Angelus 2010

György Spiró – the winner of the Wroclaw Angelus Central European Literature Award for 2009 the Jury of the Central European Literature Award composed of: Natalya Gorbanevskaya – chairwoman of the Jury, professor Stanisław Bereś, Piotr Kępiński, professor Julian Kornhauser, Ryszard Krynicki, Tomasz Łubieński, Krzysztof Masłoń, Justyna Sobolewska, Mirosław Spychalski and professor Andrzej Zawada – members of the Jury, decided to grant the 2010 Angelus Award for the best book in prose published in Poland in the preceding year to György Spiró for the novel "Mesjasze" (“Messiahs”). Elżbieta Cygielska received the award for the translator.

Wroclaw, 4 December 2010

György Spiró Mesjasze (Messiahs) Publishing House: W.A.B. Translation: Elżbieta Cygielska   Angelus for "Mesjasze" (Messiahs) György Spiró   This year, the Jury of the Central European Literature Award appreciated the novel “Mesjasze” (Messiahs”) (WAB) by György Spiró, and Elżbieta Cygielska received the award for the translator. It is a great achievement that the Hungarian writer, who dedicated majority of his works to the Polish culture, received the Award in Wroclaw. Especially that “Mesjasze” (“Messiahs”) is an important book for us. Despite the fact that it describes Towiański disciples and the Polish emigration in Paris, this year it became even up-to-date – it has been frequently referred to in discussions about the Polish identity. It is due to the fact that Spiró described with great care, and at the same time with a great dose of irony the laboratory of messiah’s ideas and the Polish patriotism. This year, the subject of the Great Emigration returned in the well- known spectacle “Klub Polski” (“The Polish Club”) by Paweł Miśkiewicz in the Teatr Dramatyczny in Warsaw. The crime novel “Jul” by Paweł Goźliński also describes the Circle of God’s Case and emigrants in Paris. However, the book “Mesiasze” (“Messiahs”) present this milieu to the fullest degree and with the utmost care; their hopelessness was so deep that they would believe in any idea. Already during his studies, Spiró became fascinated with the Polish culture. He wrote the novel “Iksowie”(“The X-s”) – about the father of the Polish National Theatre, Wojciech Bogusławski. The spectacle “Szalbierz” (“The Impostor”) was developed based on the novel; it is performed also in Poland. However, it turned out that the author was forced to pay a high price for focusing the Polish case. In mid 80s, in Hungarian and Polish press, he was attacked by Jerzy Robert Nowak, Hungarian culture scholar, presently involved in Radio Maryja, calling him “influential, Jewish, predator of Poles”. He didn’t pay much attention to the fact, that in the opinion of Hungarians, Spiró was in love with the Polish culture. For many years afterwards the writer could not enter Poland, and in Hungary he became the target of fascists and nationalists’ attacks. Krzysztof Varga called Spiró the Polish writer writing in Hungarian. It remains a fact that Spiró knows us through and through, and in addition he can, in an interesting manner, design portraits of such personages as, for example, Mickiewicz. The Award is a great joy, because Spiró achieved something no other Polish writer attempted at nowadays – he wrote an eight hundred pages long novel about Towianism at the same time describing the human need of faith and susceptibility to manipulation. He also presents the manner in which Poles at that time (and also nowadays) construe their identity. It is exactly the preceding year which made us see how the romantic thinking about the nation and Polish identity, even the messiah’s ideas, is deeply rooted in Poles. And how easily they come back and seduce us.   Justyna Sobolewska   Source of the text: www.polityka.pl