Diary (The Margellos World Republic of Letters)
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Just before the outbreak of World War II, young Witold Gombrowicz left his home in Poland and set sail for South America. In 1953, still living as an expatriate in Argentina, he began his Diary with one of literature's most memorable openings:
Gombrowicz's Diary grew to become a vast collection of essays, short notes, polemics, and confessions on myriad subjects ranging from political events to literature to the certainty of death. Not a traditional journal, Diary is instead the commentary of a brilliant and restless mind. Widely regarded as a masterpiece, this brilliant work compelled Gombrowicz's attention for a decade and a half until he penned his final entry in France, shortly before his death in 1969.
Long out of print in English, Diary is now presented in a convenient single volume featuring a new preface by Rita Gombrowicz, the author's widow and literary executor. This edition also includes ten previously unpublished pages from the 1969 portion of the diary.
the picture in brighter colors, to lend it as much expression as possible. That is why your literature is a magniﬁcation of Communism and in your imagination you build a phenomenon that is so powerful and so extraordinary that it doesn’t take much more for you to fall to your knees before it. Therefore, I ask you: wouldn’t it be more in keeping with history and with our knowledge of man and the world if you treated the world from behind the curtain not as a new, incredible, and demonic world but
art, nor that I am (and this was said, too) an enemy of art, nor that I doubt its importance and meaning. I only claim that it acts differently than we think. I am angered that an ignorance of this mechanism makes us inauthentic exactly at the point where honesty has the greatest worth. And it angers me most in Poles. Our Slavic attitude to artistic matters is lax. We are less involved in art than the Western European nations and so we can afford a greater freedom of movement. This is exactly
The fact that our language does not drastically change after we step across the fatal boundary line, that there is no abyss between Beethoven’s ﬁrst and last sonatas that cannot be ﬁlled, is proof positive that man in his individual existence cannot express himself, that he is silence, that he is deprived of expression. Current French thought about death is exceptionally artiﬁcial to me as are all the other memento mori. They constitute one more example of the degree to which our thoughts are
believed in Communism, that he is a devastated intellectual and that he has risen to participate in the last heroic battle as a devastated intellectual. This beggar, enamored of his own Job-like nakedness, this bankrupt engrossed in his bankruptcy, has probably voluntarily limited his chances for effective resistance. Mi™osz’s mistake—this is how I see it and it is a mistake that is quite prevalent—consists of his reducing himself to the level of the poverty that he describes. Afraid of rhetoric
the whole problem of writing poetry. Why did the battle, which had developed in the press from this article, not introduce anything worthy of attention? My opponents, if they had actually wanted to understand my position, would have had to conceive of it against the background of the great revision of values that is taking place now in all ﬁelds. What is it based on? On the uncovering of the backstage of our theater. On the revelation that phenomena are not that which they would like to appear to