Testaments: Two Novellas Of Emigration and Exile
Written by Danuta Mostwin
Translated from the Polish by Marta Erdman and Nina Dyke
Introduction by Joanna Rostropowicz Clark
Afterword by Thomas J. Napierkowski
For more than two hundred years, Polish emigres have written poignantly about the pain of exile in letters, diaries, and essays; others, more recently, have recreated Polish American communities in works of fiction. But it is Danuta Mostwin's fiction, until now unavailable in English translation, that bridges the divide between Poland and America, between exile and emigration.
Mostwin and her husband survived the ravages of World War II, traveled to Britain, and later immigrated to the United States. In her adopted country, Mostwin devoted her scholarly career to the study of immigrants trapped between two cultural worlds. Winner of many international awards for her fiction and for her theoretical work in the social sciences, Danuta Mostwin here presents two novellas translated by the late Marta Erdman and Nina Dyke, the first of her literary works to be published in English in the United States.
Deeply melancholy and moving in their unsentimental depiction of ordinary people trying to make sense of their uprooted lives, The Last Will of Blaise Twardowski and Jocasta are powerful vignettes of life in immigrant America. This timely publication provides a first look into Mostwin's work, one that will ensure that she is recognized as the creator of the most nuanced depiction of emigration and exile in Polish American literature.
"Danuta Mostwin is a freedom fighter, a humanitarian, and a social visionary who brings her triumphant experiences to these wonderful vignettes of Polish American life. In Testaments, Dr. Mostwin shows how hard it was for Polish immigrants to leave their homeland and to build new lives. Yet they brought with them the values of our heritage--faith, patriotism, justice, hard work, loyalty, community, help for those who practice self-help, and respect for others."
SENATOR BARBARA MIKULSKI
"Mostwin, an acclaimed sociologist, writer, and political emigree herself, specializes in the study of Polish immigrant families in the United States. Her fiction captures the psychological changes experienced by Polish immigrants, traces circumstances that shaped their lives, and offers philosophical reflections on their existence."
Slavic and East European Journal
DANUTA MOSTWINI emigrated to America in 1951. Mostwin has won recognition for her fiction, published in Polish in London, Paris, and Warsaw, and as a scholar studying the process of immigration adjustment. Her most acclaimed works have been her novel Ameryko! Ameryko! and her seven-volume chronicle of the drama of the Polish Intelligentsia from 1863 to the end of World War II. She lives in Baltimore.
Publishing House: Ohio University Press, Athens 2005
Softcover book measuring 6" x 9"
English Language Version
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