Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz

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In this bitterly funny novel a writer finds himself tossed into a chaotic world of schoolboys by a diabolical professor who wishes to reduce him to childishness. Originally published in Poland in 1937, Ferdydurke was deemed scandalous and subversive by Nazis, Stalinists, and the Polish Communist regime in turn and was officially banned in Poland for decades. It has nonetheless remained one of the most influential works of twentieth-century European literature.

"Ferdydurke, among its centrifugal charms, includes some of the truest and funniest literary satire in print."—John Updike

"A wonderfully subversive, self-absorbed, hilarious book. Think Kafka translated by Groucho Marx, with commentaries."—Kirkus Reviews

"The author's exuberant humor, suggesting the absurdist drama of Eugéne Ionesco, if not the short fiction of Franz Kafka, is readily apparent in this new translation. . . . Highly recommended."—Richard Koss, Library Journal

Winner of the 2001 National Translation Award given by the American Literary Translators Association


About Witold Gombrowicz

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Published April 24, 2012 by Yale University Press. 308 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ferdydurke

Kirkus Reviews

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all of this is related, throughout the book, to the power of attitudes (creeds, words, which can educate, fossilize or actually kill) versus the human tendency to fragment itself, spiritually and physically, in gestures.

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Kirkus Reviews

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Long banned in its author’s native Poland, this high-spirited satire (first published in 1937, and now available in a “first unabridged English translation”) on the regimentation that Gombrowicz (1904–69) foresaw as the destructive storm then approaching Europe has since been acclaimed as a moder...

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Publishers Weekly

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When the ghost is gone, Kowalski is driven to write, to create his own ""oeuvre,"" to be ""free to expound [his] own views."" A visitor arrives, a doctor of philosophy named Pimko.

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Project MUSE

Two of the actors (Tomica and Zgiet) worked with Gardzienice, another Polish alternative theatre troupe from the Lublin area, whose work is heavily influenced by Grotowski and is physical in a way that we seldom see in American theatre.

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