You can never really say too much about Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz. Not that there isn’t a lot of pure BS and cliché written about Kafka by people who don’t have a clue why he is considered such an important writer – in fact, maybe that’s one more reason why an exhibition putting Kafka in a context involving reading and writing, and not, say, standing in long lines or getting lost in a bureaucratic shuffle, is still so necessary.
Schulz is another matter. Not that he’s unknown, but while Kafka has entered one name status with Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe (and Bono, Sting and Cher when I come to think of it), Schulz is not enough of a household name to drop the Bruno, or be mistaken for the creator of Snoopy (Charles Schulz) not to mention Sgt. Schulz, who he probably wouldn’t have found all that funny.
With that preface, here is a write-up of Masters of the Borderland: Kafka & Schulz that I did on the Czech Literature Portal, which also links to my original article on the show when it opened in Sweden (this time I saw it in person though, which was especially great because it has Schulz’s sole surviving oil painting The Encounter [pictured].
The exhibition also brought to my attention the new Bruno Schulz website, which besides looking really good has some worthwhile content, including a strange yet fascinating essay (though in a stilted translation) by Ukrainian writer Yuri Andrukhovych (transliterated in Polish as Jurij Andruchowycz) called “Bruno and porn,” other essays, news, a timeline of Schulz’s life and more.
The exhibition is running until August 22 at Prague’s Czech Centre and from September 6th to October 19th at the Polish Institute, where there will be some theatrical and film events coming in September and October as well.