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New York. 1966. Grove Press. 1st American Printing. Very Good In Dustjacket. Translated from the Polish by Alastair Hamilton. 191 pages. hardcover. Cover art by Kuhlman Associates. keywords: Literature Translated Poland Eastern Europe. inventory # 4185. FROM THE PUBLISHER - PORNOGRAFIA is a novel about the sinister effect the young have on the old. Set in the heart of the Polish countryside during the German occupation, it is concerned with the shattering change made in the lives of two aging intellectuals from Warsaw who are visiting at the estate of a friend. Two adolescents, drawn together by a physical attraction they never openly admit, excite the imagination of the friends, and are manipulated to fit into a sinister play, plotted and directed by the men. But this is not a story of youth corrupted, rather it is of age charmed-by innocence, beauty, ‘lightness.’ The men engineer a crime which has the surface appearance of legitimacy, but which, in effect, serves their secret eroticism. The weapons by which the crime is committed are the adolescents. The four are, indeed, conspirators. In a final paragraph which is certainly one of the most chilling in modern fiction, we see that the actions of the conspirators are, for them, justified. All are innocent, all are guilty, and all are sated. Witold Gombrowicz has written a dark novel which explores that eroticism which is beyond love and carnality. It is the power of Eros which is seen here, the rejection of all prescribed forms. ‘When the Older creates the Younger,’ Gombrowicz notes in his Preface, ‘everything works very well from a social and cultural point of view. But if the Older is submitted to the Younger-what darkness! What perversity and shame!’ In his Diary, the author notes: ‘I do not believe in a nonerotic philosophy. I do not trust any desexualized idea,’ and then goes on to ask, rhetorically: ‘And what if PORNOGRAFIA were an attempt to renew Polish eroticism? An attempt to revive an eroticism which would bear a stronger relationship to our destiny and our recent history-composed of rape, slavery, and boyish squabbles-a descent to the dark limits of the conscience and the body?’ Elsewhere Gombrowicz refers to his work as a ‘sensually metaphysical’ novel. PORNOGRAFIA is, indeed, proof that these two terms are not mutually incompatible. In 1965 PORNOGRAFIA was the runner-up for the $10,000 International Publishers Prize, losing by one vote to Saul Bellow’s HERZOG. This and other of the author’s works have recently been published or are now being translated in a dozen countries around the world. Bookseller Inventory # 4185
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: 1966
Book Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket
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