2019 AATSEEL prize for best edited volume

American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages

Congratulations to Professor and CDTPS Director Tamara Trojanowska on receiving the 2019 AATSEEL prize for best edited volume!

Being Poland: A New History of Polish Literature and Culture since 1918. Edited by Tamara Trojanowska, Joanna Niżyńska, and Przemysław Czapliński, with the assistance of Agnieszka Polakowska (University of Toronto Press, 2018). 

The official rationale:

For the first time in AATSEEL’s history we are recognizing the best edited collection in Slavic Studies. And no book could inaugurate the award more stunningly than this year’s winner: Being Poland, edited by Tamara Trojanowska, Joanna Niżyńska, and Przemysław Czapliński, with the assistance of Agnieszka Polakowska.

The assets of this volume, published by University of Toronto Press in 2018, are multiple and diverse. First, it is excellently conceived and organized: the book covers more than two centuries, yet within the basically chronological order of entries the topics are well delineated and easily identified in the list of contents. Second, the editors have included cultural categories that standard ‘surveys’ normally exclude: cabaret, comics, philosophy, mass media, popular culture, translation, and genres such as essays and diaries. These complement an outstanding array of articles on more traditional topics and cultural forms. In general, the range of entries is staggering, from Stanisław Lem, Dorota Kędzierzawska, and Kazimierz Krukowski to Jerzy Grotowski, Czesław Miłosz, and Olga Tokarczuk (before she was named the Novel Prizewinner!). And many of the entries are boldly interpretive, utterly compelling in argumentation buttressed by ample data as well as imagination. Third, the editors managed to attract contributors who are the premier scholars on the relevant topics within Polish culture, tapping into specialists in Canada, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Poland, Switzerland, the U.K., and the U.S.—in short, a veritable U.N. of Polonists! Anyone reading this collection will appreciate numerous aspects of Polish culture that previously passed under the scholarly radar and will perceive sundry facets of Poland’s rich traditions in a productively new light.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime volume—a publication for the ages—originally conceptualized and impressively executed. It sets almost impossibly high standards for future edited collections. We wholeheartedly congratulate and thank the editors of Being Poland, as well as its contributors, for a book that is huge, not only in its length of 800-plus pages, but also in its exceptional quality. Bravi!