Diary

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Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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:
"Monday
Me.
Tuesday
Me.
Wednesday
Me.
Thursday
Me."

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 This edition also includes ten previously unpublished pages from the 1969 portion of the diary.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Review of Books - John Bayley
"Ferdydurke is certainly a spontaneous work, but the Diary is even more so, and . . . even more rewarding."—John Bayley, New York Review of Books
New York Times - Czeslaw Milosz

“Having this book in my hands, I felt a joy at the thought that strong personalities, like that of Gombrowicz, sooner or later find recognition thanks to the sheer intensity of their existence.”—Czeslaw Milosz, New York Times 
Washington Post - Paul West

“If ever a life demanded a diary, this was one.”—Paul West, Washington Post

 

ABC of Reading - Thomas McGonigle

"Yale University Press by reprinting in a beautiful fat paperback an up-dated complete edition of the Diaries of Witold Gombrowicz has done a singular important, essential and remarkable job."—Thomas McGonigle, ABC of Reading
Paris Review Daily

“Widely considered the Polish author’s masterpiece . . . the Diary lacks for nothing: history, politics, philosophy, literature, art, music, love, death, humor, communism, Poland, Europe, writing—everything is there.”—Paris Review Daily
New Yorker

“A heroic translation . . . English-speaking readers can finally experience the diary as Gombrowicz intended it—as a single, coherent work . . . his major creative endeavor.”—Ruth Franklin, New Yorker

Bookforum - Eric Banks

“The spiky brilliance and episodes of vivid experience that share the pages of the Diary with essay-length reflections give the collection as a whole a restive, fugitive rhythm. . . . A provocative experience.”—Eric Banks, Bookforum
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In novels and plays such as Comos, Pornografia and The Marriage, Polish avant-garde writer Gombrowicz delineated the colossal pressures that impinge on us from all sides and force us to falsify our existence. His Diary, kept as an expatriate in Argentina, is a soaring work of the spirit that redeems the crushing uneventfulness of daily reality. The writer rails at his fellow Poles to stop imitating the West and explore their own identity. He delivers a scathing indictment of the Communist collective mentality, yet he finds little to applaud in what he considers American provincialism. By turns lofty and clowning, combative and profound, this first of three projected volumes confronts the spiritual paralysis of our time. Gombrowicz calls his journals ``chaotic scribbling,'' but he comes across as a latter-day prophet, resolutely true to himself. (January 22)
Library Journal
Once described as the world's greatest unknown writer, Gombrowicz fled to Argentina after being exiled from his native Poland by the Nazis and the Communists. The first volume of Diary showed him to be ``a witty, acerb satirist. . . . But his force compels and deserves a wider audience'' ( LJ 2/1/88).-- MR
From the Publisher
"I am absolutely sure that this translation will be considered a great event in American intellectual life." —Stanislaw Baranczak

"Having this book in my hands, I felt a joy at the thought that strong personalities like that of Gombrowicz, sooner or later find recognition thanks to the sheer intensity of their existence." —Czeslaw Milosz, New York Review of Books

"The Diary is truly a work of magisterial proportions—in scale, depth, range, intimacy, originality, provocativeness. . . . Indeed there are some for whom the Diary stands even higher than Gombrowicz's own fiction."

—Louis Iribarne

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300118063
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Series: Margellos World Republic of Letters Series
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 800
  • Sales rank: 987,194
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Witold Gombrowicz (1904–1969) was a Polish-born writer of novels, short stories, and plays. His works have been translated into more than thirty languages. Lillian Vallee, an instructor at Modesto Junior College, is an award-winning translator of literature from the Polish. 
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Table of Contents

Introduction by Wojciech Karpinski
1953
1954
1955
1956
Against Poets
Sienkiewicz
Afterword by Jan Kott

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