Reviews and Interviews / Contributors


  • Norman Ravvin Concordia University, Montreal
  • Sherry Simon Concordia University
  • Krzysztof Majer University of Łódź
  • Justyna Fruzińska University of Łódź
  • Agnieszka Salska University of Łódź
  • Jadwiga Maszewska University of Łódź
  • Zbigniew Maszewski University of Łódź



Norman Ravvin: A goldene medine? A Dialogue in Many Voices on Canadian Jewish Studies and Poland

This paper is an account of the conference titled Kanade, di goldene medine? Perspectives on Canadian-Jewish Literature and Culture / Perspectives sur la littérature et la culture juives canadiennes, which took place in Łódź in April, 2014 as a result of collaboration between the University of Łódź and Concordia University (Montreal). As a venue for discussing Canadian Jewish identity and its links with Poland, the conference supported a dialogue between Canadians, Polish Canadianists, and European scholars from further afield. Established and young scholars attended from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Canada, in addition to many Polish participants. The presence of scholars such as Goldie Morgentaler or Sherry Simon as well as curator Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett contributed to an examination of both past and present Canadian and Polish Jewish life and led to an examination of Polish and Canadian literature and history from a highly personal perspective. Conference-goers took advantage of the opportunity to get to know Łódź, via walking tours and a visit to the Łódź Jewish community’s Lauder-funded centre on Narutowicza. The paper aims, as well, to investigate how the history of Jewish Łódź is conveyed in the novels of Joseph Roth and Chava Rosenfarb.

The Task of Attention. Sherry Simon (Concordia University) Talks to Krzysztof Majer and Justyna Fruzińska (University of Łódź)

American Studies in Poland: A Collective Enterprise. An Interview with Agnieszka Salska by Jadwiga Maszewska and Zbigniew Maszewski (University of Łódź)


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Author Biographies

Norman Ravvin, Concordia University, Montreal

Norman Ravvin is a writer, teacher, and critic. 1999–2012 he chaired the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. His fiction publications include the novels The Joyful Child (2011) and Lola by Night (2003), as well as the story collection Sex, Skyscrapers, and Standard Yiddish (1997). His essays on Canadian and American literature appeared in A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity and Memory (1997). He is the co-editor of The Canadian Jewish Studies Reader (2004) and Failure’s Opposite: Listening to A. M. Klein (2011). His stories and non-fiction have appeared in magazines across Canada, on CBC Radio, as well as in his book Hidden Canada: An Intimate Travelogue (2002). Recent work includes the introduction to George A. Walker’s The Wordless Leonard Cohen Songbook (2014) and a chapter on Canadian Jewish writing for the Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature. He has written on such authors as Bruno Schulz, Philip Roth, and Irving Layton. He is at work on a novel set in Poland and Vancouver.

Sherry Simon, Concordia University

Sherry Simon is a professor in the French Department at Concordia University, Montreal. Among her recent publications are Translating Montreal. Episodes in the Life of a Divided City (McGill-Queen’s UP 2006; French translation: Traverser Montréal. Une histoire culturelle par la traduction. Editions Fidés, 2008) and Cities in Translation (Routledge, 2012; French translation: Villes en Traduction: Calcutta, Trieste, Barcelone, Montréal. Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 2013). She is coeditor of Changing the Terms. Translating in the Postcolonial Era (Ottawa UP, 2000), New Readings of Yiddish Montreal—Traduire le Montréal Yiddish (U of Ottawa P, 2007) and Failure’s Opposite. Listening to A. M. Klein (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2011), and editor of In Translation: Honouring Sheila Fischman (McGill-Queen’s UP, 2013). She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a member of L’Académie des lettres du Québec. She was a Killam Research Fellow (2009–11) and in 2010 she received the Prix André-Laurendeau from l’Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS).

Krzysztof Majer, University of Łódź

Krzysztof Majer is an Assistant Professor at the University of Łódź. His academic interests include contemporary Canadian fiction, North American Jewish literature and culture, and musico-literary intermediality. His doctoral dissertation, The Picaro Messiah and the Unworthy Scribe, was devoted to Mordecai Richler; he contributed to the Richler issue of Canadian Literature (2010). He has also written on Rawi Hage, Mark Anthony Jarman, Thomas Bernhard, and François Girard. With Grzegorz Kość, he co-edited Tools of Their Tools: Communications Technologies and American Cultural Practice (2009). Dr. Majer has organized several conferences, e.g., Kanade, di Goldene Medine? Perspectives on Canadian-Jewish Literature and Culture”(Łódź 2014), with Dr. Justyna Fruzińska and Prof. Norman Ravvin (Concordia University). He is also a translator of literature and criticism, e.g., Allen Ginsberg’s letters (2014) and the Kerouac / Ginsberg correspondence (2012). In 2015, he was awarded residency at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre with a project on post-millennial Canadian prose for the journal Literatura na Świecie.

Justyna Fruzińska, University of Łódź

Justyna Fruzińska holds an MA in American Literature and a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University of Łódź, Poland, where she teaches American literature, culture, and history. She is the author of Emerson Goes to the Movies: Individualism in Walt Disney Company’s Post-1989 Animated Films (Cambridge Scholars, 2014). She has published on American popular culture, Transcendentalism, and Polish poetry. She is also a published poet and translator working in Polish, English, and Hebrew.

Agnieszka Salska, University of Łódź

Agnieszka Salska is the author of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson: Poetry of the Central Consciousness (U of Pennsylvania P, 1985). She wrote the chapter on Dickinson’s letters for The Emily Dickinson Handbook (U of Massachusetts P, 1998), published numerous articles, mostly on American poetry, and is one of the authors as well as the editorin- chief of a two-volume history of twentieth-century American literature for Polish readers (Kraków: Universitas 2003). Professor Salska retired from the Department of American Literature and Culture at the Institute of English Studies, University of Łódź where she taught courses in American literature and served as Chair. She also served as President of Polish Association for American Studies from 1990 to 1996.

Jadwiga Maszewska, University of Łódź

Jadwiga Maszewska has been the head of the Department of American Literature at the University of Łódź since 2010. At the centre of her academic interests is contemporary American ethnic literature. In 1994–95 she held the fellowship of the American Council of Learned Societies with affiliation at Harvard University, and in 2004 she spent a semester at the University of Texas at El Paso on Fulbright Fellowship. She is the author of Between Center and Margin: Contemporary Native American Women Writers, Leslie Marmon Silko and Louise Erdrich. Maszewska has also published several articles on Black and Chicana/o writers, as well as on writers of the American South. Her article on Ellen Glasgow’s short stories is scheduled to appear in a post-conference volume of the 2013 Southern Studies Forum, Performing South: The U.S. South as Medium/Message. Presently her research is connected with Mexican American and Chicana/o writers: Olga Beatriz Torres, Helena Viramontes and Daniel Chacon.

Zbigniew Maszewski, University of Łódź

Zbigniew Maszewski defended his doctoral dissertation, which dealt with self-reflexive motif in the works of American Romantic authors: Poe, Melville, and Hawthorne, in 1991. Since then he has been teaching in the Department of American Literature at the University of Łódź. In 1994–95 he held the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship with affiliation at Harvard University. In 2003 he published William Faulkner and Bruno Schulz: A Comparative Study. His special areas of interest are American Romanticism and American and European literatures of the 1920s and 1930s. He has recently published on the American Southwest (an article dealing with the motif of the desert in Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop, which appeared in Visuality and Vision in American Literature, a volume which Maszewski edited), as well as on Ernest Hemingway’s letters and his novel Under Kilimanjaro. Both “Under Kilimanjaro: Homesickness for the Wild and Hemingway’s African Dressing Gown” and “‘It Is Beautiful Country Jim’: The Art of Hemingway’s Letters” came out in 2014 in Polish Journal for American Studies.


Rosenfarb, Chava. The Tree of Life. Book One: On the Brink of the Precipice, 1939. Trans. C. Rosenfarb and G. Morgentaler. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 2004. Print.
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Roth, Joseph. Hotel Savoy. 1924. Trans. Jonathan Katz. London: Hesperus, 2013. Print.
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Schulz, Bruno. Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass. 1937. Trans. C. Wieniewska. New York: Penguin, 1979. Print.
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How to Cite

Ravvin, N., Simon, S., Majer, K., Fruzińska, J., Salska, A., Maszewska, J., & Maszewski, Z. (2015). Reviews and Interviews / Contributors. Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, (5), 247-281.

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