Posts Tagged ‘witold gombrowicz

Giertych or Gombrowicz?

It seems I underestimated Witold Gombrowicz. I’ve come late to this story, from the Süddeutsche Zeitung, but it seems he’s capable of more than just rattling cages.

Thomas Urban looks into the week-long conflict in Poland over required reading in schools. The governing coalition is now threatened with collapse over the dispute, centering around the author Witold Gombrowicz. “It’s a novelty in the history of European democracies that a controversy surrounding an author should take on such a political dimension. Education Minister Roman Giertych, head of the League of Polish Families, has declared he no longer expects students to have to read works that are morally damaging, including those of Gombrowicz … certainly the most famous Polish writer of the 20th century. Giertych sees his goal of educating Poland’s youth in ‘order, discipline and patriotism’ jeopardised by the sceptic and freethinker Gombrowicz, who never sought to hide his homosexual disposition. The fundamentalist League of Polish Families has even adopted the slogan: ‘Giertych or Gombrowicz!'”

Via signandsight. I can’t find the full article at the SZ site, unfortunately, but this sounds like a story to watch.


Written by Dave Lovely

August 17, 2007 at 9:59 am

Posted in eastern europe, politics

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More on Gombrowicz, and much else

The latest edition of CONTEXT has an excellent article on Witold Gombrowicz by Michael Pinker. Here’s a taste:

Gombrowicz conveys his scorn of contemporary Polish attitudes while his farcical masqueraders awkwardly pirouette around their sense of their own belittlement, puppets of the forms they inflict on one another.

There’s also an interview with Dumitru Tsepeneag, together with an extract from his intriguing-sounding novel Vain Art of the Fugue, which is gaining ground rapidly on my List-Of-Books-I-Must-Shortly-Acquire.

And this ambitious project, from the Letter from Macedonia, is definitely fundamentally a good idea:

Pen [that is, P.E.N.] Centers from eleven Slavic countries selected 110 novels from these countries written from 1989 to the present (ten novels from each country), in October 2006. Each country will publish one novel from each of the other ten countries and, in that way, each of the selected 110 novels will come out in one Slavic language. If all goes according to plan, the whole action should be carried out through 2007 and all of these novels will later be translated into English and offered to publishers in the United States and Great Britain.

(via Three Percent)

Written by Dave Lovely

August 9, 2007 at 11:10 pm


Witold Gombrowicz at home in Vence

Witold Gombrowicz, born on August 4th, 1904, “the most important twentieth-century novelist most Western readers have never heard of”, and still capable of rattling Polish cages: read this essay by translator Benjamin Paloff at Words Without Borders to learn why.

Words Without Borders also carries his short story “The Rat”.

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University held an exhibition, The World of Witold Gombrowicz, to mark his centenary: the image above is taken from there, as is this very memorable book jacket:

the UK edition of Pornografia, Calder & Boyars, London, 1966

Pornografia: a novel. Translated by Alastair Hamilton, London, Calder and Boyars, 1966

Written by Dave Lovely

August 5, 2007 at 12:04 am

Posted in authors

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