Bruno Schulz. On the map of Poland the town hides itself from you; you have to search out the tiniest print to discover Drogobych. In this cramped crevice of a place Schulz too hid himself—though not from the Nazis. Urged on by a group of writers, the Polish underground devised a means of escape—false papers and a hiding place. By Bruno Schulz.
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Bruno Schulz. On the map of Poland the town hides itself from you; you have to search out the tiniest print to discover Drogobych. In this cramped crevice of a place Schulz too hid himself—though not from the Nazis.
Urged on by a group of writers, the Polish underground devised a means of escape—false papers and a hiding place. By Bruno Schulz. Translated by Celina Wieniewska. Writers From the Other Europe Series. Edited by Philip Roth.
New York: Penguin Books. Schulz chose to die unhidden in Drogobych. But even before. He knew its streets, their houses and shops with a paralyzed intimacy. His environment and his family digested him. He was incapable of leaving home, of marrying, at first even of writing.
On a drab salary, in a job he despised, he supported a small band of relations, and though he visited Warsaw and Lvov, and once even went as far as Paris, he gave up larger places, minds, and lives for the sake of Drogobych—or, rather, for the sake of the gargoylish and astonishing map his imagination had learned to draw of an invisible Drogobych contrived entirely out of language. In English there is virtually no biographical information to be had concerning Schulz.
It is a powerful omission. In this dark the familiar looms freakish, and all of these—Babel as Cossack Jew, Singer purveying his imps and demiurges, Kafka with his measured and logical illogic—offer mutations, weird births, essences and occasions never before suspected. As in Kafka, the malevolent is deadpan; its loveliness of form is what we notice. At the heart of the malevolent—also the repugnant, the pitiless—crouches the father: Schulz's own father, since there is an inviolable autobiographical glaze that paints over every distortion.
The father is a shopkeeper, the owner of a dry goods store. He gets. All this is novelist's material, and we are made to understand it in the usual way of novels. But parallel with.. Rooms in houses are forgotten, misplaced. A bicycle ascends into the Zodiac. Even death is somehow indefinite; a murk, a confusion. He could not even earn an honest.
The maid rules the master with ominous and magisterial positions of her fingers—she points, waggles, tickles. In Kafka's myth, it is the powerless son who turns into a cockroach; here it is the father who has lost control. Everything is loosened; it is not that the center does not hold; there never was a center. Such metaphysical specters have their historical undersides. Home shifts, its forms are unreliable, demons rule.
Why, indeed, should these writers be the very ones almost to invent the literary signposts of such crevices? Gogol came first, it is true; but it the Slavic Jews who have leaped into the fermenting vat.
The shock of Schulz's images brings us the authentic bedevilment of the Europe we are heir to. Schulz's life was cut short. Archives The Street of Crocodiles. View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.
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The Street of Crocodiles
Weird and probably wonderful. The translation was so overstuffed with adjectives that it felt overwritten although the original intention may well have been a heightened and overwrought reality. Denser and harder to read than I had anticipated, this was unsettling but not in a creepy way. This less anovel than a collection of oddities, a freakish notebook of squirming detail. There was an association to be made between Schulz's "father" in the novel and the Father in Kafka's The Judgement. The Street of Crocodiles. Bruno Schulz.
The Street of Crocodiles and Other Stories Reader’s Guide
One of the most memorable moments of my life is opening this book for the first time. A university student standing in a secondhand bookshop, I remember reading the first page and my heart beginning to beat faster, as though — suddenly, somehow — I was holding a handful of priceless jewels. A minute later I bought the book, for 50 pence, and I still own the copy. Sometimes I think that one aspect of my outlook on life is the direct result of this magnificent book — it's my love of the physical world; or, more precisely, the physical world transformed through the use of words. On that first page alone, a boy — Schulz as a child, I think — tells us about the "naked heat of summer", about "apricots in whose golden pulp lay the core of long afternoon", about "sides of meat with their keyboard of ribs swollen with energy and strength", about "the squares of brightness dreaming their intense dreams on the floor", and then a beautiful young woman draws the blinds so that "all colours fell an octave lower".
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Like many of them, he was Jewish, and like too many of them — that is, any of them — his career and life were cut short. The Street of Crocodiles , tr. I was right and wrong: what we have is clearly more than a collection of discrete stories. Equally it is not quite a novel; it is more a story cycle, with recurring characters and themes, where the end and the beginning are arbitrary, and the potential seems infinite. Here is a new way of looking at the world. The writing is vivid and violent, the imagery superabundant, the imagination unfettered. Typically for great writing, the subject is secondary to inseparable from the treatment.
The Street of Crocodiles Polish : Sklepy cynamonowe , lit. First published in Polish, the collection was translated into English by Celina Wieniewska in Schulz's earliest literary endeavors can probably be dated back to Although it was already in that Schultz wrote the short story A July Night , it was included in the second volume entitled Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass which was published in All Debora Vogel's efforts to have Schulz's works published were in vain. The original title of the collection can be literally translated into English as "Cinnamon Shops. Cinnamon shops mentioned by the narrator of the story are situated in the centre of the town where the narrator lives.