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Ferdydurke

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  6,928 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
In this bitterly funny novel by the renowned Polish author Witold Gombrowicz, a writer finds himself tossed into a chaotic world of schoolboys by a diabolical professor who wishes to reduce him to childishness. Originally published in Poland in 1937, Ferdydurke became an instant literary sensation and catapulted the young author to fame. Deemed scandalous and subversive by ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 1st 1979 by Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd (first published 1937)
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s.penkevich
Sep 24, 2011 s.penkevich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The pupa
Shelves: favorites, polish
'There is nothing that the mature hate more, there is nothing that disgusts them more, than immaturity' writes Gombrowicz in this comic masterpiece of Polish literature. Be prepared to embrace your immaturity as Gombrowicz attacks so-called 'maturity' and exposes it as a fraud in this story about an aspiring author who is reduced to back to his childish teenage self before a former professor and brought back to school. This first novel of his was banned by the Nazi's and Communist parties for it ...more
Greg
Nov 19, 2008 Greg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I didn't like this book. I didn't hate it either. If I could have given it two and a half stars I would have. I liked the premise. Parts of it were interesting, and I think I got what he was doing with the work, but it just never gelled for me. Maybe if I had read it straight through without taking a bit of a break with reading a history book I might have enjoyed it more, but by about page 200 the whole book felt like work. For example I was on the bus, and I had the choice between reading this ...more
Mike Puma
Nov 04, 2010 Mike Puma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: they'll know who they are

I remember a song from my youth—one we played on record players before households had stereos. A time when said record players still had a setting for 78 rpm, which is what we had to use to play this tune. One of those childhood memories which never really goes away. A song that was already old when we started listening to it.

We was out in California one time,
And we wandered lookin’ for a room, and this mad hotel,
And we got upstairs and opened the door and turned on the lights,
And there on th
...more
Yakup
Nov 07, 2015 Yakup rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gereğinden fazla değerli...Böyle yazdığımı gören kitabın yazarı buna da iki cümle dizerdi.Kitapların bazıları vardır ki, mimarisi güzel birçok katı olan meskenlere benzerler, hangi katta oturmak istediğiniz size bağlı.Fakat en üstteki katlar modernitenin size sunduğu görsellik karmaşasından dolayı sizi yanıltır, bir şeylerin sahibi olduğunuzu ve çoşkunluğun suni hissiyatını size tattırır. Halbuki alttaki derinliğe indikçe bekleyenler, sizi şaşırtacaktır. İşte böyle bir kitap olan ferdydurke'nin ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 06, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969) is considered as one of the most important literary figures in Poland. Ferdydurke was his first novel and he published this in 1937 when he was 33 years old. Two years after its publication Russian invaded Poland and turned it into a communist country. Poland subsequently banned this book so Gombrowicz hid in Argentina and France.

Ferdydurke is a darkly satirical comedy that is considered modernist. The main protagonist and the narrator of the story, Joey Kawalski is
...more
Jan-Maat
Good grief, I've got a copy of this somewhere that I must have liberated from a second-hand bookshop years ago and which I am fairly sure has long since gone the way of all books - although it is hard for me to tell as much of my life is in semi-storage to varying degrees.

An odd story. Not Mloda Polska (thanks to the correction in comments) but a product of the inter war period. A man is taken out of adult life and made to live as a child, he is forced to return to school and given foster parent
...more
Vit Babenco
Dec 13, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ferdydurke is some sort of abracadabra and the novel can be defined as an absurdist abstraction.
“Mankind is accursed because our existence on this earth does not tolerate any well-defined and stable hierarchy, everything continually flows, spills over, moves on, everyone must be aware of and be judged by everyone else, and the opinions that the ignorant, dull, and slow-witted hold about us are no less important than the opinions of the bright, the enlightened, the refined. This is because man is
...more
Sean
Mar 29, 2008 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Extremely patient, adventurous readers who are willing to be changed forever
Shelves: favorites
Another one of my all time favorites. Gombrowicz' modernist masterpiece, his first novel, came out in the 1930's, causing a brief literary sensation only weeks before his native Poland was invaded by the Nazis. The author fled to South America and since Europe had other things on its mind in the coming years both author and book were pretty much forgotten. Gombrowicz was rediscovered however amid the renewed experimentation of the 1960's, and enjoyed a renaissance in his lifetime, after decades ...more
Jale
Jul 19, 2015 Jale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ferdydurke'nin 1937'deki ilk baskısı Bruno Schulz'un çizimini yaptığı kapak ile yayımlanmış. Schulz, Ferdydurke için "Freud ve Proust'un yapıtlarına eşdeğer bir yapıt." diyor. Schulz çok bilinmiyor olsa da, Kafka kadar sağlam bir referans.
Sanatı, aileyi, eğitim sistemini, aşkı, yediğimiz yemeği, karşı çıktığımız savaşı, benimsediğimiz rolleri; yani şimdilerde "değer" olarak isimlendirdiğimiz her şeyi eleştiren, komik, sıradışı, diline alışılması zaman alan, biraz Otomatik Portakal tadında bir ro
...more
al
Mar 15, 2007 al rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
right in the snoot! bash him right in the pupa!
Ana
Feb 07, 2017 Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagina que estás a dormir e enquanto dormes vais escrevendo tudo o que sonhas sem dar grande importância à forma ou à estrutura. O Ferdydurque é isso, mas também é mais; no sentido que faz pensar no absurdo, na sua importância, e até que ponto a dita normalidade não é por si um grande absurdo de sobrevivência. Publicado pela primeira vez há 80 anos, continuará por muitos mais a desafiar todos quanto se identifiquem e apreciem a audácia e a extravagância literária.
Nate D
Oct 26, 2010 Nate D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pupas
Recommended to Nate D by: an old professor, shocked at this gap in my studies
Comments and reviews on this classic of interwar Polish absurdism seem to oscillate between adoration and ambivalence. This actually makes some kind of sense as my own reactions oscillated somewhat between those poles, even as I read it. Because for all of the rebellious wit and satiric insight on display throughout the novel, despite the excellence and memorable quotability of so many individual lines, there's also something very wordy and over-analyzed about this. Polish new wave filmmaker Jer ...more
Andrew Walter
Jan 12, 2010 Andrew Walter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can’t remember why I decided to read this book, but it has been on my “pending” list for about two years now. I questioned a Polish friend about it fairly extensively (luckily he didn’t get annoyed, which I probably would if someone started to pester me about Dickens simply because I’m British, which is essentially what I was doing…) and he said that I would probably enjoy it because I have a “sick brain”. I decided to take this as both a compliment and a recommendation rolled into one, and I’ ...more
Justin Evans
Jul 15, 2014 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where has this book been all my life? Gombrowicz might be a 20th century version of Swift. It's all fart jokes and nose-picking until you realize it's actually one of the smartest books you've ever read. But be warned: if you come looking only for the fart jokes and nose-picking, you could easily be disappointed. Many reviewers, perhaps misled by Susan Sontag's introduction, and Gombrowicz's own much later statements, suggest that this is a book in praise of immaturity and damnation of adults. C ...more
Jim
Jun 11, 2012 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, eastern-europe
Hoo, boy! How does once approach a work that, the moment you touch it, dissolves into all manner of mugs, attitudes, and outright wackiness? This is my first work by Witold Gombrowicz, and I am mightily impressed by it -- but ... I ... must ... retain ... my ... perspective. Or like, Joe Kowalski, the narrator, I will be entrapped and dealt the pupa.

What is this pupa? It seems to be everywhere. As I understand it, it's the fulcrum of a boy's immaturity, centered in his butt, from which radiates
...more
Lee Foust
Jan 10, 2013 Lee Foust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The curse and joy of returning to one's youth with all of one's thirty-something literary grown-man cultural baggage intact. Lovely, troubling, a punk rock slap in the face to all our feigned adulthood, seriousness, and sobriety. A rather serious lark. I disagree with Susan Sontag's introduction, however. Gombrowicz's presentation of youthful extravagance, tension, and conflict is a far cry from modern American popular culture's re-presentation of youth as some sort of white bread yesteryear of ...more
Josh
Feb 06, 2008 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gombrowicz is a useful author more than anything else. This book, for example, gives you an idea - "immaturity" - and then shows you how it can be used to systematically dismantle every system of meaning you might come across. People complain about philosophical novels, but "philosophy" here doesn't mean argument, or logic - more like following an intuited form as it grows and surprises.
P42
Nov 01, 2016 P42 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Chciałbym rozumieć więcej z tego co przeczytałem.
Może w szkole (che che che) mi powiedzą
Radoslaw
Aug 04, 2009 Radoslaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crazy, brilliant, and frustrating novel from the 1930's by this mad Polish author. The basic theme/question/idea is: do we possess an identity outside of what people think of us or are we mostly shaped by society's perception of who we are? As all language and all interactions we have with others is little more than mediated societal convention, is there any room to express who we "really" are?

Anyway, the story involves a thirty-something author (Gombrowicz) who, up to now, has produced a single
...more
Amy
Oct 14, 2007 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ferdydurke is a novel that often times just seems like sorta funny nonsense, and other times like a philosophical take on the importance of "immaturity" as fuel for creativity.

The premise of the story is that our protagonist is somehow regressed into a teenager (all though he still looks like a 30-year-old...everybody just seems to overlook that). In school his classmates debate over purity vs. vulgarity as the ultimate expression of immaturity. When he is forced to live with a family that inclu
...more
Ev
Feb 16, 2012 Ev rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I was thrilled with the book. Being Polish, I guess I could see more of the context. And so, I was absolutely delighted by Gombrowicz's blatant opposition towards the Polish Tradition and Great Authors. I went as far as to underline some passages which completely refuted the Polish Greatness.

However, the further I got into the book, the more I was annoyed with the slapstick humor and sickness of the author's mind. Call me stiff but I just don't find a miscarried fetus funny (okay, maybe
...more
lyell bark
Jan 18, 2011 lyell bark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is funny and cool yall, starts off like a weird celine sort of fever dream where the narrator is seeing asses in the sky and then the fever dream turns real!!! omg. + lots of funny stuff like a making faces contest, a fight between analysis and synthesis and about 20 pages spent on athletic schoolgirls in their school girl outfits. good fetish, and in 1934 may have been ahead of its time, altho perhaps the polish schoolgirl of 1934 was not wearing the pleated gingham skirt of today's f ...more
Tomas Ramanauskas
Jul 27, 2014 Tomas Ramanauskas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Add insane linguistic acrobatics to Kafka's and Charms' minimal surrealism and you've got yourself Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke.
Greg
I've read this novel twice, and I enjoyed it even more the second time through. The basic plot is absurd - a 30 year old middle-class man is "kidnapped" and sent back to school; everyone treats him like a boy - but its themes are not: the story is a sustained meditation on "maturity," or in other words, on the attempt to escape "immaturity" into "maturity." We discover that the "child runs deep" even in the seemingly most "mature" adults. In any case, the novel is also frequently quite funny; we ...more
Andrew
This is another one of those books that strikes me as impossibility. Let's say there are "three I's" at the heart of la grand littérature Européenne... ideology, identity (dislocation thereof), and (trumping all) irony. While i don't think I found Ferydurke as comic as I suppose I was supposed to, I was still amused. Liking it certainly depends on your tolerance of a very specifically Continental style. And while I'm not the world's biggest fan of that, I like it well enough, and I liked Ferdydu ...more
Jacob Russell
Aug 31, 2008 Jacob Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! If only it were more widely read... pupa and mug as verbs and nouns, would be a necessary part of our general vocabulary.
Caitlin
Feb 17, 2009 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 20th-century
So far, a slightly schizophrenic and probably pretty autobiographical paranoid fantasy/philosophical and aesthetic rant. Really weird. Really good.
Crito
God damn, this is a book.
silverandredinmyhead
Finally.
Jim Elkins
This was the third or fourth of Gombrowicz's books that I've read. He is fabulous, and if it weren't for modernism's (and even postmodernism's) ongoing earnest self-regard, this book would be read alongside Finnegans Wake and other novels that are postmodern avant la lettre. But Gombrowicz's theme in this book prevents him from displaying the sort of formal mastery and control that continues to be expected from authors who work with experimental forms, and even from authors who incorporate comed ...more
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Witold Marian Gombrowicz (August 4, 1904 in Małoszyce, near Kielce, Congress Poland, Russian Empire – July 24, 1969 in Vence, near Nice, France) was a Polish novelist and dramatist. His works are characterized by deep psychological analysis, a certain sense of paradox and an absurd, anti-nationalist flavor. In 1937 he published his first novel, Ferdydurke, which presented many of his usual themes: ...more
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“Man is profoundly dependent on the reflection of himself in another man's soul, be it even the soul of an idiot.” 116 likes
“Beauty beheld in solitude is even more lethal.” 24 likes
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