Jerzy Łukosz

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  • fot. Andrzej Winiarz

(born 1958) – fiction writer, playwright, literary critic and expert on German literature, specialist on the work of Thomas Mann, and author of numerous essays on modern German literature. To begin with he tried his luck writing prose and literary criticism about the latest Polish fiction. His debut was a collection of short stories entitled Inheritance (1986). Next he published a novel called The Black Necklace (1992) under a pseudonym. Curiously, seven years later he reissued this same novel, in a slightly reworked version, under his own name, changing the title to The Ratcatcher of Ratisbon. In 1997 he published a volume of fiction including the title novella, An Afghan Romance, and a set of stories, One Life, or the Transmigration of Souls. The key element of this writing is an analysis of human consciousness, an investigation into the relationship between one’s public life and one’s inner experiences, i.e. the world of the imagination and dreams. In this sort of fiction the fact that Łukosz is rooted in the German literary tradition makes itself felt. However, true success came unexpectedly, from a completely different direction. In the mid 1990s Łukosz stunned the theatre critics with his originality and won their affection as a playwright. His multi-dimensional plays Thomas Mann (1996) and Two Fires (1997) were equally well received, and so were his powerful monodramas, e.g. The Kings’ Gravedigger (1997) and The Return (1998). His greatest success – in Poland and abroad – has been the first of these plays. Suffice it to say that in less than two years (1996-98) it was staged three times, and since then it has had several European premieres. In the last few years Łukosz has become very active as an essayist and literary critic, this time specialising in writing about modern literature in German. His published works include two ample collections of sketches and reviews: The Eye of the Storm – Austria, Germany, Switzerland – A Dialogue on Works of Literature (1999) and Empires and Provinces – On German-Language and Polish Literature in the 20th Century (2000). Jerzy Łukosz is also the author of an interesting diary, Enclosure in a Couchette (2001), which records his experiences of working with theatre people.

“I do not regard myself as a theatre person. I do not write for the theatre, but rather against it. I learn a lot by talking to theatre people about my plays, but I never interfere – from then on it is their piece of work, not mine. Ich lasse mich ueberraschen. Theatre lives as long as dramaturgy is a challenge for it, not a servant to the methods it has already discovered.”
Jerzy Łukosz

Bibliography

  • Dziedzictwo (opowiadania), Warszawa: Iskry, 1986.
  • [pod pseud. Johann Keevus]: Czarna kolia. Rękopis spolszczył Jerzy Łukosz, (powieść), Poznań: Kantor Wydawniczy SAWW, 1992.
  • Terapia jako duchowa forma życia. Ja-diaryczne Tomasza Manna (rozprawa naukowa), Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego, 1994.
  • Byt bytujący. Esej o prozie, Wrocław: Towarzystwo Polonistyki Wrocławskiej, 1995.
  • Afgański romans (tom prozy), Warszawa: PIW, 1997.
  • Szczurołap z Ratyzbony (powieść), Wrocław: ATUT, 1999.
  • Oko cyklonu. Austria. Niemcy. Szwajcaria – dialog dzieł literackich (eseje), Wrocław: ATUT, 1999.
  • Śmierć puszczyka i inne utwory dramatyczne, Kraków: Księgarnia Akademicka, 2000.
  • Imperia i prowincje. O literaturze niemieckojęzycznej i polskiej w dwudziestym wieku , (szkice i recenzje), Wrocław: ATUT, 2000.
  • Klauzura w kuszetce (dziennik), Wrocław: ATUT, 2001.
  • Lenora, Warszawa: Prószyński i S-ka, 2004.
  • Szeroka woda, Warszawa: Prószyński i S-ka, 2005.
  • Pasje i kantyleny. Szkice o literaturze, Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 2005.

Translations:

German:

  • Der königliche Totengräber [Grabarz królewski], Wiesbaden: Die Stundenglasbücher, 1998.
  • Der Erwählte. Ein Hörspiel über Thomas Mann [Wybraniec. Słuchowisko o T. Mannie], Wien: Thomas-Sessler-Verlag, 1998.