Programme compiled by: András Pályi • Director: László Harsányi Sulyom • Series producer: Tibor Keresztury
Poland is one of the guest countries for this year’s Bridging Europe Festival, and Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969) is unquestionably one of its most internationally recognised writers. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Gombrowicz developed a cult following and popular fan base in Hungary with his extensive series of published books, especially the three-part Diaries. It is no surprise, therefore, that his great, sceptical works, which have since become a part of world literature, his individual writing style and emblematic character will now enrich the programme of the Literarium festival series. According to András Pályi, one of Hungary’s most accomplished students of Gombrowicz’s work and the compiler of the evening’s programme, Gombrowicz was one of the liveliest and most controversial Polish writers, both a classic writer in Poland and one of international significance. He was at the same time both Polish and anti-Polish, and once said that ‘I serve society by not serving it.’ Gombrowicz was born into a landowning family and studied law, yet achieved international recognition as an avant-garde writer. His most important works were written outside of his home country, while residing in South America and France, yet with its clearly visible influences, his work has still been organically incorporated into modern Polish literature. According to Czesław Miłosz, ‘Gombrowicz’s sensitivity towards human suffering protected him from the illusive nature that characterises much of the literature conceived under the enchantment of structuralism.’
This performance is based on the Diaries, but it will also include three plays, Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy, the Wedding and Operetta, while other forms of Gombrowicz’s prose will also feature, as we attempt to interpret the writer’s messages in response to some of the burning issues of the present day.
Commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Polska Music programme and the international POLSKA 100 programmes celebrating the centenary of the declaration of Polish independence; financed as part of the NIEPODLEGŁA 2017-2021 of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
Photo credit: Oswald Malura