skip to content

Visiting scholar from University of Warsaw


In Michaelmas Term (beginning in October) 2020, Professor Paweł Stępień of the University of Warsaw will join Cambridge Polish Studies as a visiting scholar. He will give a series of lectures on Polish literature and culture across the term. He will also be a visiting scholar at Sidney Sussex College.

Professor Stępień's appointment is part of an ongoing partnership between Cambridge and the University of Warsaw, inaugurated in July 2017. This partnership saw the permanent endowment of the Polish Studies Programme at Cambridge. Scholars from the University of Warsaw will regularly visit Cambridge, and there will also be future opportunities for joint conferences and research projects. At the same time, the University of Warsaw will sponsor two Cambridge students each summer to attend an intensive course in Polish language and culture in Warsaw. 


Paweł Stępień is Professor of Literary Studies at the Faculty of "Artes Liberales” of the University of Warsaw. From 2007 to 2016, he was Rector’s Plenipotentiary for the Quality of Education at the University of Warsaw. Since 2015, he has been responsible for a double degree master’s programme “Cultural and Intellectual History Between East and West” at the Faculty of "Artes Liberales" in cooperation with University of Cologne and Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow. 

In his scholarly work, Professor Stępień has focused on Polish medieval religious literature and its ties with theology, spirituality and the theory of beauty. He has also examined the manifestations of libertinism in Polish Baroque poetry, showing how the most distinguished Polish baroque poet, Jan Andrzej Morsztyn, wove together blasphemous criticism of Christianity and courtly eroticism.

Another significant area of Professor Stępień's research is Polish poetry of the 20th century. Interpreting poems of Bolesław Leśmian, Józef Czechowicz, Czesław Miłosz, Zbigniew Herbert, he has shown how their poetry relates to the older cultural traditions of Poland and Europe. His latest book Task: "Chaskiel” by Tadeusz Różewicz (2017),  examines how one of the most famous 20th-century Polish poets, deeply rooted in avant-garde traditions, describes the destruction of Poland’s Jewish community by referencing religious poetry of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Professor Paweł Stępień, University of Warsaw.