Andrzej Brylak is a Postdoctoral Scholar teaching Polish language, literature and culture. His primary field of research is Polish and Eastern European modernity, especially in the post-WW2 context. He is currently working on a book titled Leo Lipski: Expression, Excrement, Existence in which he examines the prose of the Polish/Israeli writer whose postwar subject turns the main mode of existence from the disintegrated carnality to reconstructed textuality. Andrzej Brylak’s research focuses on Interwar Poland, Stalinist Gulag, and Modern Israel and employs discourses such as biopolitics, Jewish and Christian theology, disability studies, and psychoanalysis. He is also interested in Polish and Eastern European modernization projects and their representations in film, theater, and architecture, as well as the impact the recent migration waves to Poland have on Polish language.
- Ph.D. Slavic Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, 7/2020
- M.A. Jewish Studies, Jagiellonian University, 7/2013
- B.A. Jewish Studies, Jagiellonian University, 6/2011
Summary Statement of Research Interests
My research focuses on the life and work of Polish/Israeli writer Leo Lipski (1917-1997), whose multilayered and often conflicted identity––as a disabled person, a Jew, a Pole, an Israeli, an immigrant, a prisoner of the Gulag, and an intellectual––yields a peculiar literary output. Rooted in his tragic experiences with successive political projects that included interwar Polish authoritarianism, Nazism, Stalinism, and Zionism, Lipski’s prose offers a complex analysis of late-phase European Modernity. In my book, I analyze modernity as a period in which the human body became the focus of unprecedented attention from political institutions and regimes, while biological life advanced to the forefront of regulations, policies, and mechanisms of repression imposed by the modern state. I argue that Leo Lipski’s prose––written mostly in the 1950s––vividly renders modernity reaching its late stage, concurrent as it was with twentieth-century totalitarian projects in which the human body loses its singularity and individual value to become, instead, a mere vehicle for ideological, political, and collective pursuits. In the aftermath of the twentieth century’s atrocities, the human body in Lipski’s texts, once a central political concern, radically disintegrates and depreciates. In this undoing and disabling of the human body (a process foregrounded in Lipski’s work and life), modernity experiences its own undoing, as the focal point of its project––biological life––is consistently negated. I view Lipski’s intellectual and artistic project as an attempt to turn the main mode of existence of the postwar subject from disintegrated carnality into reconstructed textuality––a process I have dubbed “literary surrogacy.” This phenomenon springs from Lipski’s conviction that literary expression can be treated as an ontological exercise granting new vessels of existence.
Polish modernism, biopolitics, Jewish and Christian theology, medical humanities, disability studies, Gulag writings, post-WWII Polish-Jewish history and culture, Polish literature in Israel and Polish émigré literature, psychoanalysis, totalitarianism studies, Polish and Eastern European film and theater, Polish language teaching.
- Brylak, A. (2023). “The Collective Constipation of The Polish/Israeli Subject—Lipski, Levin, Warlikowski”. Polish Literature as World Literature, New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
- Brylak, A. (2023). “Post-Holocaust Transubstantiation and Perverted Catholicism of Leo Lipski”. Warsaw: University of Warsaw Academic Press.
- Brylak, A. (2022). “Abyss of the See Where People Are Dying…or Not’—Forms of Disappearing in Leo Lipski Prose”. Archiwum Emigracji. ((1)30)