the great gombrowicz


Reading Witold Gombrowicz means confronting an artistic vision of extraordinary intensity, withering in its austerity, imperious in its dismissal of convention and cant, solicitous only of the truth, no matter how unpleasant or embarrassing.

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you. You will find out from your actions. But you must act as an “I,” as an individual, because you can be certain only of your own needs, inclinations, passions, necessities. Only this kind of action is direct and is a genuine extricating of yourself from chaos, self-creation. As for the rest: isn’t it mere recitation, execution of a preordained plan, rubbish, kitsch?

Here in his Diary, Gombrowicz proves as demanding of himself as he is of the world he recreates in his novels, stories, and plays. A relentless opponent of hypocrisy, pretension, and the romantic attitude toward life, he castigated the dehumanization rampant in the world around him.

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