Between East and West: Karol Irzykowski’s The Tenth Muse (1924) and the Cultural Politics of Early Polish Film Theory


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies


Committee on Cinema and Media Studies


Karol Irzykowski’s seminal text on film theory, The Tenth Muse, is considered the greatest achievement of early Polish film theory and, paradoxically, one of the most neglected texts in the field of film studies. The purpose of my project is to rectify this situation by offering the first comprehensive English language analysis of Irzykowski’s work in its cultural context and the first English translation of key sections of The Tenth Muse. The text offers far-reaching considerations of aesthetic and cultural issues raised by cinema, including the impact of cinema on early twentieth century Polish national identities and post-war state building. Irzykowski rejects Western European and Soviet theories and instead elaborates a Polish, or more broadly, Central European, cultural politics.