Highcastle: A Remembrance

Overview

Stanislaw Lem's Highcastle is at once a remembrance and a meditation. Even as Lem gives an account of his childhood in Lvov in the years between the two world wars, he ponders the nature of memory, innocence, and the imagination. His recollections of growing up the son of a bourgeois doctor at Number 4 Brajerska Street are stunningly evocative, re-creating with acuity a boy's perception of the world around him: his gossipy French tutor; the magical window of Zalewski's Confectionery; his father's anatomy books ...
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New York 1995 Hard cover 1st U. S. ed. In mylar cover, shows light rub wear. 146 p.; 22 cm. -92- "A Helen and Kurt Wolff book".

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NY 1995 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Book. 12mo-over 6?-7?" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing).

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Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. 1995 Hardcover New 0151402183. Flawless.

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Overview

Stanislaw Lem's Highcastle is at once a remembrance and a meditation. Even as Lem gives an account of his childhood in Lvov in the years between the two world wars, he ponders the nature of memory, innocence, and the imagination. His recollections of growing up the son of a bourgeois doctor at Number 4 Brajerska Street are stunningly evocative, re-creating with acuity a boy's perception of the world around him: his gossipy French tutor; the magical window of Zalewski's Confectionery; his father's anatomy books and carefully hidden French pornography; a trip to Klaften's Toy Shop; an aborted visit to a tattooed lady at the Eastern Fair; the trams, organ grinders, and halvah stands of Lvov.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Growing up in Lvov, Poland (now in Ukraine), in the 1920s and '30s, science fiction writer Lem shared a six-room apartment with his parents yet had no room of his own and often slept in the bed in which his grandparents had died. As this remarkably candid memoir/meditation reveals, Lem became a resentful, lonely child, terrorizing aunts or playmates and destroying toys and gramophones. He feared insects, avoided stepping on sidewalk cracks and obsessed over food, the ceiling, an iron chest left by his grandfather. Lem revered and feared his father, an otolaryngologist, and stealthily pored over his anatomy texts and naughty illustrated French novels. In the author's science fiction, machines are lifelike; significantly, as a boy he believed he could mentally interact with inanimate objects, causing a penknife, for instance, to reproduce. This reminiscence, which closes with his first year of medical school, in 1940, is interlaced with soaring reflections on art, memory, innocence, faith and myth. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The author of Peace on Earth (LJ 8/94) and many other works of science fiction reflects on his childhood in Lvov between the two world wars. Characteristically, Lem focuses more on objects than on people-his toys (and his destructive impulses toward them), the sights of the town, its sweet shops, his classes and teachers, and Highcastle (the part of town where the children luxuriated in their freedom when classes were canceled). The memoir takes a fascinating, unexpected direction when Lem meditates on the first manifestations of his artistic impulses and the nature of art (especially modern): his creation of many false passports, identification papers, and other bureaucratic documents ("a kingdom of universal permission"), and his building of many pseudo radio apparatuses. These thoughts are counterbalanced by bittersweet descriptions of the meticulous (and useless) military training the young men were given in the last years of the gymnasium. An intelligent, evocative examination of youth and memory; for literary collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/95.]-Richard Kuczkowski, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
Ray Olson
The great Polish science fiction writer recollects his childhood, and it is how the world looked to him and why he did what he did rather than what precisely happened that he strives to describe. His wasn't an eventful youth, after all, and his reigning boyish passions--at first, to disassemble and thereby destroy his toys and anything else that could be taken apart; later, to create documents of a universal bureaucracy of which he was the sole real-life functionary--are what, far more than any public occurrence of the middle European 1920s and 1930s in which he grew up, give his memoir its fascination. Finally, Lem confesses, he fails in his attempt to understand himself as a child, except by calling his peculiar boyish habits those of an unconscious artist. Meanwhile, he has made a small gem of the literary autobiographer's art.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780151402182
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.59 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanislaw Lem is the most widely translated and best known science fiction author writing outside of the English language. Winner of the Kafka Prize, he is a contributor to many magazines, including the New Yorker, and he is the author of numerous works, including Solaris.

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