The article sketches “a personal genealogy” of Wanda Wasilewska (1905-1964): a writer, a devoted communist, and head of Związek Patriotów Polskich (Union of Polish Patriots) in the USSR during World War II. Referring to Michel Foucault’s lectures on “revolution which becomes an existential project,” the author frames Wasilewska neither as a communist icon nor as a symbol of national betrayal, but instead as a living human being, a social actor, a person strongly embedded in the historical and geopolitical context of her era. The author reconstructs the process of shaping the communist identity in prewar Poland, points to the moments of transgressing subsequent boundaries—gender, national, and class—and uncovers a gradual exploring of the limits of the communist transgression by the protagonist.
Agnieszka Mrozik is researcher at the Institute of Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences. She holds a PhD in literary studies and an MA in American studies. She is a lecturer on postgraduate gender studies at IBL PAN. She is a member of the editorial staff of the sociocultural quarterly Bez Dogmatu (Without Dogma). She recently published the book Akuszerki transformacji: Kobiety, literatura i władza w Polsce po 1989 roku (Midwives of transformation: Women, literature, and power in Poland after 1989) (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo IBL PAN, 2012). She is currently working on the project “Communist Women in Pre- and Postwar Poland (History, Biography, Literature).” E-mail: email@example.com