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British Library prepares Lem bonanza

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 01.09.2011 11:46
The British Library, London, is preparing to host a tribute to writer Stanislaw Lem under the umbrella of Poland's Presidency of the EU Council.


“Lemistry: A Celebration of Stanislaw Lem”, accompanies the launch of a book of the same title, and on 9 September, a discussion will be complemented by screenings of films based on Lem's works.

Beyond Poland's borders, Lem is best known for two adaptations of his science fiction classic Solaris.

However, the author was not exactly taken with these works, the first by earnest Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, the latter by Hollywood hotshot Stephen Soderbergh.

In Poland, Lem is celebrated as one of the wittiest novelists of the 20th century, but also as a figure of profound philosophical insight who frequently laced his futuristic fantasies with elements that appear to satirise the totalitarian regimes he survived.

The Cyberiad, his collection of “fables for the cybernetic age”, endures as one of Poland's best-loved books.

Lem was born in 1921 in the city of Lwow (today Lviv, Ukraine). Brought up in a wealthy, patriotic Polish family of assimilated Jews, his first cousin was the songwriter and cabaret legend Marian Hemar. He survived the Nazi occupation through false papers that masked his ancestry, and following the war, he settled in Krakow, after Poland's borders were shifted west by the Yalta Agreement.

Lem's works have been translated into 41 languages, making him one of Poland's most internationally successful authors.

The forthcoming tribute at the British Library will see a number of noted panellists, including John Gray, Toby Litt, Adam Roberts and Wojciech Orlinski, chaired by critic Rosie Goldsmith.

The event is being co-organised by London's Polish Cultural Institute. (nh/pg)

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