Colloque international

Terra incognita. Le Łódź littéraire jusqu’en 1939  – sources, personnes, travaux, institutions

Łódź, 20-21 octobre 2016

La Maison de la culture yiddish – Bibliothèque Medem coorganise avec l’université de Łódź en Pologne un colloque de deux jours intitulé Terra incognita. Le Łódź littéraire jusqu’en 1939  – sources, personnes, travaux, institutions.

Un appel à contribution est lancé.

Lien vers la page du colloque en anglais et en polonais :

International Conference

Terra incognita. Literary Łódź until 1939  – sources, people, works, institutions

Łódź, 20-21 October 2016

According to the prevailing stereotype, Łódź – the city preoccupied with gesheft and inhabited only by a small number of intelligentsia – did not provide fertile ground for the development of literature. It was confirmed by an anonymous poem, published in 1893 in a local satirical magazine, saying that literature, unlike cotton and its manufacturing process, was at that time in Łódź nobody’s serious concern. As the majority of articles and books on prewar Łódź, even until now, have described the city as a cultural and literary desert, our conference intends to deny this common belief, or, at least, bring into question its legitimacy, for the preliminary research suggests that it is hasty and unjust.

The aim of the conference is therefore to examine several aspects of literary life in Łódź from the beginning of the city’s origin to the outbreak of the Second World War. We invite papers presenting not so widely known or just forgotten literary works and authors associated with Łódź, specific places that are important for Łódź literature as well as papers investigating various sources, often minor or disseminated, that may prove significant for the reconstruction of various images of literary Łódź. We are also interested in papers on the functioning of cultural institutions, such as the press, publishing houses, literary associations and libraries.

In comparison to other Polish cities, the literary culture in Łódź developed differently, as it was conditioned by the industrial boom with its significant social and cultural heterogeneity associated with the city being inhabited by people of different nationalities. We invite papers adopting a comparative perspective and taking into account mutual influences, inspirations and problems of cooperation among Łódź authors of different nationalities as well as the disparities between them.  We also encourage papers on the problems of multiculturalism and intermingling of Polish, Jewish, German and Russian communities of Łódź.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, we invite researchers representing different disciplines : Polish Studies, Russian Studies, German Studies, Yiddish Studies, Hebrew Studies, History, Theatre Studies, Media Studies, Sociology, Anthropology of Culture as well as archive and library workers.

We are particularly interested in presentations adopting non-canonical and challenging approaches to the subject that supplement and even significantly revise the hitherto assumed ways of describing Łódź literary tradition.


The conference “Terra incognita. Literary Łódź until 1939 – sources, people, works, institutions” is the first of the planned cycle of interdisciplinary academic sessions organized by the University of Łódź within the framework of National Programme for the Development of Humanities research project “Łódź literary culture until 1939”. It promotes the Łódź region both in Poland and abroad and encourages academic interest in Łódź culture and tradition in several research centres. Academic partners of the conference are : University of Łódź Center for Jewish Research ; the Paris Yiddish Center – Medem Library ; Russian Center for Science and Culture in Warsaw ; University of Łódź Interdisciplinary Center for Humanistic Research and the Regional Collections Division of Józef Piłsudski  Regional and Municipal Public Library in Łódź.

Planned events popularizing Łódź literature : Łódź Literature Night


Please submit Application Forms with abstracts (no longer than 2000 characters) to the following e-mail address :

Application Form is to be found here…

Your presentations should not be longer than 20 minutes. The printed versions of your papers should not exceed the limit of 40 000 characters. We reserve the right to select the topics of your presentations and papers to be published in a post-conference volume.

Conference fee is 450 PLN and includes conference materials, meals and publication of a reviewed post-conference volume. The fee does not cover the costs of transport and accommodation. We will be happy to assist conference participants in booking accommodation.

Important dates :
Submission of abstracts : 31 May 2016
Notification of acceptance : 30 June 2016
Conference date : 20-21 October 2016

Organizers :
Paris Yiddish Center- Medem Library
The Jozef Pilsudski Regional and Municipal Public Library in Lodz

Department of Literature and Culture of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, University of Łódź
Department of Russian Literature and Culture, University of Łódź
Department of Romantic Literature and Tradition, University of Łódź
Department of Positivist Literature and the Young Poland Period, University of Łódź

Scientific Committee :
dr hab. prof. UŁ Krystyna Radziszewska
dr Natalia Krynicka (Paris Yiddish Center- Medem Library)

Conference secretaries :
dr Katarzyna Badowska
dr Karolina Kołodziej

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