cover image Diary Volume 2

Diary Volume 2

Witold Gombrowicz. Northwestern University Press, $18 (239pp) ISBN 978-0-8101-0717-5

Nearly every moment is lived at fever pitch in this dark, exhilarating masterpiece, penned by Polish novelist-playwright Gombrowicz (1904-1969) during his exile in Argentina. An uprooted aristocrat intellectual who sought to remake himself in existential fashion, he combines lacerating self-irony with bold philosophical flights, biting social satire, travel notes, literary critiques, cafe talk, personal rants. In this second, fluently translated installment of a three-volume opus, he focuses his restless mind, in no particular order, on Polish culture, the certainty of death, lawyers, Hitler, Americans' infatuation with France, Borges, Mozart, the enslavement of workers under socialism and capitalism, abstract painting and sundry other topics. A rebel with a cause--himself--Gombrowicz should gain a wider readership with this rendition of his celebrated Diary. (July)