The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / Life  % width posts: 94

Polish authors, books & literature.


Torq
24 Apr 2011 #31
Hmm... a tough question...

My personal ranking...

Top 5 Polish novelists - contemporary (plus one novel for each, that I think is worth recommending):

1. Eustachy Rylski / Warunek
2. Andrzej Sapkowski / Trylogia husycka
3. Wiesław Myśliwski / Traktat o łuskaniu fasoli
4. Jacek Dukaj / Lód
5. Tadeusz Nowakowski / Obóz wszystkich świętych

You asked for novelists, but if you're interested in eseists too, then you have to check essays by
Herbert, Karpiński, Markowski, Świderkówna, Lipski, Jasienica, Stempowski, Brandys, Kałużyński...
just off the top of my head. There's so much great stuff, but it depends on what you're interested in
(art, history, religion, literature, film).

Top 5 All Time, this was even more difficult, but here goes...

1. Witold Gombrowicz / Ferdydurke (but you simply HAVE TO read his Dzienniki)
2. Maria Dąbrowska / Noce i dnie (if you're looking for beautiful pure polszczyzna, then Dąbrowska
and Iwaszkiewicz are your writers)
3. Władysław Reymont / Ziemia obiecana
4. Florian Czarnyszewicz / Nadberezyńcy
5. Stefan Żeromski / Wierna rzeka (a very personal choice, family matters)

You only asked for novels, so I didn't name poets, but you don't really know Polish literature, if you
haven't read works of Mickiewicz and Słowacki - great classics. As for other novelists, you should check
Sienkiewicz's book - some say it's "second rate" literature, but it depicts Polish heart and soul quite
well.
mephias 10 | 296
24 Apr 2011 #32
Then I would recommend the aforementioned writers, and a few others

Thank you, I am interested in literature and living in Poland but haven't read any Polish books yet trying to determine where to start. I made a small research it seems there are translations available for the books you mentioned which is good. Any recommendation from modern Polish literature ?
Krynski - | 82
24 Apr 2011 #33
Any recommendation from modern Polish literature ?

I would strongly recommend Edward Redlinski (b. 1940) - perhaps the most prominent living Polish novelist. But as far as I know, he hasn't been translated into English. I'd recommend his "Awans" (the original version, not the rewritten one), "Konopielka", "Szczuropolacy" (about Polish immigrants in New York), brilliant reportages, e.g. "Ja w nerwowej sprawie".

Another good more recent Polish novelist (and poet) is Edward Stachura ("Cala jakrawosc", "Siekierezada" - novels, brilliant short stories, "Wszystko jest poezja" - essays). He is, or rather was (d. 1979), a hippie-mystic type.

Another distinguished Polish novelist, short story writer and poet is Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz (1894-1980). A few very good movies are based on his prose - Kawalerowicz's "Mother Joanna of the Angels", Wajda's "The Birch Wood" and "The Maids of Wilko".
boletus 30 | 1,361
24 Apr 2011 #35
Krynski

"Konopielka"

x2
Also available online, 1Mb pdf file.
But be prepared for some "culture shock" and a (stylized?) peasant dialect from NE Poland. Here is a sample from the first page:

Jesienio gospodarze wstajo długo, po trochu, posmakować lubio. Jakby taki był, co by widział przez ściany i przez ciemno, to on by może i widział co gospodarze robio jak koguty w sieniach odśpiewajo im trzecie pobudkę.

Przecknąwszy sie oczow nie odmykajo, leżo, leżo sobie pod pierzynami jak bochenki w piecach, jak w gniazdach jajka pod kurami, każdy rozgrzany, rozpalony, baba jemu do pleców przylipła, dycha w szyje aż parzy, w nogach ciepło, w łokciach ciepło, pod pachami ciepło, aj dobrze, żaden nie ruszy sie, nie drygnie, żeb tego swojego przytuliska, ciepliska Broń Boże nie zruszyć, leży, poleży, jeszcze trochu, troszku, aj nie chce sie z gniazda ciepłego wyłazić. Ale to że tam dzieś słonko sie ocknęło i czas wstawać, świdruje to, poszturchuje.

Krynski - | 82
24 Apr 2011 #36
But be prepared for some "culture shock" and a (stylized?) peasant dialect from NE Poland.

What "culture shock"? Do you believe some rural folks in other countries, e.g. Britain or America, don't behave as "shockingly" as the farmers in "Konopielka"?
boletus 30 | 1,361
24 Apr 2011 #37
Take it easy! The term "culture shock", when used in some silly context, quite often makes me laugh and this is why I put it in quotes.
Krynski - | 82
24 Apr 2011 #38
Take it easy!

Have I been taking it hard?
boletus 30 | 1,361
24 Apr 2011 #39
Here is a little pearl, which I discovered last year in a local store:
F. Antoni Ossendowski, Huculszczyzna, Gorgany i Czarnohora, Cuda Polski, reprint on the basis of the first edition, Wydawnictwo Polskie, Poznań [1936]

[The entire series of "Cuda Polski" used to be banned from Polish libraries during the communism]

Antoni Ferdynand Ossendowski (1876-1945) was the second author, after Sieńkiewicz, having the largest number of translations into foreign languages (142 translations in 19 languages ). Highly original, colorful character, having an exceptionally turbulent life. The writer, thinker-futurologist, journalist and editor of several journals, a passionate hunter, wildlife expert, explorer-globetrotter, doctor of Chemical Sciences, professor of many universities, a member of the French Academy. At some point in his life, a revolutionary activist and strong opponent of the Bolsheviks. He was the author of four volumes published in the series "Miracles of Poland": Huculszczyzna, Gorgany and Czarnohora; the Carpathians and the Subcarpathia; Polesie and the Wild Forests of Poland. [Translated by me, from the book's cover]

See also: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ossendowski

On the surface, this book supposes to be just a tourist/anthropologic/ethnographic guide to the Eastern part of the Carpathian mountains, now Ukraine, east of Polish Bieszczady. But this is more than that: the author's unbeatable sense of observation and rich vocabulary makes this little book a real pleasure to read. Anyone frequenting Bieszczady would also find it a very valuable source of information about Hucul peoples, and their customs and art. Plenty of white and black photographs and sketches supplement the author's colourful language.
pawian 223 | 24,567
24 Apr 2011 #40
Jan Brzechwa, a Jewish Pole/Polish Jew, who wrote excellent poems and stories for kids.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Brzechwa

Jan Brzechwa - AT THE VEGETABLE STALL
AdamKadmon 2 | 499
24 Apr 2011 #41
Janusz Głowacki Z głowy

W Trójkącie Bermudzkim

Bar Przechodni był położony mniej więcej naprzeciwko Hybryd, nocnego klubu studenckiego, ale tylko teoretycznie. Na bramce stał tam obecnie znany producent filmowy, który wpuszczał za dychę wszystkich: uczennice, badylarzy, cinkciarzy, aktorki, piosenkarzy, tajniaków i czternastoletnią Ewunię, która na pytanie ojca: "Czy ty aby, córeczko, za wcześnie nie zaczynasz?", odpowiadała: "Tatusiu, ja już zaczynam wychodzić z obiegu"...

.................

Niewierna Klaudia

Z mroków Trójkąta Bermudzkiego na Mokotowskiej wyłania się wspomnienie czystego uczucia miłości do niewiernej Klaudii. Chwilę przedtem, a może trochę później, rzuciła mnie prześliczna modelka Anna Maria, o której i dla której napisano piosenkę "Anna Maria smutną ma twarz", a chóry dziecięce śpiewały ją na festiwalu w Sopocie.
boletus 30 | 1,361
24 Apr 2011 #42
Janusz Głowacki Z głowy

Great, I enjoy his witty humour appearing in these little stories from both sides of the Atlantic: "Bronek i Roksana", "Arthur Miller i Joseph Papp", etc.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,288
24 Apr 2011 #43
Antoni Ferdynand Ossendowski

Here is a link to an English translation of his book Beasts, Men and Gods [librivox.org/beasts-men-and-gods-by-ferdinand-ossendowski/] I highly recommend it both as an account of the tumultuous Red vs. White war in Siberia and Mongolia and also as a rich first-hand account of a Pole coming face to face with the magical shamanistic and Buddhistic East.
leighpod - | 4
24 Apr 2011 #44
What about Gabriela Zapolska?
pawian 223 | 24,567
24 Apr 2011 #45
Not bad as a writer. In personal life - a quarrelsome man-hater.
boletus 30 | 1,361
24 Apr 2011 #46
Many Polish books of the historical genre - especially those written abroad - are bitter and argumentative. Jarosław Abramow-Newerly, son of Igor Newerly - the author of "Pamiątka z Celulozy", or "Chłopiec z Salskich Stepów" - somehow manages to talk about controversial issues with the great sense of humour. I like his book "Granica Sokoła", Styl, Warszawa 2001, where he easily moves from Zaleszczyki, to Czortków in Tarnopole voivodship, and later to Warsaw and finally to Toronto, Canada - covering about 80 years of time, and exposing the reader to various cultures (Polish, Ukrainian, Jewish, Russian) and beliefs, including hardcore Communism.

- To moje hobby, panie Jarosławie. I sens życia. £owię te perły od czasu studiów (...) Oto strofy pańskiego mistrza, mistrzu:
AdamKadmon 2 | 499
25 Apr 2011 #47
Tadeusz Borowski (Errata do biografii)
Nathan 18 | 1,349
25 Apr 2011 #48
Władysław Reymont / Ziemia obiecana

Liked it a lot.
pawian 223 | 24,567
25 Apr 2011 #49
Agreed. Both the book and film. Great soundtrack, BTW.
Nathan 18 | 1,349
26 Apr 2011 #50
I haven't seen the movie. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks, pawian.
AdamKadmon 2 | 499
26 Apr 2011 #51
Feliks Topolski

What a great philosophy. Lie down when you can and it doesn't matter what goes on around you.

Jerzy Szaniawski
gumishu 15 | 6,184
26 Apr 2011 #52
Andrzej Sapkowski - a fantasy writer (mostly) - The Last Wish - translated into English by a Polish translator - I heaven't read it in English though - just read it in Polish quite some time ago but I did like it - still I have read many favorable English reviews on the Amazom
boletus 30 | 1,361
26 Apr 2011 #53
Paweł Huelle, Castorp

Quite different from, although kind of complementary to Grass'es "The Tin Drum", or Mann's "The Magic Mountain".
Des Essientes 7 | 1,288
26 Apr 2011 #54
Castorp

Castorp was the protagonist's surname in The Magic Mountain.
boletus 30 | 1,361
26 Apr 2011 #56
Castorp was the protagonist's surname in The Magic Mountain.

Right. This is the obvious connection, which escaped me - thanks for pointing it out. It has been long time since my introduction to "Czarodziejska Góra". Memory, memory! All I remember from "The Buddenbrooks" is one or two details and the general climate but that's about it.

Oh, I forgot to mention: the Castorp has been translated into English.
boletus 30 | 1,361
27 Apr 2011 #58
Andrzej Stasiuk

I read two of his books.

"Opowieści galicyjskie" ("Galician tales") - a semi-fictional travel to a god-forgotten village in the provincial Carpatian foothills - back in time to the last days of PRL and early post-communist times. Some fragments are almost brutal in their exposition of immoral characters of some villagers. Not quite "The Delivery", but tough to read sometimes.

"Jadąc do Babadag" ("Travelling to Babadag"), a nostalgic report from the "second class" Europe: Ukraine, Romania, Hungary. The action is set during the post-communist transformation period. Attention to details, great observation ability, good style. I liked this book.

Here is a fragment from his profile on culture.pl:
[i]
More than a cult

by J. Andruchowycz, translated B. Zadura
boletus 30 | 1,361
29 Apr 2011 #60
Here is a link to an English translation of his book Beasts, Men and Gods.

I actually picked up the online book you recommended from the Gutenberg project. Reading it - with Google maps handy - has been fun to some point, when I started doubting authenticity of the events he describes. I had this sinking feeling of déjà vu: many years ago I was being similarly entertained by S. Rawicz's book, "The long walk" - up to the point where he described his encounter with yeti and which prompted me to carefully scrutinize the book and discover some other nonsense or publicly known facts which were claimed by Rawicz as his unique experience.

So I looked around and I found this project: "In search of the Ja Lama, The Life and Death of Dambijantsan", Don Croner, dambijantsan.doncroner.com.

In the draft of the first chapter Croner describes his initial fascination by the Ossendowski's "Beasts, Men and Gods" and he quotes long passages from that book, especially related to Tuyshegoun Lama, a.k.a. Dambijantsan, Dambijaltsan, Dambija, Ja Lama, Ja Bagsh, Khoyor Temeet Lam, False Lama, Chia Lama, Avenger Lama, etc. - a future hero of the Croner's book.

According to Croner, "Beasts, Men and Gods" had received rave reviews upon its publication in 1922.

The English language version went into twenty-two printings in 1922 alone, selling some 300,000 copies, and the book eventually translated into a dozen or more languages, becoming international best-seller.

Given the book's high profile and sensational content, however, it is not surprising that detractors soon appeared ... historians, explorers, and travellers who were more familiar with Mongolia found much in the book that was incorrect or simply unbelievable.

After about a page or so details of the book critiques he gets to this conclusion:
Confronted in Paris by a whole posse of European Tibetologists (sic!) and other scholars, he finally issued a statement admitting that <<this book of mine is not a scientific work but only the romantic story of my travel across Central Asia for the large public ... So -- my book Beasts, Men and Gods is exclusively a literary work, based on my observations in Central Asia.>>

Croner is even implying that the "observations" were actually "enhanced by a liberal sense of literary license."

So much for the facts. But the book is still a good read though.


Home / Life / Polish authors, books & literature.