Loyola University Chicago

Polish Studies

John Merchant

Advanced Lecturer

Polish and Irish Literature; Polish American Literature


Email: jmerchant@luc.edu


Office: Crown Center 109

Phone:  773-508-2991


Research Interests:

  • Polish and Irish Literature
  • Polish American Literature
  • Nature Writing and Ecocriticism
  • Literary Translation from Polish

Courses Taught:

  • UCLR 100 (variable topics)
    • Polish & Irish Literature
    • Post-World War II Polish Literature
    • Writing Faith: Joyce, Dybek, and the Catholic Imagination
  • LITR 200 - European Masterpieces (variable topics)
    • Polish & Irish Literature 
    • Polish & Irish Literature: Reading Nature
    • Polish Short Stories 
    • Polish Identity in Literature: 1863-1945
    • Literature of Interwar Poland, 1918-1939
    • Polish Literature of WWII
    • Polish Post-World War II Literature
    • Polish Literature in Film 
    • Polish Literature & FIlm of WWII
    • Polish Fantasy 
    • Women in Polish Culture
  • LITR 221 - Polish Authors 
    • Polish Literature from the Medivial to the Romantic Period
  • LITR 280 - World Masterpieces (variable topics) 
    • Polish American Literature 
    • Women in Polish CUlture 
    • Women in Polish Literature and Film 

Loyola Service:

  • Academic Council, At-large Member, 2022-2024.
    o Curriculum Committee Member
  • Coordinator, Virtual Dual Immersion (VDI) Exchange, Loyola University and The Jesuit Academy Ignatianum in Kraków, 2021-
  • Organizer of the annual October student reading of Dziady, by Adam Mickiewicz.
  • Faculty reviewer and judge for the annual Undergraduate Student FORUM, a competition of papers on Central and Eastern Europe
  • Coordinator, University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) Writer Visits, Upper-level MLL Literature Classes, 2016 & 2017
  • Chair, Faculty Committee Assessment Review of LITR 200-level courses, 2016
  • Chair, Faculty Committee Assessment Review of UCLR 100-level courses, 2015
  • Co-Organizer, Polish and Mexican Poetry Reading, 2014

Service Outside Loyola:

  • Organizer and Discussant, “Vanishing Polish Communities: Writing, Politics, and the Challenges of Survival,” Chopin Theatre, Spring 2022

  • “Anthony Bukoski: An Outpost of Polishness,” Polish American Historical Association Conference, Denver, CO, January 6, 2017

  • “Teaching Polish Literature in Translation to Non-Polish and Polish Heritage University Students,” Polish Teachers, Students, and Parents Conference, Chicago, IL, December 4, 2016

  • “Jan Karski: Teaching the Legacy of a Polish Catholic and Officer of the Polish Government-in-Exile, Who Tried to Stop the Holocaust.” Workshop for Chicago Public School Teachers, Grades 6 – 8. Social Science Exposition, Little Village High School, August 17, 2015

  • “Jan Karski: His Work and Legacy, a Literary Perspective.” Polish American Heritage Month, Harold Washington Library, October 21, 2014

  • “Writing As...?: Jan Karski and the Many Voices of Polish WWII Literature.” Jan Karski Conference, Loyola University, September 20, 2014

  • “Poetry and Freedom,” poetry reading Olivia Edelman, Reginald Gibbons, and Adam Lizakowski, and John Merchant - Honoring Mexican poets Octavio Paz, José Emilio Pacheco, and Juan Gelman, and Polish Solidarity poets Zbigniew Herbert, Stanisław Barańczak, Jacek Kaczmarski, and Adam Zagajewski. Loyola University, June 4, 2014

  • Opening remarks prior to Chicago film premiere of The Age of Czesław Miłosz.

  • Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, April 2013

  • "Polish American Poetry – Reading Between the Lines."; Public lecture, Polish Studies Program, Loyola University Chicago, April 2013

  • "The Literature of the Polish Experience in America."; Inaugural lecture, Polish Studies Program, Chopin Theatre, Chicago, September 2012

Recent Publications

  • Book Chapter: “The Scars of St. Stuart: Time-traveling Down 26th Street,” to be included in Creative Expression and Polish Chicago, Bożena Shallcross (Ed.) (in review).
  • Book Review: Adam Kucharski, Placing Poland at the Heart of Irishness: Irish Political Elites in Relation to Poland and the Poles in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, Journal of East Central European Studies/Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung (JECES) (pending publication).
  • Book Review: Katarzyna Bartoszyńska, Estranging the Novel: Poland, Ireland and Theories of World Literature, The Polish Review (pending publication).
  • Translation: Whitman in Poland: The Reception and Role of the American Poet in Polish National Culture by Marta Skwara, University of Iowa Press (pending publication).
  • Book Review: Kaoru Yamamoto, Rethinking Joseph Conrad’s Concepts of Community: Strange Fraternity, The Polish Review (July 2022).
  • "Anthony Bukoski – An Outpost of Polishness"; Rocznik Komparatystyczny – Comparative Yearbook 9 (Summer 2019).
  • Book Review: Adam Mickiewicz, Forefather’s Eve, Trans. Charles S. Kraszewski, Slavic Review (Spring 2018)
  • Book Review: John Guzlowski, Echoes of Tattered Tongues, Polish American Studies Journal (Spring 2017).
  • Book Review: George Z. Gasyna, Polish, Hybrid, and Otherwise: Exilic Discourse in Joseph Conrad and Witold Gombrowicz. Slavic and East European Journal, Winter 2014, in SEEJ 60.2 (Summer 2016).


  • Ph.D. University of Chicago, 2006
  • M.A. University of Illinois-Chicago, 1997
  • M.A. The Ohio State University, 1994
  • B.A. University of Iowa, 1990