infobox Book |
name = Trans-Atlantyk
Carolyn French/ Nina Karsov
language = Polish
Yale University Press(Eng. trans.)
release_date = 1953 (Eng. trans. June 1994)
media_type = Print (Hardback &
pages = 152 pp (Eng. trans.)
isbn = ISBN 0-300-05384-3 (Eng. trans. hardback edition) & ISBN 0-300-06503-5 (Eng. trans. paperback edition)
" Trans-Atlantyk " is a novel by the Polish author
Witold Gombrowicz, originally published in 1953.
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. The story's eponymously named protagonist, 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 Nazistake 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. Witold is constantly confronted with the exasperating contrasts between his love of country and his status as a forced expatriate and the shallow nationalismof his fellow Poles.
The book is an extended examination of what one's nationality is and what it means. The language of "Trans-Atlantyk" is unusual, as it is written in the style of a "
gaweda," an ancient form of oral storytelling that was common among the rural Polish nobility. As such, it is very much in the tradition of another legendary work by a Polish exile writer, the epic poem " Pan Tadeusz", by Adam Mickiewicz. Gombrowicz wrote himself that "Trans-Atlantic" was born in me like a Pan Tadeusz in reverse". The 1994 Carolyn French/ Nina KarsovEnglish-language translation uses a sort of faux-seventeenth century English, resulting in a work that the translators themselves regard as "experimental".
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