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Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  847 ratings  ·  56 reviews
This is the second and final work of Bruno Schulz, the acclaimed Polish writer killed by the Nazis during World War II. In the words of Isaac Bashevis Singer, "What he did in his short life was enough to make him one of the most remarkable writers who ever lived." Weaving myth, fantasy, and reality, Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, is, to quote Schulz, "an attem ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 30th 1997 by Mariner Books (first published 1937)
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The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno SchulzQuo Vadis by Henryk SienkiewiczLalka by Bolesław PrusFerdydurke by Witold GombrowiczPan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz
Best Polish Literature
8th out of 80 books — 52 voters
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyThe Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Greatest Eastern European Classics
43rd out of 270 books — 129 voters

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Community Reviews

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there are v. few writers I know of today who can project one's psyche onto the physical world in such a dispassionate yet compelling way as Schulz. He cajoles one into taking residence in his mind through a fireworks display of prose that is as unrelenting as it is demanding. Even the slightest phrase can take off as abruptly as a flight of roosting birds: images collide into each other and spark new narrative lines. It is a conjurer's act, one made up of fragmented memories--a walk at dusk, a w ...more
12 short stories and one long one linked by the strong voice of the author and illustrated by him with an equally idiosynchronistic flair. BS writes with delicate ferocity, his luminous prose and boundless optimism softening somewhat his acerbic observations. That his evocation of childhood and old age are equally vivid attests to his virtuousity.

The long story, Spring, delves into "the marginal world beyond the limits of a wilting afternoon" with such thorough tenderness that no one need bothe
If there are any writers out there who managed to establish a voice as distinctive, as potent, or as beautiful as Bruno Schultz's with so small an output, I haven't heard of them. His two tiny, genre-less (sometimes anticipating Allen Ginsberg's incantations, other times evoking the headier films of Guy Maddin) books represent an extraordinary genius and a criminally truncated life.
A feverish stew of metaphor and imagery that simmers in a base of family relationships and seasonal changes. It takes some time to adapt to Schulz's style, which is rich and meandering and despite its deliciousness is sometimes hard to digest. The long story "Spring" revolves around a stamp album that inspires colorful daydreams of foreign lands and historical figures-- of which the daydreamer is one-- but I finished reading it and felt like I had just awakened from a vaguely unpleasant dream. A ...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
There is a problem in writing fiction that verges towards the highly personal, in that the writer wants to exorcise deepest tragedies or familial burdens but at the same time is conscious of not revealing too much, because any writing that is attempted towards this goal rushes to that dense limbo filled with the scars sustained on the self, and in so doing the struggle becomes to make it readable, to turn it into literature - by "not telling", to revolve around the personal tragedy that has to b ...more
Rebekah Baglini
(Rereading this summer for the umpteenth time.)

I will learn Polish, someday, for the sole purpose of reading this in the original.
Not until I was more than halfway through the book did its power begin to exert itself, which might simply mean that the stories (and they are stories, which I hadn't realized at first, since the old edition I was reading seemed to present it as a novel with titled chapters) are arranged best last, or that one needs to adjust to the apparently dilatory and whimsical nature of the writing. The story "Loneliness," which is translated also as "Solitude" -- not at all the same thing! -- deserves fiv ...more
Nate D
Nov 04, 2010 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sleepwalkers
Recommended to Nate D by: Wojciech Has
Published later but composed before Schulz's magnificent Street of Crocodiles this is a little diffuser, it's narrative vagueries a little more discernable through its thinner broth of description. Still, it's Schulz, strange and captivating, especially in the title story of a hospital that sustains its patients by removing them from the progression of time entirely, probably his most obviously story-shaped piece. Between that and the long, tangled tale of waxwork intrigues and the coded meaning ...more
I think Schulz wrote totally in the vernacular of dreams. Sometimes when I read one of his stories, it is almost as if I AM dreaming--I can sense something momentous happening but often it is just outside my grasp; I get to the end it dissipates and I am left trying to reconstruct the impression that the story first left. I remember the words, but I can only get that feeling by actively reading them. It's magic. My actual dreams are incredibly lucid when I'm on a Bruno Schulz jag, too.

Maybe Schu
”Sanatoriul timpului”, cea de-a doua parte a Manechinelor, folosește, mai ales în primele povestiri, un limbaj mult mai ermetic și mai saturat de metafore decât în ”Prăvăliile de scorţişoară”, depărtându-se de subiectul concret și coborând în abstract, prin intermediul unui delir lingvistic. Dificultatea lecturii nu rezidă, însă, în folosirea unor termeni complicați, ci în babilonia de metafore și alăturări neașteptate de cuvinte.

Este destul de dificil și obositor să ții pasul cu imagistica fre
I have had this book on my coffee table for months, and I read a few passages here and there, usually on weekends when my mind has readjusted to its proper speed. And I think I will leave it there so that I can re-read it several more times.

The most wonderful, most enjoyable parts of Sanatorium are the descriptions, like when Schulz describes the smells of spring, the white dress of a young girl, or – my favorite – the wonders of a stamp collection, which bring the mind of a young provincial boy
Jan Jørgensen
Fed bog, fantastiske fortællinger fra en virkelighed der ikke overholder nogle regler. Som læser sidder man tilbage og vrider hænderne for at få mere af Schulz. Det er sjældent at man møder en forfatter der håndtere sproget så mesterligt og samtidig er i stand til at vride og oplæse de rammer fortællingen befinder sig under.
Som læser efterlader Schulz mig i en følelse af at jeg har været på en rejse men at jeg ikke har fatte alle nuancerne af det der er sket omkring mig. Det er som at vågne fra
The second of Bruno Schulz's dreamlike account of the merchant town in Poland he grew up in. It was exponentially freakier than the first, which was already pretty freaky. This one really felt like the ravings of a mentally unstable person at times (intentional? See: title). Like Michael Ginsburg level psychotic break. That said, it was incredibly beautifully written. I loved part where his father refuses to believe he has died and hangs onto life many years after the fact (living in the Sanator ...more
cras culture
Excellent series of mythical vignettes and surreal tall tales. Lush and lavish language. Not much of a plot but rather a reoccuring and reincarnated father character picked up from schulz's other novel, street of crocodiles. A whole lot of listless implosion. I immensely enjoyed this as well of street of crocodiles which i read last summer. Totally magical. The ending was a bit underwhelming. Anyways...
Brent Hayward
Schulz's life story, at least the wiki version-- specifically the end part of it-- is as disconcerting and surreal as his writing. A so-called 'pet Jew' to an occupying Nazi, he was shot in the head and killed as he went out for a loaf of bread. The killer was another Nazi staying in town who had issues with Schulz's 'owner', and was either settling accounts or upping the ante on the fascists' wierd feud. Schulz, apparently, a kept man, would entertain his German by painting murals. (What a subt ...more
"Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass" reads like a sequel to "The Street of Crocodiles." It is gorgeous, deranged, surreal, and beautifully written. And if you can find the edition with Schulz's drawings in it, that will just add to your enjoyment.
Weird Kafkaesque stories inspired by Jewish mysticism by Jewish Pole who died in the Holocaust -- contemporary of Kafka, not influenced by.
Whenever I want to close a book by opening it I think of Schulz and his tiny spheres of limitless wandering.
Bruno Schulz has one of the most expansive vocabularies of the Polish language and best capabilities to compose with them strikingly coloured and richly flavoured topographical lands, myths and moments. Each story contains various amazing ‘words’ and revelatory elements which can look upon the human through a heightened sense (when placing him in an artistic and spiritual context), yet including the grotesque and downgrading constituents of everyday life and experience. But unfortunately, despit ...more
Really gorgeous amorphous writing that flows like a tone poem. It's like reading one very long Lawrence Ferlinghetti piece only with far less plot. It is a dreamy recount of fleeting childhood memories where everything blends and melds in a viscous sticky web. The best way to describe it is how when you are really tired but you are really enjoying reading a good book, you push yourself to read more but after a few pages you have no idea what you just read and you are totally confused as to what ...more
James H.
Beautiful language, surreal landscapes, and fuzzy depiction of the ever shifting meaning of life, "Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass" is a masterful work by an author whose voice was silenced for the pettiest of reasons: he was a Jew. While I confess I struggled through some of the text, the fault lies within my own inability to concentrate. I highly recommend this to anyone who is after a substantive read that will linger long after the last page is turned.
Mr. Terrible
Oproti Skořicovým krámům značně nevyrovnané. Některé povídky jsem si skutečně zamiloval, například titulní Knihu či Jaro pro jejich vypravěčskou energii a prožitek, který rezonoval s mou vlastní zkušeností. Avšak jiné mě silně iritovaly ať už titulní Sanatorium na věčnosti, Penzista či Edík. Jejich téma mě buď míjelo, anebo mi byl takový prožitek cizí. Jakoby se vypravěčova subjektivita vytratila a stala se příliš všeobecným zpodobněním. A chyběla mi organičnost předchozí sbírky, Skořicových krá ...more
Everything I said in my review of Street of Crocodiles applies here. Indeed, I think it crucial to read these books together. There is no diminution of talent here, it actually increases.

“For beauty is a disease, as my father maintained; it is the result of a mysterious infection, a dark forerunner of decomposition, which rises from the depth of perfection and is saluted by perfection with signs of the deepest bliss.”

“For ordinary books are like meteors. Each of them has only one moment, a mom
Dec 28, 2014 Helena121q marked it as to-read
Víctor Sampayo
Originalmente pensado como un libro ilustrado (en su edición original contiene 42 dibujos del propio autor), Sanatorio bajo la clepsidra (Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą, 1937) es el segundo y último libro que se publicó en vida de Bruno Schulz, antes de su estúpido asesinato en 1942 por parte de un nazi de alto rango. Se cree que el propio Schulz veía este volumen como un libro preparatorio para la que sería su obra principal, y que se titularía El mesías, asimismo ilustrada...

Aquí mi reseña completa.
Led Kasapi
Ca t them??!!! Kujt i duken si pallavra moderniste te pastrukturuara mire ato qe shkruhen ketu...ju kam lene Allahun!!!

Pretty much remarkable. Dense linguistic wonders.
Drew Gordon
i don't exactly remember what happened in this book, but i do have a _very_ distinct recollection of the feeling of a few moments with respect to reading this book. as if I were reaching consciousness during lucid fever dreaming, then falling back into the fever dream. it's foggy, but favorably memorable.
Holy Comoly! More Joyce than Hemingway; indeed, Schulz is the anti-Hemingway. This author finds magic in everything, and is constantly tripping [at least during the first 32 pages].

Like Steven Spielberg, I find Schulz a little too breathless for my taste, regardless of his mental and verbal fluidity.
It doesn't really happen often that I read something that I was required to read for school more than once. I really love Bruno Schulz's writing, I haven't yet read all of this stories, but I am definitely going to. One of the best books ever.
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Bruno Schulz was a Polish writer, fine artist, literary critic and art teacher of Jewish descent (1892-1942). He was regarded as one of the great Polish-language prose stylists of the 20th century.

At a very early age, Schulz developed an interest in the arts. He studied at a gymnasium in Drohobycz from 1902 to 1910, and proceeded to study architecture at Lwów University. In 1917 he briefly studie
More about Bruno Schulz...
The Street of Crocodiles Sklepy cynamonowe; Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą The Drawings of Bruno Schulz Letters and Drawings of Bruno Schulz Opowiadania, wybór esejów i listów

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“There are things than cannot ever occur with any precision. They are too big and too magnificent to be contained in mere facts. They are merely trying to occur, they are checking whether the ground of reality can carry them. And they quickly withdraw, fearing to loose their integrity in the frailty of realization. ” 38 likes
“An event may be small and insignificant in its origin , and yet, when drawn close to one’s eye, it may open in its center an infinite and radiant perspective because a higher order of being is trying to express itself in it and irradiates it violently.” 21 likes
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