From A Kind of Testament by Witold Gombrowicz

I spent a fair amount of time on planes and in airports on my way to and from the Korrektiv Summit this weekend. This gave me the chance to read Gombrowicz’s last book, which is a kind of literary autobiography that conveniently omits any account of Possessed: The Secret of Myslotch (not very good), and serves up a great deal of very idiosyncratic pondering about ‘Form’, a very dear hobby horse painted pitch black. There are many fine moments, such as this paragraph about the student revolts in the late 1960s, and our widespread deference to the values of Youth in general:

It is funny to see all these professors, thinkers, and others, dazed, terrified, determined to ‘understand’ the young, to be ‘with it’. What cowardice! How pathetic! Instead of taking these revolts for what they are, an outburst, an eruption of high spirits, they endow them with conscious, elevated aims. ‘We are old, retarded failures and tehy want a better society – they are the future, the nouvelle vague!‘ All this ends in a caricature: on the one hand there is a terrifying Youth, powerful, reckless, prophetic, enlightened, vindictive, angel or demon, and on the other there is a puny little man whose trousers are falling off – the adult.

Very perceptive and very funny, I thought. It’s not a great book, but it’s of great interest if you’ve read Ferdydurke, Trans-Atlantyk, Diary, or Cosmos. If you haven’t, you should put Ferdydurke near the top of your list.

Comments

  1. Rufus McCain says

    Was your flight home on time? Ours was delayed, so we missed our connection in Las Vegas. So they put us on a flight to Oakland, which made it seem like we were beginning to go in a circular pattern back to the Summit site, the home of F.X. Martin (now revealed as the rehabilitated Godsbody’s own Matthew Lickona). Eventually, night unto midnight, we found ourselves back in the frozen city of Spokane, our luggage miraculously there waiting for us. Did anyone take notes? I did up until the Tequila spilled all over them.

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