Regions of the Great Heresy: Bruno Schulz - A Biographical Portrait

Overview

"Bruno Schulz was one of the great writers....[His] verbal art strikes us—stuns, even—with its overload of beauty."—John Updike

Exactly sixty years after his death, Bruno Schulz (1892-1942) remains one of the twentieth century's greatest and most enigmatic writers—still the subject of front-page controversy. Here the renowned Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski presents the first biography of the man who, in the words of Isaac Bashevis Singer, "wrote sometimes like Kafka, sometimes like ...

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Overview

"Bruno Schulz was one of the great writers....[His] verbal art strikes us—stuns, even—with its overload of beauty."—John Updike

Exactly sixty years after his death, Bruno Schulz (1892-1942) remains one of the twentieth century's greatest and most enigmatic writers—still the subject of front-page controversy. Here the renowned Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski presents the first biography of the man who, in the words of Isaac Bashevis Singer, "wrote sometimes like Kafka, sometimes like Proust, and at times succeeded in reaching depths that neither of them reached." In his novels and stories—The Street of Crocodiles, Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass, and his missing masterpiece, The Messiah—Schulz employed a baroque, poetic style with a stunning surrealist edge. Including many of Schulz's paintings and personal letters as well as new information on the Mossad's theft of Schulz's murals from Poland in 2001, Regions of the Great Heresy is a cause for international celebration—a long-awaited work that will spark a renaissance of interest in Schulz's life. Published on the 60th anniversary of Schulz's death. 16 pages of color, 16 pages of black-and-white illustrations.

Author Biography: Jerzy Ficowski has studied Bruno Schulz's life since the 1940s. He lives in Poland. Theodosia Robertson is an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A richly analytical literary biography lovingly portrays an obscure author's life. A writer's writer, Schulz (1892-1942) was born in a part of Poland controlled by Austria, and he spent his entire life there, teaching art and mathematics in a small-town school. He was a sickly child, timid and shy, and remained a lifelong bachelor. When he published his first collection of ghostly short stories, Cinnamon Shops, in 1933, he became a literary sensation overnight-though the high modernism of this Jewish writer's work was to make him a favorite neither of the Nazis nor of the Soviets, who years later would march into his town. He published only one more book in his lifetime. Biographer and poet Ficowski, using chapter headings like "Phantoms and Reality" and "Magic and Definition," makes clear that his interest is chiefly in the nature of Schulz's work. Throughout, he comments on his own experiences in researching his subject-the letters he found, the trips he took to Schulz's house-while referring to Schulz's themes. The writer's potent imagination, his biographer makes clear, compensated for his provincialism. His father looms large in the stories as an almost God-like force, and his mother as an ever-present busybody, a symbol of the mundanity of life. Schulz's weak constitution also contributed to his work, a subject touched on with a sense of finitude and trepidation. It's wrong to compare Schulz with Kafka, writes Ficowski, for Schulz didn't feel an existential ennui, but rather a conviction that the bottom was going to fall out of things, and that therefore everything was in a kind of floating state. An extensive chronology of the writer's life is supplied, along with a collection ofSchulz's letters. In his introduction, Ficowski says that he aimed for a biography that everyone could refer to in researching Schulz. The result is a sure bet for literary scholars, though others might find it tough going.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393051476
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/1902
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.88 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction: A Living Book 11
Acknowledgments 21
1 I Found the Authentic (In Place of a Prologue) 25
2 Bruno, Son of Jacob 33
3 Return to School 45
4 The Prehistory and Origin of Cinnamon Shops 57
5 The Book, Or Childhood Regained 71
6 Schulzian Time 81
7 Phantoms and Reality 91
8 Excursions Abroad 103
9 Magic and Definition 115
10 A Settling of Accounts 127
11 Works Preserved and Lost 141
12 Awaiting Messiah - A Postscript 155
13 The Last Fairy Tale of Bruno Schulz 163
Letters 173
A Chronology of the Life and Works of Bruno Schulz 207
Notes 227
Index 241
About Bruno Schulz 252
About the Author 253
About the Translator 255
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