Ferdydurke - Witold Gombrowicz

Yale Press


Ferdydurke by Witold Gombrowicz / ISBN 9780300181678 / 320-page paperback from Yale University Press


"Extravagant, brilliant, disturbing, brave, funny—wonderful... Long live its sublime mockery."—Susan Sontag, from the foreword

“This promises to be, at last, the English translation of Ferdydurke that we have all been waiting for.”―Stanislaw Baranczak, Harvard University

"[An] irreducibly, brilliantly original novel. It is a book that bristles with indefatigable resources of satire, parody and irony. . . . We must admire the courage of Danuta Borchardt who offers us the first English text of the novel that is taken directly from the Polish and that . . . is faithful to the substance of the original and gives the reader a good, zesty flavor of Gombrowicz’s inspired idiosyncrasy. . . . A genuinely astonishing masterwork that is bound to last."—Eva Hoffman, The New York Times Book Review

In this bitterly funny novel by the renowned Polish author Witold Gombrowicz, a writer finds himself tossed into a chaotic world of schoolboys by a diabolical professor who wishes to reduce him to childishness. Originally published in Poland in 1937, Ferdydurke became an instant literary sensation and catapulted the young author to fame. Deemed scandalous and subversive by Nazis, Stalinists, and the Polish Communist regime in turn, the novel (as well as all of Gombrowicz’s other works) was officially banned in Poland for decades. It has nonetheless remained one of the most influential works of twentieth-century European literature.

Ferdydurke is translated here directly from the Polish for the first time. Danuta Borchardt deftly captures Gombrowicz’s playful and idiosyncratic style, and she allows English speakers to experience fully the masterpiece of a writer whom Milan Kundera describes as “one of the great novelists of our century.”

Witold Gombrowicz (1904–1969) wrote three other novels, Trans-Atlantyk, Pornografia, and Cosmos, which together with his plays and his three-volume Diary have been translated into more than thirty languages.

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