He was a writer and painter killed by the Nazis in Poland in 1942, and for generations of Europeans he has been as revered a figure as Franz Kafka. Now a major illustrated critical biography of the man and his work, by another major Polish figure, Jerzy Ficowski, has been translated into English for the first time, and Norton senior editor Robert Weil preempted it, for a large sum and in the face of considerable interest among other serious publishers. Weil bought world rights to the book, called Regions of the Great Heresy , from Alan Adelson, executive director of Jewish Heritage, who acts as Ficowski's agent here, and he will be selling them at Frankfurt. Ficowski published an earlier version of the book more than 30 years ago, and its expanded appearance has been, said Weil, keenly awaited among Schulz's countless admirers. Schulz is chiefly known here as the author of The Street of Crocodiles (Penguin) and Sanitarium Under the Sign of the Hourglass (Houghton).