prof. dr hab. Barbara Kowalik

Deparment of British Literature

full professor

Room number: 2.245

Phone: +48 (22) 5531415


  Office hours: Winter semester 2023/24
Feb. 7 - 11.30-13.30
prof. dr hab. Barbara Kowalik


M.A., Maria Curie-Skłodowska University of Lublin, 1980

Ph.D., University of Lodz, 1989

Associate Professor, University of Warsaw, 2003

Full Professor, 2012

Research interests and projects

  • Medieval studies: medieval English literature, medievalism, medieval motifs in modern fantasy
  • Women writers (Barbara Pym, Jane Austen, underrated writers, Polish American writers)
  • Representations of space and time in literature
  • Literature vs. religion, philosophy, and education
  • Literary theory (Bakhtinian dialogism, R. Girard’s theory of mimetic desire)
  • Translation and comparative studies

Selected publications


Betwixt engelaunde and englene londe: Dialogic Poetics in Early English Religious Lyric, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010 [256 stron]

A Woman's Pastoral. Dialogue with Literary Tradition in Barbara Pym's Fiction. Lublin: Maria Curie-Skłodowska Univeristy Press, 2002. [329 stron]

From Circle to Tangle: Space in the Poems of the Pearl Manuscript. Lublin: Curie-Skłodowska Univeristy Press, 1997. [116 stron]

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Interpretations of British Literature No. 11. Gdańsk: Wyd. Gdańskie, 1996. [52 strony]

Pearl. Interpretations of British Literature No. 5. Gdańsk: Wyd. Gdańskie, 1994. [43 strony]

Edited volumes

O, What a Tangled Web’: Tolkien and Medieval Literature. A View from Poland. Zurich – Jena: Walking Tree Publishers, 2013.[196 stron]

Acta Philologica (Wydz. Neofilologii UW) – redakcja tomów czasopisma w latach 2008-16.


Córka kata – pierwszy wielki sukces Hanki Ordonówny”, Akcent. Literatura i sztuka. Kwartalnik (Lublin) 4 (2018): 152-63.

„Mit skarbu według J. R. R. Tolkiena w świetle jego przekładu Beowulfa”, Acta Neophilologica (Wyd. UWM, Olsztyn) XVIII/1 (2016): 97-110.

„The Corn-Hero Myth in Beowulf, The Seafarer, and Tolkien’s King Sheave”, Kwartalnik Neofilologiczny (PAN, Warszawa) LXIII/3 (2016): 281-92.

„Z kart warszawskiej neofilologii: dwieście lat i dobry początek”, Acta Philologica (Wydz. Neofilologii UW) 49 (2016): 7-28.

The whole green theatre of that swift and inexplicable tragedy: Gardens in G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown Stories”, Anglica (U. of Warsaw Press) 24/1 (2015): 19-40.

Eros and Pilgrimage in Chaucer’s and Shakespeare’s Poetry”, Text Matters. A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture 2013/3: 27-41.

We make our wealth our god and turn our souls to paupers: images and symbolism of poverty and prosperity in Robert Henryson’s Fables”, Medieval English Mirror (Peter Lang) 9 (2013): 99-108.

„Inklings of Afterlife: Images of Hell in C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce and Charles Williams’s Et in sempiternum pereant”, Medieval English Mirror (Peter Lang) 7 (2010): 77-91.

„The Inner and the Outer in Medieval English Verse”, Acta Philologica (Wydz. Neofilologii UW) 37 (2010/1): 11-20.

„Hanna Malewska the Medievalist”, Acta Philologica (Wydz. Neofilologii UW) 35 (2009): 7- 12.

„Mary as Anglo-Saxon Dryhtin and Norman patroness: a fusion of cultural and literary influences in On god ureisun of ure lefdy”, Medieval English Mirror (Peter Lang) 4 (2008): 105-118.

„Transgressing Genre and Gender Conventions in Goe, lytyll byll”, The New Review: an International Journal of British Studies Issue Two (2008): 9-22.

„Arthurian Motifs in the Poetry of Edwin Muir: Enchantment and Madness”, Acta Philologica (Wydz. Neofilologii UW) 33/2007:136-145.

„Edwin Muir's Medievalism”, Anglica (U. of Warsaw Press) 2007: 11-24.

„A Popular Code for the Annunciation in Medieval English Lyrics”, Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 42 (2006): 477-499.

„Mimetic Desire in William Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII”, Zeszyty Wszechnicy Świętokrzyskiej 1/23 (2006): 41-51.

„Reviving Christian and Druid Ideals in St Erkenwald”, Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 41 (2005): 225-35.

Judas and Other Middle English Religious Ballads: Towards Reconstructing a Genre and Deconstructing a Stereotype”, Acta Philologica (Wydz. Neofilologii UW) 31 (2005): 33-41.

„Addressing God in Middle English Lyrics”, Medieval English Mirror (Peter Lang)1 (2004): 149-59.

„Cztery Marchewki i strucla z makiem”, Akcent. Literatura i sztuka. Kwartalnik (Lublin) 79-80/1-2 (2000): 208-211.

„Gender in the Language of Literary Criticism in English and Polish”, Essays in Poetics 23 (1998): 181-92.

„Nie wszystko na sprzedaż”, Akcent. Literatura i sztuka. Kwartalnik (Lublin) 68/2 (1997): 68-73.

„Late-Medieval Literary Theory in the Light of Some Modern Literary Concepts”, Zagadnienia Rodzajów Literackich (Wrocław: Ossolineum) 33/1 (1992): 71-102.

Artistry and Christianity in Pearl”, REAL: The Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature(De Gruyter)4 (1984): 1-34.

„The Vision of New Innocence in William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience”, Folia Societatis Scientiarum Lublinensis 26/1 (1984): 39-46.

Chapters in edited volumes

„Translating Malory: The case of modern English and Polish”, Essays and Studies in Middle English, ed. J. Fisiak, M. Bator, M. Sylwanowicz. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2017. 299-315.

„Justice and Mercy, Action and Contemplation in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Leaf by Niggle”, Studies in English Literature and Culture, ed. A. Kędra-Kardela, A. Kędzierska, M. Pypeć. M. Curie-Skłodowska University Press, 2017. 139-44.

„Foreignness in Katherine Mansfield’s Bliss and Other Stories”, Exploring History: British Culture and Society 1700 to the Present, ed. L. Krawczyk-Żywko. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2015. 75-89.

„Dickens and Prus: A Comparison of Great Expectations and The Sins of Childhood”, Reflections on/of Dickens, ed. E. Kujawska-Lis, A. Łaskarzewska-Krawczyk. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2014, 146-56.

„Negative Capability and the Mystical via negativa in John Keats’s Darkness Sonnet and Four Odes”, From Queen Anne to Queen Victoria. Readings in 18th and 19th century British literature and culture, ed. G. Bystydzieńska, E. Harris. Warszawa: OSB UW, 2014. 283-94.

„Animals as Signs for Societies and Rulers: a Comparison of Robert Henryson and Biernat of Lublin, with Reference to Geoffrey Chaucer”, Scotland in Europe, Europe in Scotland: Links – Dialogues – Analogies, ed. A. Korzeniowska, I. Szymańska. Warszawa: Semper, 2013. 185-96.

“Who painted the mouse and who the vixen? Female animals in fables by Robert Henryson and Biernat of Lublin”, Explorations in the English Language: Middle Ages and Beyond, ed. J. Esquibel, A. Wojtyś. Frankfurt am Mein: Peter Lang, 2012, 279-94.

„Quotidian Heroism in Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry”, The Lives of Texts. Exploring the Metaphor, ed. K. Pisarska, A. S. Kowalczyk. New Castle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2012. 37-47.

“Envy in Athelston”, PASE Studies in Literature and Culture, ed. M. Cieślak, A. Rasmus. Łódź: Łódź University Press, 2008. 187-96.

„An Excellent Woman as Fool. A Bakhtinian Reading of Barbara Pym's Fiction”. Approaches to Fiction, ed. G. Bystydzieńska. Warszawa: Department of English Literature, U. of Warsaw, 2004. 115-26.

„Motywy eklezjalne i religijne w powieściach Barbary Pym”. Z Bogiem przez wieki: inspiracje i motywy religijne w literaturze polskiej i literaturach zachodnioeuropejskich XIX i XX w., red. P. Żbikowski. Rzeszów: Wyd. WSP, 1998. 393- 401.

„Traces of Romance Textual Poetics in the Non-Romance Works Ascribed to the Gawain-Poet”. From Medieval to Medievalism. Ed. John Simons. London: Macmillan, 1992. 41-53.


Mediaevistik 26 (2013): 473-75. [Tison Pugh, An Introduction to Geoffrey Chaucer. New Perspectives on Medieval Literature, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2013.]

„Twórczość polskich Amerykanek”, Akcent. Literatura i sztuka. Kwartalnik (Lublin) 77-8/3-4 (1999): 193-201. [Thomas S. Gladsky, Rita H. Gladsky, Something of My Very Own to Say: American Women Writers of Polish Descent,Columbia University Press, 1997.]

„Wysiłek antologisty”, Kresy: kwartalnik literacki 2 (1996): 174-78. [Michael M. Mikos, Polish Literature from the Middle Ages to the End of the 18th Century. A Bilingual Anthology.]

„Miłosz mizoginista?”, Akcent. Literatura i sztuka. Kwartalnik (Lublin)59/1 (1995): 12-19.

Zagadnienia Rodzajów Literackich 32/2 (1991), 111-15. [Eugene Vance, From Topic to Tale. Logic and Narrativity in the Middle Ages,Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.]

Pamiętnik Literacki, 77/3 (1987): 349-54. [Alastair J. Minnis, Medieval Theory of Authorship. Scholastic Literary Attitudes in the Later Middle Ages, London: Scolar Press, 1984.]

Pamiętnik Literacki 71/2 (1980): 249-67. [Barbara H. Smith, On the Margins of Discourse. The Relation of Literature to Language, Chicago-London: The University of Chicago Press, 1978.]


Floyd McClung, Jr. Ojcowskie serce Boga. Kraków: Towarzystwo Krzewienia Etyki Chrześcijańskiej, 1988.

Theodosia S. Robertson, „Bruno Schulz i komedia". Bruno Schulz in memoriam,red. M. Kitowska-Łysiak. Lublin: Fis, 1992. 101-08.

Barbara H. Smith, „Poezja jako fikcja”, Pamiętnik Literacki 74/3 (1983): 321-45.

Rosemond Tuve, „Naśladowanie i obrazy”, Pamiętnik Literacki, 73/3-4 (1982): 345-67.

Rosemond Tuve, „Kryterium skuteczności retorycznej”, Pamiętnik Literacki 73/3-4 (1982): 369-79.

Richard Ohmann, „Literatura jako akt”, Pamiętnik Literacki 71/2 (1980): 269-86.

Richard Ohmann, „Akty mowy a definicja literatury”, Pamiętnik Literacki 71/2 (1980): 249-67.

Older publications can be found on the complete list in PBN


Professor Barbara Kowalik is a member of ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) and IAUPE (International Association of University Professors of English). She studied as a visiting scholar at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford (1985/86) and taught as a visiting professor at the University of Minneapolis, Minnesota (1993), the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (1998), and the University of Munich (2011). Since 2008 she has been the editor of Acta Philologica, a scholarly journal published by the Faculty of Neophilology at the University of Warsaw. In 2012 she received the Award of the Minister of Science and Higher Education for the book Betwixt ‘engelaunde’ and ‘englene londe’: Dialogic Poetics in Medieval English Religious Lyric.

Prof. Kowalik teaches a survey course on medieval English literature and many other courses, focusing on such topics as the medieval fantastic, Arthurian literature, Chaucer, dream visions, allegorical imagery, medieval heroism, and courtly love. She also teaches an extramural course on the 19th and 20th c. women writers. She gladly supervises M. A. and Ph. D. dissertations in the areas of her own specialization, particularly English medieval literature, women writers, and twentieth-century prose fiction. On her initiative, the Medieval Section of Student Scholarly Society was started in the Institute of English Studies and the first student conference, From Medieval to Medievalism: Student Approches to Medieval English Studies, was organized, resulting in publication of a volume of papers. Prof. Kowalik is currently editing a volume of papers on Tolkien and medieval literature, to be published by Walking Tree Publishers, and on a number of comparative studies of English and Polish writers.