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Gombrowicz, Polish Modernism, and the Subversion of Form


Publication Year: 2010

as well as providing a commentary on his novels, plays, and short stories, this book sets Gombrowicz's writing in the context of contemporary cultural theory. The author performs a detailed examination of Gombrowicz's major literary and theatrical work, showing how his conception of form is highly resonant with contemporary, postmodern theories of identity.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Comparative Cultural Studies


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. vi

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pp. 1-5

The Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz, while as central a figure to Polish literary modernism as Samuel Beckett or James Joyce are to English literature, remains relatively little known in the English-speaking world. This is in part the legacy of a wider Cold War-engendered undervaluation...

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Chapter One: Polish Modernism and the Problematics of Form

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pp. 6-31

In order to evaluate the modernist aesthetic practices such as those of Gombrowicz that took place in independent Poland and more specifically to account for their singularity and intensity, it is necessary to sketch out briefly some of the vicissitudes of Polish history. For the purposes of this...

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Chapter Two: Ferdydurke as Exemplary Symptomatology of and Resistance to (Polish) Modernity

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pp. 32-64

Gombrowicz's novel Ferdydurke, presents a demonic world of immaturity which, like the earlier novels by Witkacy such as Insatiability, is clearly also a symptomatology of modernity, interweaving philosophical speculations with parodic black humor and eroticism...

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Chapter Three: The Performativity and Theatricality of Form in Gombrowicz's Theater and Postwar Novels

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pp. 65-105

In this chapter I discuss how form in the work of Gombrowicz is a dynamic concept and therefore intimately linked to theater and performativity. Several critics have argued that this "performativity of form" is not limited to his plays but pervades his entire work. In fact the very concept...

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Chapter Four: Gombrowicz, Philosophy, and Culture

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pp. 106-135

While Gombrowicz never produced a conventional work of philosophy, his entire work is deeply engaged with the history of philosophy, particularly those currents leading to and beyond the philosophy of existentialism. Unlike Witkacy, who did actually produce such a work outlining...

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Conclusion: Gombrowicz and the Subversion of Form

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pp. 136-141

My reading of Cosmos opens directly onto Gombrowicz's project of the subversion of form, a project that also characterizes the thought of Deleuze. It is perhaps as an acknowledgment of this resonance that Deleuze makes an extremely brief reference to Gombrowicz at the beginning...

Works Cited

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pp. 143-149


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pp. 150-154

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781612490359
E-ISBN-10: 1612490352
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557535528
Print-ISBN-10: 1557535523

Page Count: 161
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Comparative Cultural Studies
Series Editor Byline: Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 821735047
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Gombrowicz, Polish Modernism, and the Subversion of Form

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Literary form.
  • Modernism (Literature) -- Poland.
  • Gombrowicz, Witold -- Aesthetics.
  • Gombrowicz, Witold -- Criticism and interpretation.
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