- 'The first multicultural canon of utopian literature available in one language will be created, which will be unique in the world,' explains prof. dr hab. Artur Blaim from the Faculty of Philology of the University of Gdańsk, the head of the highest evaluated project in the competition in module Universalia 2.2 of the National Programme for the Development of the Humanities.
53 applications were submitted in the competition. Based on the recommendation of the Council of the National Programme for the Development of the Humanities, the Minister of Education and Science selected 10 best-rated projects for funding, totalling PLN 3,173,688.00. The highest grant of PLN 1,307,335 was awarded to the University of Gdańsk.
The project entitled 'The Canon of World Utopian Literature in Polish Translation' consists of the first translation into Polish, a scientific study and publication in 19 volumes and on the website of 37 major European and American utopian works written between the 17th and early 20th centuries in English, French, Latin, German and Russian.
The project is scheduled to run for five years. The volumes will be scientifically edited and translated by a team of experienced literary and cultural scholars from the University of Gdańsk, Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin, the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin and the Ignatianum Academy in Cracow.
The research and translation team of the Faculty of Philology of the University of Gdańsk was composed of: from the Institute of English and American Studies: prof. dr hab. Artur Blaim, the project manager, dr hab. Ludmiła Gruszewska-Blaim, prof. UG, dr Krzysztof Filip Rudolf; from the Institute of Russian and Eastern Studies: dr hab. Diana Oboleńska, prof. UG, dr Liliana Kalita, dr Irena Hubicka as well as dr hab. Agnieszka Haas, prof. UG from the Institute of German Studies and dr Jacek Pokrzywnicki from the Department of Classical Philology.
The team of substantive contractors will cooperate with PhD students from UG and UMCS as well as students and graduates of Translation Studies at the Institute of English and American Studies of UG. The project's scientific consultant is prof. Gregory Claeys, president of the Utopian Studies Society-Europe.
- 'The project will lead to the creation of the first multicultural canon of utopian literature available in a single language, which will be a world-scale phenomenon. The publication of 37 utopias in Polish in both traditional and online forms will enable Polish readers to familiarise themselves with descriptions of ideal states and societies created over the centuries in various cultural areas,' explains prof. dr hab. Artur Blaim, head of the project.
In his opinion, this canon will provide Polish scholars of utopian literature with an opportunity to verify their previous research findings (usually limited to a narrow circle of texts from one cultural area) and to quote from professional translations.
- 'The publication of several dozen utopian works in Polish will benefit not only literary and cultural studies scholars,' - emphasises prof. dr hab. Artur Blaim. - 'Research on depictions of better/ideal states and societies is interdisciplinary: utopian literature is referred to by researchers from social sciences, ecologists, historians, lawyers, film scholars, art historians, architects, theologians, musicologists, geographers dealing with spatial representations, etc., which additionally broadens the scope of impact of publications resulting from the project,' - he adds.
According to prof. dr hab. Artur Blaim, literary descriptions of functioning mechanisms of ideal/better societies contained in utopias (and, indirectly, anti-utopias) shape pro-social attitudes of readers and make them sensitive to the surrounding world, which makes making these texts available not only a scientific but also a socially important issue.
Prof. dr hab. Artur Blaim is an employee of the Department of English Translation Studies, Institute of English and American Studies at the University of Gdańsk, a member of the Academia Europea and the board of the Utopian Studies Society (Europe), and the author and scientific editor of more than 20 books on utopian studies, cultural semiotics and the works of William Shakespeare, among others Gazing in Useless Wonder. English Utopian Fictions 1516-1800, Peter Lang, Oxford 2013, Robinson Crusoe and His Doubles. Peter Lang. Frankfurt am Main 2016, Utopian Visions and Revisions. Peter Lang. Frankfurt am Main 2017, a special issue of Utopian Studies titled 'Solidarity and Utopia' and 2 volumes in the series Bibliotheca Utopiana: English Utopia of the Enlightenment Period. An Anthology. UG Publishing House, Gdańsk 2018 [introduction and academic co-editor] and Simon Berington. Memoirs of Gaudentia di Lucca. UG Publishing House, Gdańsk 2020 [introduction and academic co-editor]. Co-editor of two academic publishing series: Mediated Fictions. Studies in Verbal and Visual Narratives in Peter Lang's foreign publishing house and Bibliotheca Utopianaw UG Publishing House.