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Visions of the future in the writings of Stanisław Lem
thesisposted on 30.11.2017, 04:51 by Lech Keller
The main argument of this thesis is that Lem is a political writer. A related argument is that Lem is known in his parts rather than for the breadth of his writing. Lem is firstly a writer of political utopias such as Astronauci and metaphorical political books such as Cyberiada where he frequently utilises humor in order to disguise the political contents, as well as an author of theoretical works such as Disalogi, which contain very important analyses of politics and political science plus strictly political essays, such as published in Parisian Kultura or Tygodnik Powszechny. Until the late 1980s the majority of Polish critics largely denied that Lem was a political writer. For example Andrzej Stoff strongly rejected even a possibility of reading Lem's Eden as a political novel. Antoni Smuszkiewicz in his recent publications repeats his earlier opinion that nothing allows us to read Eden as a political novel. Smuszkiewicz and Stoff strongly argue that Lem is not a political writer, and even those who find important political elements in Lem's output (such as Jarzebski) treat them as rather marginal. I go somewhat further: I argue that politics is not a secondary trait of Lem's writings, but a major feature, a kind of well-hidden skeleton. Virtually all of Lem's important works can be read as political, even such 'metaphysical' novels as Solaris, or stories from Bajki robotow, which are frequently, and quite incorrectly, classified as 'children's literature'. Furthermore, as Lem spent the great majority of his life in Poland, his evolution as a writer can be closely correlated to the political history of his country.