, which will be the first Polish-language monograph of Antal Szerb’s oeuvre, pays special attention to the spectral constructs is his modernist output.

Multiple times I was a scholarship holder in Hungarian educational institutions. Within the framework of the Erasmus program I studied for one year at Eötvös Loránd University (2012/2013). I completed an annual Hungarian Language and Cultural Studies Program (2013/2014) and Literary Translation Program (2015/2016) at the Balassi Institute in Budapest. Thanks to the Erasmus+ program for PhD candidates I studied for one year at the Péter Pázmány University (2019/2020), and then I stayed in Budapest for a 9-month research visit at Eötvös Loránd University (2020/2021).

Moreover I had a chance to participate in numerous summer schools and projects organized by the following institutions and associations: University of Debrecen (2011), University of Pécs (2012), Tallinn University (2015), Antall József Knowledge Centre, Budapest (2018), Eskişehir Development Association, Türkiye (2018), Villa Decius Association, Kraków (2019).

I am the author of several scientific articles and many conference speeches. In 2019 I had the pleasure to give guest lectures on Hungarian language and culture at Ibn Zohr University and at National School of Commerce and Management in Agadir, Morocco.

My real passion is literary translation and participation in cultural life. In 2014 I won first prize in the Balassi Institute Translation Competition. In Polish and Hungarian magazines I published my translations of such writers as Ernő Szép, Tibor Déry or Péter Esterházy. In order to develop my skills I attended various workshops, seminars and projects: József Attila Kör Literary Translation Camp (2016), Hungarian Contemporaries – a literary tour of Poland (2017), Translation seminar at the Hungarian Translators' House, Balatonfüred (2017), József Attila Kör PL/HU Translation Workshops (2019), Station Literature 24, Translation Workshops (2019), PesText-FISZ Literary Translation Workshops (2019), PRAE Literary Translation Camp (2019), PesText Literary Translation Workshops (2020), PRAE Literary Translation Camp (2021), Translation seminar at the Hungarian Translators' House, Balatonfüred (2021).

In 2013 I collaborated as an interviewer with the Krakow Festival Office, taking part in the Writers in Motion project.

My professional experience is closely related to cultural, economic and political cooperation between Poland and Hungary. I worked in the Cracow office of the Hungarian National Trading House, which supports Hungarian enterprises’ expansion into the Polish market and contributes to strengthening bilateral economic relations between the countries. During that time I had a chance to personally help the companies in starting effective trade exchange. I also gained relevant experience working as a Program Manager at the Wacław Felczak Polish-Hungarian Cooperation Institute.