We are proudly publishing the first issue of Fabrica Litterarum Polono-Italica devoted to Kazimiera Alberti: a mysterious yet inspiring author. Alberti belongs to both Polish and Italian literary traditions and functions in these two cultural and linguistic spaces even though this presence bears different implications in each case. Despite the incontrovertible merits of her writings, she still remains unknown to the wider audience if not entirely forgotten by it. Cutting-edge and capacious in its aims and scope, this mostly unprecedented issue we thereby present is bilingual, just as Alberti’s writings.
There are two modes of establishing a relationship with space. One is, partly general and partly idiosyncratic, manner in which the past makes itself manifest in the present of the life of the human individual. The other is a most profound and intimate connection with a place which is possible when we begin to feel situated in a given space, i.e. when standard historical and aesthetic lines of connecting prove inadequate.
The article conjoins several interpretative perspectives. The first one focuses on Kazimiera Alberti’s volume of poetry entitled Usta Italji [The Mouth of Italy] published in the 1930s, in which Alberti unconsciously predicts her future. Her poetic excursions into Italian cities, enhanced by autothematic tropes, reveal the writerly-feminine subjectivity. What the biographical discourse delineates there is the frame for affective experiences, such as melancholy, sadness, and passion.
The paper focuses on an undercurrent analysis of social problems present in almost all Kazimiera Alberti’s work written in an interwar period. A kind of “hierarchy” of people suffering from social, economic, ethnic and gender inequality is evident in Alberti’s works. This “hierarchy” could be considered as hell circles, although a gradation of pain and misery depends on a level of social rejection, not on committed sins. Alberti puts cultural and ethnic hybrids in the deepest circle of hell – those people are perceived as others/aliens (and often not as human beings) by both (or more) cultures/communities, they are “made” from.
The paper is an attempt to analyse and interpret one of Kazimiera Alberti’s novel, The Decried Ghetto / Ghetto potępione, using new theoretical tools and methodology, i.a. Derrida’s deconstruction and feminist approach. The novel’s main character, Róża Grünszpann, not only torments herself with self-reproach and her own prejudices towards ethnic group, she came from – she also struggles with gender perception. These three factors are inseparably connected. Hence, Róża – by helping people from her childhood home, the ghetto – tries to manage her own fears, repulsion and identity issues.