WHY WAS GUSTAW HERLING-GRUDZINSKI AFRAID OF MEETING WITOLD GOMBROWICZ ? (Dlaczego Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski bal sie spotkac z Witoldem Gombrowiczem?)
This article explores the specific biographical and literary/intertextual relationship between Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski and Witold Gombrowicz. Their biographic relations are unclear: Herling-Grudzinski first met Gombrowicz between the two world wars but did not renew the acquaintance with Witold when WW2 was over, although both authors were contributing at that time to the Paris-based 'Kultura' monthly. The reason might have been that Gombrowicz's ideological and philosophical stance was unacceptable to him. Hence, Herling-Grudzinski's continual engagement in polemics with Gombrowicz, which actually started in 1938 with his highly critical review of the novel 'Ferdydurke', and was subsequently continued in his multivolume diary 'Dziennik pisany noca'. The dispute was formally expressed in the area of the poetics of diary but concerned issues more fundamental than that: the way literature is (to be) understood, the writer's duty with respect to (a) community and, first and foremost, the concept of reality and a model of subjectivity (human being).
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