DIARY: Vol I, 1953-56 by Witold Gombrowicz
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DIARY: Vol I, 1953-56

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Strange, unique, vertiginous, brilliant, Gombrowicz's Diary--an actual journal kept during the decades of this Polish genius' relocation to Argentina: a journal on top of that published, as it was written, in the emigrÉ newspaper Kultura--is a publishing event of magnitude. Skip the windy introduction by Wojciech Karpinski and dive right into Gombrowicz's sometimes histronic, sometimes melancholic, always brilliant pensÉes--here is prose allied to thought the likes of which European literature hadn't known since Robert Musil. Gombrowicz, literally all but invisible in Argentina, uses every bit of himself to investigate the basic scheme of his view of reality, which is inferiority vs. superiority; yet rather than spin some Nietzschean fantasy from this, he dissects himself (personally: low-life, possibly homosexual leanings; and intellectually: his boredom at museums, at reading poetry) to find this germ of higher/lower self-understanding infecting everything. Yet his conclusion is not fashionable anomie or political hubris; Gombrowicz in the Diary is the great champion of ""average pressures and median temperatures. Today we know the mortal cold and living fire, but we have forgotten the secrets of a light breeze, which refreshes and allows one to breathe."" Elements of embarrassment and humility are shoulder to shoulder with Olympian thinking--making this Diary (two more volumes are to follow) a monument of irony (and prose) in our century.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Northwestern Univ. Press