Traces of Gombrowicz

Poland’s Museum of Literature has sent off two members of its staff in the footsteps of novelist Witold Gombrowicz on a journey from Warsaw to Buenos Aires. Not that these intrepid museum employees are planning to remain in Argentina for decades in relative obscurity, creating works of literary genius (although you never know). In fact, they are going to purchase 50 letters Gombrowicz wrote to his Argentine friend Juan Carlos Gomez toward the end of his South American sojourn (he returned to Europe in 1963 but never went back to Poland).

Poland’s belated recognition of its irreverent son has picked up momentum as of late, with the 2009 opening of a Gombrowicz museum in the village of Wsola about 80 kilometers south of Warsaw in a renovated mansion that belonged to the writer’s brother. As a writer who did not mince his words in ripping into the Polish tendency to romanticize its writers and poets (and not only them) I think Gombrowicz might find the idea of people looking at his suitcase and walking stick behind glass a bit absurd he would have to agree that it is better than being unknown and unread.

Translations of Gombrowicz’s work into English have also received some good news recently, with the release of the first direct Polish to English translation of the novel Cosmos (as opposed to a Polish to French to English, courtesy of the Chinese telephone school of translation).

By way of the Literary Saloon there is also news of the April 2012 re-issue of Gombrowicz’s Diary, including “ten previously unpublished pages.” Unlike the previous three-volume boxed set this will be a single-volume edition. The Diary is one of the masterpieces of 20th century literature.

Photos – 1) Gombrowicz’s passport photo 2) From the Gombrowicz Museum by Anna Kowalska 3) Gombrowicz by Bohdan Paczowski

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Categories: Writers


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