Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The Silken Thread: Pawel Huelle's Amicable Polemic with the Catholic Church in Poland


Modern Languages & Literatures


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



In Pawel Huelle's fiction, the autobiographical narrator exhibits a love-hate relationship with the Catholic Church, especially with the Resurrection Fathers. Since most of the stories take place in GdaDsk (Danzig), a city with a twentieth century split personality, the question of national identity frequently arises in Huelle's fiction. The Partitions of Poland (1772-1919) also bring up the idea of "Polishness" that logically permeates Huelle's investigations of national cultural identity. During the partitions, the Congregation of the Resurrection came into being to preserve the history, culture, and language of Poland. Therefore, Huelle cannot totally reject the Church even though he abhors its current ultra-conservatism. In a recent interview, Huelle affirms his faith in God, Jesus, and Scripture but denounces the interference of the Church in Poland. Huelle may reject the hierarchy of the Church, but always returns to the lessons he learned from the Resurrection Fathers in order to grapple with questions of morality, humanity, and justice that torment his soul. He retains a love for the lessons and events of Holy Scripture, a tendency most evident in the title of his last novel, The Last Supper, in which he describes how an artist/friend recreated DaVinci's painting with thirteen other friends. However, no one can take the place of Jesus because the artist can find no holy men in present-day Poland, especially in the ranks of the Church. Yet the silken thread that ties Pawel eternally to the Church proves stronger than the chains of contemporary secularization he wants to embrace.

Conference Name

Louisville Conference on Literature After 1900

Conference Location

Louisville, KY; University of Louisville

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