Podróż do krańca doliny [ePub]

by Andrzej Szczypiorski

Born in Warsaw in 1924, Szczypiorski was a journalist and novelist. He took part in the Warsaw Uprising and was imprisoned after the fall of the Uprising in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. He died on 16 May 2000.

He began working as a journalist in 1946. Since the appearance of his first collection of stories in 1955, he had published more than 20 volumes of novels, reportage, newspaper columns, essays and sketches. Szczypiorski aligned himself with the democratic opposition in the late 1970s, being interned during Martial Law (1981-1982) and then, in 1989, being elected Senator (holding office until 1991). After resigning from an active political role, he became one of the country's most highly respected columnists, as well as a moral and intellectual authority.

Szczypiorski's novels, like his newspaper columns, are predominated by two issues: contemporary Polish-German relations and the moral and political conflicts of recent decades. He has made his mark as a mediator engaged in improving relations among the Polish, German, and Jewish peoples. He won enormous renown for his novel Poczatek / The Beginning, (known in Germany and elsewhere as The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman), in which he depicted the different attitudes of Poles, Jews and Germans during the Nazi Occupation. This novel became a great success above all - but not only - in the German-speaking countries (winning the Austrian State Prize for European Literature as well as the Nelly Sachs Prize). Szczypiorski saw literature as "a kind of mission... entrusted to writers by society". Szczypiorski tried to remain true to this calling in both his fiction and his autobiographical writing, like From the Martial Law Notebook, published in London in 1983. The first edition of The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman, which came out in Paris in 1986, was an immediate success. It was followed by Night, Day and Night, a fascinating study of the mechanism of political provocation. Next came the convincing psychological portrait Self-Portrait with Woman (1994), and collections of stories including American Whiskey, which won the German Catholic Art and Culture Award. Polish literary critics paid the most attention to the parable-as-novel A Mass for Arras (1971), which recounted authentic fifteenth-century historical events (plague, famine, and the persecution of Jews and heretics). Szczypiorski sat down to write this novel in the autumn of 1968, in response to the dramatic and shameful events of the preceding spring - the anti-Semitic campaign and attacks on intellectuals orchestrated by the communist authorities. The issues concealed "between the lines" were perfectly clear to the first Polish readers, and A Mass for Arras was regarded as an important commentary on current events by a writer with moral concerns.

He was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.


Bibliography
1963 Behind the walls of Sodom (pl.: Za murami Sodomy)
1966 Journey to the edge of valley (pl.: Podróż do krańca doliny)
1971 Mass for the town of Arras (pl.: Msza za miasto Arras)
1974 And they passed by Emaus (pl.: I ominęli Emaus)
1983 Notes from Martial law (pl.:Z notatnika stanu wojennego)
1986 Beginning (pl.: Początek)
1990 American whisky and other stories (pl.: Amerykańska whisky i inne opowiadania)
1991 Night, day and night (pl.: Noc, dzień i noc)
1994 Self-portrait with a woman (pl.: Autoportret z kobietą)
1997 Sins, virtues, desires (pl.: Grzechy, cnoty, pragnienia}
1999 Three short stories (pl.: Trzy krótkie opowiadania)
1999 Play with fire (pl.: Gra z ogniem)


Awards
1972 Polish PEN-Club Prize
1988 Austrian State Prize for European Literature
1989 Nelly Sachs Prize
1994 Herder Prize

13.10.2011

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