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To mark the 160th anniversary of the author’s birth we presented his biography and works in three Russian cities: Moscow, Orenburg and Kaliningrad.

About the festival
2017 was pronounced the year of Joseph Conrad Korzeniowski in Poland on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the author`s birth. ‘Wspieram’ Foundation organized The Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski Festival, which was held at the ‘Illusion’ cinema in Moscow from May 25th to June 1st, 2017. The autumn edition of the Festival spread and widened, involving Kaliningrad and Orenburg. The project was a crucial point in the calendar of the events commemorating and propagating the creativity and iconic personality of Joseph Conrad.

The Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski Festival aimed to restore remembrance, promote and widen knowledge among Russians about one of the most esteemed writers in the world. Conrad`s works convey a universal message which is lucid to readers all over the globe. This personage is close to the hearts of literature lovers not only in Poland - Conrad’s homeland, England, where he created, but also across the whole Europe. ‘Heart of Darkness’, ‘Lord Jim’, ‘Nostromo’, ‘The Secret Agent’, are just some of Joseph Conrad`s titles that bring up both global civilization problems and individual day-to-day issues. Due to the universality and multifaceted nature of Conrad`s works, they have a timeless influence on contemporary literature and will forever remain relevant to their audience.
The Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski Festival will be a unique open platform for the exchange of thoughts, sharing experiences and views of Polish and Russian writers, filmmakers, historians, artists and all participants of the project. We presented documentary and feature films dedicated to the author’s life and creativity. The nineteenth-century poet patronized at our Festival not only film screenings and TV theatre shows, but also discussion panels, lectures, exhibitions and concerts.
During the opening ceremony of the Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski Festival in Moscow, which was held on May 25, the invited guests had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the classical music performed by Andrei Zabavnikov and Yelizaveta Karaulova, young Russian musicians. In the first part of the concert the duo played the most famous pieces by Chopin and Shimanovsky (romantic classics). In the second part, the viewers listened to masterpieces by Paganini, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Kreisler and Elgar, as well as the film music referring to the nineteenth century, which was when Joseph Conrad lived and worked.
The project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The programme featured 12 films:
1. ‘HER RETURN’, dir. Witold Orzechowski, feature film, Poland, 1975, 63 min
2. ‘ONE DAY MORE’, dir. Dariusz Gajewski, Poland, 1990, 8 min
3. ‘ONE DAY MORE’, dir. Bogdan Hussakowski, musical, Poland, 1973, 50 min
4. ‘THE CONSPIRATORS’, dir. Zygmunt Hubner, Poland, 1986, 107 min
5. ‘CARACAS’, dir. Anna Blaszczyk, animation, 2006, 9 min (12+)
6. ‘CONRAD’, dir. Tomasz Kaminski, Poland, 1994, 45 min (16+)
7. ‘CONRAD. THE MASTER OF WORDS AND SAILING’, dir. Bohdan Raczkowski, Poland, 2017, 35 min
8. ‘A REPETITION FROM CONRAD’, dir. Filip Bajon, Poland, 1991, 46 min (16+)
9. ‘LORD JIM’, dir. Laco Adamik, TV show, 2002, 83 min
10. ‘THE SECRET AGENT’, dir. Krzysztof Zaleski, TV show, 2005, 69 min (16+)
11. ‘THE SHADOW LINE’, dir. Andrzej Wajda, psychological drama, Poland, Great Britain, 1976, 100 min (16+)
12. ‘I, WHO HAVE THE DOUBLE LIFE, OR THE DILEMMA OF JOSEPH CONRAD’, dir. Lucyna Smolinska, Mieczyslaw Sroka, 1988, 57min + 72min + 59min


Monika Majewska - MA in Russian Philology, MA in English Philology, author of the doctoral dissertation entitled ‘Dostoyevsky in Conrad`s political works’. Research and didactic employee at The Centre for Conrad Studies, Institute of Modern Languages and Literature at the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin. She gave lectures on the Russian and Polish contexts of Conrad`s work at international scientific conferences held in Poland, Sweden, Great Britain, France, Ukraine and Slovakia. Her scientific articles have been published in the volumes 8, 13, 19 and 22 of the ‘Conrad: Eastern and Western Perspectives’ series, edited by Wieslaw Krajka; the series is published by UMCS Lublin Publishing House, distributed by Columbia University Press, New York. She is also the author of scientific translations published in volumes 1 and 2 of the ‘Joseph Conrad and Poland, Central and Eastern Europe and the World’ series, under the same scientific editor. Co-organizer of three international Joseph Conrad conferences at The Maria Curie-Sklodowska University.

Anna Marta Szczepan-Wojnarska, PhD with ‘habilitation’, associate professor in literature studies at Cardinal Wyszynski University in Warsaw (UKSW). Books published: ‘…you will get married to a fire’ J. Liebert The Experience of Transcendence in the Life and the Works of Jerzy Liebert Universitas, Krakow 2003, ‘To Forgive God’ a Figure of Job in the Literature related to WWII, Universitas, Krakow 2008. Edited books: ‘The biblical Job. Job present in culture’ UKSW Publishing House, Warsaw 2010 (with P. Mitzner), ‘Poetry Translation - Negotiating of Imagination’. UKSW Publishing House, Warsaw 2014 and ‘Affective heritage and the Politics of Memory’ (with E. Wichrowska, R. Sendyka and R. Nycz), IBL Publishing House, Warsaw 2015. Research interests: transcultural dimension of literature, interfaith relations, translation theory, the prose of Joseph Conrad, the poetry of 20th-21st century.

Monika Malessa-Drohomirecka completed her doctoral studies at the Faculty of Polish Studies of the Jagiellonian University. She gained a PhD in humanities in literature studies. She has cooperated with the editorial offices of ‘Nowe Książki’ and ‘Topos’ for many years. Furthemore, she has published texts in ‘Midrasz’, ‘Tygodnik Powszechny’, ‘Ruch Literacki’, ‘Zeszyty Filosophiczne’. Monika Malessa-Drohomirecka is the author of literary lectures devoted to the works of Joseph Conrad and other writers of the first half of the 20th century. For five years she was a curator at the Joseph Conrad Center at the Faculty of Polish Studies of the Jagiellonian University. He is a member of the Polish Joseph Conrad Society.
The author of a collection of interpretations of Polish 20th century literature selected works entitled: W poszukiwaniu prawdy o człowieku (In Search of the Truth on a Human). Currently, her book ‘Conventions, Stereotypes, Illusions. Women and MenRelationships in Joseph Conrad`s Prose’ is expected to be printed.

Wiktor Simakow, PhD in humanities, literary critic and journalist. Related to the Academy for the Refinement and Retraining of Educational Workers of the Russian Federation, teacher of Russian language and Russian literature. Until recently, a lecturer at the State Pedagogical University in Moscow and the State Linguistic University in Moscow. He has been publishing on ‘Afisz Daily’ and ‘Forma’ websites and in magazines such as ‘Gastronom’ or ‘Discovery’. The author of ‘Evening pictures and film interpretations’, the lecture series.

Grzegorz Szymczak (born 1974), expert in Russian literature, translator. The author of the doctoral dissertation ‘The Prose of Wiktor Pielewin in the context of Russian postmodernism’. In 2005-2016, assistant professor at the Institute of Russian Studies of the University of Warsaw. He deals with contemporary Russian culture, as well as the theory and practice of literary and audiovisual translation.


Visiting speaker: Monika Malessa-Drohomirecka, PhD
Moderator: Grzegorz Szymczak, PhD
Venue: ‘Iluzjon’ Cinema theatre, Moscow
Time: May 26 at 4:00 p.m.
The lecture addresses several issues important to Conrad: the position of a man in the world, the internal contradictions of his nature and the moral choices he makes. It also refers to the Polish origin of the writer, his dramatic story and complex identity.

Visiting speaker: Monika Majewska, PhD
Moderator: Grzegorz Szymczak, PhD
Venue: ‘Iluzjon’ Cinema theatre, Moscow
Time: May 26 at 6:30 p.m.
The speech cites Conrad`s statements about Russia, with the factors determining the writer`s attitude towards this country, as well as his comments on Russian writers (Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev). It also includes a brief overview of his image of Russians, including ‘Heart of Darkness’ and ‘Secret Agent’. Most attention is paid to the novel ‘Under Western Eyes’ - the work constitutes the most comprehensive commentary on Russia and its inhabitants written by the writer.

Visiting speaker: Anna Marta Szczepan-Wojnarska, PhD, DSc, ProfTit
Moderator: Grzegorz Szymczak, PhD
Venue: ‘Iluzjon’ Cinema theatre, Moscow
Time: May 28 at 4:00 p.m.
The protagonists of Conrad`s prose oscillate in the two dimensions: teleological causation and the deterministic causation. Undoubtedly, in this pattern we can find echoes of the discourse of the contemporary era, however the teleological causation is repeatedly discredited, whether it’s for the Kurtz`s “great plans” in the ‘Heart of Darkness’, “better times” to come after the Costaguan revolution (Nostromo), the interests of Axel Heyst (Victory), and finally the personal development of Winnie Verloc (Secret Agent). The cause-and-effect concept as an action plan turns out to be irrational, since it is constantly defenseless against the randomness of events. On the other hand, determination may be an opportunity to reveal one`s individual identity in relation to what it cannot change. According to Bertrand Russell, Conrad represents in his prose a tradition that sees the sources of discipline in a personal, internal decision, resolution, while he despises both the lack of discipline and its imposition from the outside. Only this inner decision makes discipline a tool of self-improvement and a path to freedom.

Visiting speaker: Viktor Simakov, PhD
Moderator: Artur Zaborski, journalist
Venue: ‘Iluzjon’ Cinema theatre, Moscow
Time: May 29 at 6:00 p.m.
‘The Shadow-Line: A Confession’ is an unusual film among Andrzej Wajda`s works. The script is based on marine stories by Joseph Conrad. Wajda used topics that he holds dear - the identity of a young person, personality formation, overcoming adversities, and self-exploration. Focusing on one character, the director creates a film based on internal dialogue, introspection and subjective perception of himself.

Speaker: Daniel Fogel, PhD
Venue: Library of Foreign Literature
Time: December 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Speaker: VM Tolmachev, ProfTit
Venue: Library of Foreign Literature
Time: December 12 at 6:00 p.m.

Speaker: Karol Samsel, PhD
Venue: ‘Iluzjon’ Cinema theatre
Time: December 12 at 7:00 p.m.