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Although Witold Gombrowicz’s unique, idiosyncratic writings include a three-volume Diary, this voluminous document offers few facts about his early life in Poland before his books were banned there and he went into voluntary exile. Polish Memories—a series of autobiographical sketches Gombrowicz composed for Radio Free Europe during his years in Argentina in the late 1950s ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 10th 2004 by Yale University Press
(first published 1979)
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Gombrowicz’s memory-work here illuminates so many of the complexities of interwar Poland that it becomes much clearer how he came to his conception of Form later on. Through a mix of (im)mature individualism, caustic joking, post-gentry grotesque, interactions with a cast of intriguing and ridiculous literati, and accessible yet tense social and political insight, we are given a version of the “Polish complex” laid personally bare, like the story of a scar at its most entertaining.
My first introduction to Polish literature culture beyond the immediate environs of Greenpoint. It's somewhat odd to read someone's memoirs before reading any of their fiction, but this is a wonderful book. Covering the time in between the two world wars, it's an interesting slice of life, and Gombrowicz's recollections of the Polish literary scene and shifting political landscape are quite interesting. Now to read some of his "real" writing!
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: ...moreMore about Witold Gombrowicz...