Dr Halszka Lelen visiting the Centre for Nordic Studies in Orkney
Dr Halszka Lelen is a Polish post-doctoral researcher from the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland, and teaches English and English Literature at the Department of English Philology. She has a PhD in English literature and culture, completed at the University of Gdansk and her book H. G. Wells: The Literary Traveller in His Fantastic Short Story Machine was published in Jan 2016 by Peter Lang. She is currently visiting the Centre for Nordic Studies as part of her six-week Bednarowski Fellowship. The other four weeks are spent at the University of Aberdeen and the University of Glasgow.
The purpose of Dr Lelen’s trip is to research the literary technique in the writings of George Mackay Brown. George Mackay Brown is not recognised as a post-modern writer and he is little known outside of Scotland. He is rarely covered in contemporary British literature handbooks and criticism, and his stance as a literary figure is most ambiguous, strung between perception as a major Scottish poet and a peripheral, regional writer. The ultimate purpose of Dr Lelen’s research is to write a book on George Mackay Brown’s literary techniques, the aesthetic aspects of his works, especially the short stories but also all the other kinds of writing. In her book, Dr Lelen will argue that George Mackay Brown is a grander figure in European, and world literature than is usually acknowledged and she would like to bring him to the attention of the broader European literary awareness.
Dr Lelen’s fascination with George Mackay Brown is the continuation of her interest in the intersections between literature, philosophy and storytelling, seen for example in the writings of H. G. Wells. In the long run, her dream is to develop an international project called the Fairy-Tale Fish Project focusing on the shared values and techniques in European regional storytelling in the local communities traditionally rooted in fishing, like Orkney or Warmia in Poland.