The canon on the shrink’s couch, or the therapies of Polishness

Researchers of literature and history often use psychoanalytical tools. In this way, they try to understand a text, its historical process, and even the condition of a selected social group. They make a hypothetical diagnosis and prove it by finding evidence in the available material. This analytical reflex may be illustrated by a single denial, splitting, and sometimes entire personality structures or relational collisions in which the participants of cultural, historical, and political disputes get involved.

In his book Meaning and Melancholia, Christopher Bolls undertook a psychoanalysis of civilization. He writes about the collision of conservatism and anti-globalization through the prism of a fragmented self, various syndromes, and paranoia. This vision is both simplifying and gripping. Our appetite is smaller. We are intrigued by observations, analyses, and diagnoses that can be made of Polish culture by psychoanalytically reading the texts that are considered canonical. Our field of research is cultural artifacts, which form what we used to call the Polish identity. What will be revealed by an analysis of the behavior, characters, and relationships developed by the figures who implicate canonical patterns or models of Polishness? Will it be a psychotic, delusional, manic-narcissistic, borderline or neurotic structure? Perhaps none of them. We do not know where we will end up lying down on the shrink’s couch with the texts.

Therapy is clearly associated with psychoanalysis, and more broadly, with psychotherapy. We are interested in interpretations based on various psychotherapeutic trends arising from the classical thought of Freud; those that deepen it, deconstruct it, constantly enter into a discussion with it, or combine it with other methods of understanding experiences and histories transformed into stories. We refer to a psychotherapeutic practice, but we do not expect that, as authors, we will sit in the therapist’s chair.

On the contrary. Our interpretations will tell us more about ourselves than about the canonical texts. We will include our observations and projections in it. The analysis will thus be an image of our relationship with the text, with the canon, or with authority. This is the main and most intriguing paradox to which the planned issue is dedicated. In this way, we will try to answer the question of who we can be and who we are in the structure of the canon of Polishness.

Please send submissions by April 30, 2021, to

The text should be under 24,000 characters (including footnotes and works cited) and comply with the MLA 8 citation/footnotes standards. Please include a scholarly biographical note (500-800 characters), your affiliation, ORCID, a list of works cited, and an abstract with keywords.

Note: not all texts must be scholarly, we are also interested in interviews or essays –– such texts will not be subject to the scholarly review process, but will be evaluated by the editors. We will also accept several scholarly reviews of the most recent books related to the topic.

Lead editors: Aleksandra Krukowska, Maciej Duda