March Liz Ptacek fiction Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz Although I compulsively read them, I hate introductions in general, and especially those written for works of fiction. Recent attempts to tone down this distasteful reading habit have led me to jump to the first chapter as soon as I sense a spate of spoilers. In the case of Witold Gombrowicz's Trans-Atlantyk , though, I wish the introduction had focused solely on Stanislaw Baranczak's explanation of the philosophy that drove much of the action in this novel. The missing philosophy that would have given me a compass in much of the ensuing chaos. Back in , Gombrowicz traveled on a cruise ship from his native Poland to Argentina. It was a business trip.
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March Liz Ptacek fiction Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz Although I compulsively read them, I hate introductions in general, and especially those written for works of fiction. Recent attempts to tone down this distasteful reading habit have led me to jump to the first chapter as soon as I sense a spate of spoilers.
In the case of Witold Gombrowicz's Trans-Atlantyk , though, I wish the introduction had focused solely on Stanislaw Baranczak's explanation of the philosophy that drove much of the action in this novel. The missing philosophy that would have given me a compass in much of the ensuing chaos.
Back in , Gombrowicz traveled on a cruise ship from his native Poland to Argentina. It was a business trip. He and his colleague, both journalists, were on the maiden voyage of the Boleslaw Chrobry, a ship that celebrated the rebirth of Poland after the first World War. Gombrowicz was to act as a representative of this new Polish culture, to reassure the large community of Polish emigrants in Buenos Aires that their homeland had not been truly destroyed.
Unfortunately, the arrival of this cruise ship coincided almost precisely with the German invasion of Poland. When the travelers reached Argentina, many turned around immediately to defend their country. Gombrowicz, on the other hand, remained in Buenos Aires for 24 years, attempting to cull a living from his writing and, more successfully, from a job at the Polish Bank. He told a story about a man named Gombrowicz, who traveled to Argentina on a cruise ship and decided not to return to Poland at the outbreak of World War II for dubious reasons.
Slug that she might ever more enslime you! Apart from being a good read, Trans-Atlantyk embodies a philosophy of life that Baranczak clarifies remarkably well in the introduction.
The cliffs notes are as follows: the individual is in constant conflict with society the old Man v. Society, for those of us who took notes in English. As Gombrowicz sees it, man is torn between submitting to the will of society, which robs him of all freedom, and following his own will, which entails breaking with society altogether.
Neither extreme is attainable, so we are stuck murkily in between. My synopsis is inelegant, but this philosophy comes to life as the narrator struggles to break with his homeland and finds himself isolated in a foreign country.
Gombrowicz cannot reject his ancestry when his first hope is to find a relocated relative, nor renounce Poland when he finds himself reporting to the foreign consulate.
Armed thus, I found myself entranced from beginning to end. Turns out, Gombrowicz truly is a master of controlled chaos. Normally when the reader unravels a tangled word cluster, she is rewarded with meaning. Very rarely can she be denied this reward and still come away satisfied.
Gombrowicz has succeeded where so many beatniks would later fail; he creates his own language so that his meaning can be found in the very syntax of his book.
His technique is enjoyable, beautiful in fact, to observe.
Many consider Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz one of the greatest writers of the past hundred years and Danuta Borchardt is undoubtedly one of his finest translators. I focused first on its deviation from the literary to the colloquial language of the less educated folk yes, their language is different both in Polish and in English and of the Polish peasantry. So what would be the English equivalents, more or less? No, this is an English dialect and not for American readers. One of the American dialects? It seemed I was being clever in this line of thinking but something seemed out of kilter.
Learn more about the actions Yale University Press is taking. Skip to main content. An Alternate Translation. Description Reviews Awards. A brilliant, semiautobiographical satirical novel from one of the foremost figures in twentieth-century Polish literature, now in a new English translation Considered by many to be among the greatest writers of the past hundred years, Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz explores the modern predicament of exile and displacement in a disintegrating world in his acclaimed classic Trans-Atlantyk. Witold Gombrowicz — is the author of four novels, several plays, and one major nonfiction work. Danuta Borchardt is an award-winning translator.
Translating Trans-Atlantyk: Behind the Scenes with Danuta Borchardt
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Trans-atlantyk A novel by Witold Gombrowicz. Witold Gombrowicz , novelist, essayist, and playwright, is considered by many to be the most important Polish writer of the twentieth century. Author of four novels, several plays, and a highly acclaimed Diary , he was a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature in Trans-Atlantyk is a semi-autobiographical, satirical novel that throws into heightened perspective all of Gombrowicz's major literary, philosophical, psychological, and social concerns.