March Liz Ptacek fiction Trans-Atlantyk by Witold Gombrowicz Although I compulsively read them, I hate introductions in general, and especially those written for works of fiction. Recent attempts to tone down this distasteful reading habit have led me to jump to the first chapter as soon as I sense a spate of spoilers. In the case of Witold Gombrowicz's Trans-Atlantyk , though, I wish the introduction had focused solely on Stanislaw Baranczak's explanation of the philosophy that drove much of the action in this novel. The missing philosophy that would have given me a compass in much of the ensuing chaos. Back in , Gombrowicz traveled on a cruise ship from his native Poland to Argentina.

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Nina Karsov Translator. Carolyn French Translator. A semi-autobiographical, satirical novel that throws into perspective all of Gombrowicz's major literary, philosophical, psychological and social concerns. Throughout the book Gombrowicz ridicules the self-centred pomposity of the Polish community in Argentina. Get A Copy.

Paperback , pages. Published August 30th by Yale University Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Trans-Atlantyk , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Trans-Atlantyk. Jan 02, Kobe Bryant rated it it was ok. This book would have obviously been a lot better in the original language but what am I gonna do, learn Polish?

View 1 comment. Incredible, grotesque presentation of the insufferable insanity of Polishness. Proverbial heroism, hospitality, religiousness, all streaked with malice, pettiness and selfishness. Also, it's untranslatable, sorry. Yes, I know it was actually translated but it cannot convey the author's intention. All in all, not an easy read for someone not familiar with Polish literature.

Read in original, and I can't really imagine how on earth it can be translated. The rythm of the language, the play of words, the absolutely unique phrasing - oh my, it must have been a tough challenge for the translator. Dream-like and painfully real at the same time.

And very interesting from purely historical point of view - a Polish guy stranded in Argentina after the WW2 broke out. An insight to a rich, complex soul living in shocking times. Aug 05, Marina rated it it was amazing. Trans-Atlantyk is a remarkably funny satire written in a fast-paced style. I seem to have been lucky in that I read this novel in the superb Spanish translation by Mexican author Sergio Pitol and Kazimierz Piekarek.

For those disappointed English readers: there may be a forthcoming new English translation by Danuta Borchardt, who writes the fg concerning the need for a new translation: The previous translation by Carolyn French and Nina Karsov was directly from the Polish. It is a valiant atte Trans-Atlantyk is a remarkably funny satire written in a fast-paced style.

It is a valiant attempt at dealing with this most difficult text. The language skips and bumps in a way that is often arduous to read and thus loses the speed and fluidity of a spoken tale. It also lacks enough contrast in the shifts between comedy and tragedy. The first translation of Gombrowicz's Trans-Atlantyk was published seventeen years ago in by Yale University Press.

Still suspect Pitol's will be the best, limpid and with rapid shifts between language registers that contribute to the energy of this satire. May 07, Andrew Bourne rated it really liked it. The translation does enslime the already slippery play of the premise, cranked through 2 continents and spoke on several tongues.

For the steeliest fans it merits a slow exasperating rereading. There is yelling and whispering both, and repetition. There is a rushing from place to place and a pleading for pesos. I feel as though it is certainly good in Polish and when read by a Pole, but in English and Olde English to boot not as gratifying as his other reads. It's a difficult shape Difficult. It's a difficult shape to hold onto, harder to chew, familiar and tasty, but not exactly what you bought.

Aug 15, Vytenis rated it it was ok. The rhythm, the sound and he flow. These are the sole few reasons why you could consider reading 'Trans-Atlantyk'. Although in the intro the author claims the book is largely written to criticise the drawbacks of the Polish nation, in doing so expression and language seem to play more important a role than the actual story-line.

To me this book was a promising facade with contents that failed to fill it up. Perhaps reading it in the original language would make a difference. View 2 comments. The grotesque book about the relationship between the person and the nation, which is exacerbated by migration and historical circumstances. Grotesque by genre, but also by results, as the story aimed as universal is almost incomprehensible for a foreign reader both because of translation problems as well as importance of the national historical and literary context.

The concepts of mask, form and action-reaction, so well pronounced in Ferdydurke, come back as the focal points. Nationality is yet The grotesque book about the relationship between the person and the nation, which is exacerbated by migration and historical circumstances. Nationality is yet another form that deprives one of their freedom. The origins of Gombrowicz both the author and main character are vital.

He is a migrant arriving from Poland, a weak, constantly attacked nation that has survived because of vigorous attention and self-reassesment. Historically, Polishness has been beeing formed in oposition to something, survived by constant attention to and exageration of common history, achievements and national traits. Gombrowicz, who arrived to Argentina, is forced to behave according to those patterns. His Polish nationality makes him feel inferior, forcing him to constantly demonstrate imaginative pride and even superiority.

His origins deprive of him money, making him dependent on the other fellow countrymen. But the questions posed are of more universal nature. Does a genious need to fight? Does a man need to sacrifice for his country? And, finally, is nationality chosen or given? Gombrowicz is set in the context of nationalism that tells a human is born into his nationality.

He argues for a choice of country to live in, but despite migration his character fails to become free, both of his countrymen as well as ingrained cultural traits. On the literary ground, Gombrowicz reacts to the XVIII and XIX century Polish literature that had a primary aim of aprising the nation, gloryfying the past and creating sense of pride and community. Borchardt explains in her note at the beginning of "Trans-Atlantyk: An Alternate Translation" Yale Press that Gombrowicz wrote Trans-Atlantyk in the style of a gaweda or "fire side chat," "a tale, a mode of interaction at social gatherings of the sixteenth to nineteenth-century Sarmatian Polish nobility in their country manors.

I can't compare it to the Polish, but this antiquated style fits perfectly with the picaresque story narrated in Trans-Atlantyk. When news hits that Germany's invaded Poland and war's been declared, he chooses to stay behind in Argentina rather than sail back to Europe with his compatriots aware that some might see this as turning his back on his country.

This all actually happened to Gombrowicz; but the rest of the novel is not so much a fictionalized autobiography as it is an anachronistic, comic farce that could in some ways be compared to Gulliver's Travels, Candide or Don Quixote. It also makes me think of Kafka's Amerika.

It's an entertaining story with a number of unexpected turns, but there's also political satire e. Trans-Atlantyk definitely stands out from the other Gombrowicz novels I've read. Oct 09, Tom rated it liked it. This is not light reading.


Translating Trans-Atlantyk: Behind the Scenes with Danuta Borchardt

Trans-Atlantyk is a novel by the Polish author Witold Gombrowicz , originally published in The semi-autobiographical plot of the novel closely tracks Gombrowicz's own experience in the years during and just after the outbreak of World War II. Witold, a Polish writer, embarks on an ocean voyage only to have the war break out while he is visiting Argentina. Finding himself penniless and stranded after the Nazis take over his country, he is taken in by the local Polish emigre community. A fantastical series of twists and turns follow in which the young man finds himself, after a debauched night of drinking, involved as a second in a duel.



Many consider Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz one of the greatest writers of the past hundred years and Danuta Borchardt is undoubtedly one of his finest translators. I focused first on its deviation from the literary to the colloquial language of the less educated folk yes, their language is different both in Polish and in English and of the Polish peasantry. So what would be the English equivalents, more or less? No, this is an English dialect and not for American readers. One of the American dialects?



Learn more about the actions Yale University Press is taking. Skip to main content. An Alternate Translation. Description Reviews Awards. A brilliant, semiautobiographical satirical novel from one of the foremost figures in twentieth-century Polish literature, now in a new English translation Considered by many to be among the greatest writers of the past hundred years, Polish novelist Witold Gombrowicz explores the modern predicament of exile and displacement in a disintegrating world in his acclaimed classic Trans-Atlantyk.


Trans-atlantyk A novel by Witold Gombrowicz. Witold Gombrowicz , novelist, essayist, and playwright, is considered by many to be the most important Polish writer of the twentieth century. Author of four novels, several plays, and a highly acclaimed Diary , he was a candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature in Trans-Atlantyk is a semi-autobiographical, satirical novel that throws into heightened perspective all of Gombrowicz's major literary, philosophical, psychological, and social concerns. First published in Paris in , it is based on the author's experience of being caught in Argentina at the outbreak of World War II. The narrator finds himself alone, without family and friends, at odds with the Argentinian literary world and with Polish emigre society.

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