Problems with Identity. On the Margin of The Incredibile Slavs
PORÓWNANIA 5 (2008)
The article presents a discussion with the attempt of matching the postcolonial theory with the history of the Central European nations presented by Maria Janion in The Incredible Slavs. The author warns against an automatic transferring of exotic methodologies onto native literary and culture ground, while accusing the romantic researcher with anachronism: she agrees neither with locating the origins of Slavic complexes in the times of Christianisation of this part of Europe nor with the trauma that results from the separation from the pagan/proto-slavic roots postulated by the author. She also claims that the author of The Incredible Slavs unconsciously succumbs to the empire that imposes victimisation discourse to the colonised because she analyses medieval history of Poland through the prism of romantic literature which is naturally dominated by ressentiment. She also repeats the view that the Foreign and the Imposed identity is the source of all misfortunes. In the opinion of the author the colonial discourse in Said’s terms could only be born on the grounds of Renaissance – owing to the notion of national identity consolidated at that time. The evidence – Janion’s problems with indicating that prenational identity: at one point these are the proto-Slavic customs – in other contexts – the non-Latin Christian identity. Furthermore, the author raises questions as far as the notion of Slavism itself is concerned, which due to a tribal connotation is characterised on its own as colonial or panslavic (so imperial, Russian).