Włodzimierz Odojewski

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  • fot. Krzysztof Dubiel

Born in 1930 in Poznan, Odojewski has made a name for himself as a writer, a radio script-writer and a journalist, and has also been the recipient of many literary awards. He made his literary debut in 1951 with the broadcast of an extract from his novel Wyspa ocalenia (Salvation Island) on Polish state radio. Dismissed for political reasons from his post as Director of the Contemporary Theatre Studio of Polish Radio, he left his native country to take up a scholarship at the Berlin Academy of Literature in 1971, and has lived in the German capital ever since. He has also worked for Radio Free Europe in its Cultural Affairs Department. Odojewski's prose is rooted in the literary tradition of existential inquiry. It is characterised by an obsession with time, memory, and the inevitable coming of disaster and catastrophe. The world in which Odojewski's characters find themselves is a mythical one, a world of great passions, where values undergo continuous erosion. The distinguishing feature of Odojewski's writing is his mastery of the literary craft. The author does not hesitate to experiment with Faulkner's internal monologue, with Joyce's explorations in the world of literary form and with the techniques employed in the French "(no longer) new novel". In Miejsca Nawiedzone (Haunted Places), with its monologue by a terminally ill writer, or in Czas odwrocony (Time Reversed), the story of a former member of the resistance movement in World War II, Odojewski resorts to the method of continuous retrospection to contrast a distressing, yet dramatic past with a sterile and gloomy present. Thus, the characteristic feature of Odojewski's prose is the obliteration of time, the interpenetration of the present with a nebulous, phantasmagorical feeling of deja vu.

"My aim has been to show in my short stories and novels a world that has passed by, so that it does not fade from our memories as well. Thus I have summoned up a past full of human emotions, human suffering, fear, love and hatred, but a past rooted in historical fact as well."
Włodzimierz Odojewski

Bibliography

  • Miejsca nawiedzone, Łódź: Wydawnictwo Łódzkie, 1959.
  • Kwarantanna, Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1964.
  • Zmierzch świata, Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1964.
  • Wyspa ocalenia, Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1966.
  • Zasypie wszystko, zawieje..., Paryż: Instytut Literacki, 1973.
  • Zabezpieczanie śladów, Paryż: Instytut Literacki, 1984.
  • Zapomniane, nieuśmierzone..., Berlin: Archipelag, 1987.
  • Jedźmy, wracajmy..., Kraków: Znak, 1993.
  • Oksana, Warszawa: Twój Styl, 1999.
  • Bez tchu, Warszawa: Rosner & Wspólnicy, 2002.
  • Milczący, niepokonani. Opowieść katyńska, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Książkowe Twój Styl, 2003.
  • ...i poniosły konie, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Książkowe Twój Styl, 2006.
  • Wyspa ocalenia, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Książkowe Twój Styl, 2008.

Translations:

French:

  • Le Crépuscule d’un monde [Zmierzch świata], trans. Joanna Ritt, Jaqueline Trabuc, Paris: Editions du Seuil 1966   
  • Et la neige recouvrit leur trace [Zasypie wszystko, zawieje], trans. Joanna Ritt, Stefan Radov, Paris: Editions du Seuil 1973   
  • Oksana, l’Ukrainienne [Oksana], trans. Agnès Wisniewski, Montricher: Editions Noir sur Blanc 2003   
  • Une saison à Venise [Sezon w Wenecji], trans. Agnès Wisniewski, Charles Zaremba, Les Allusifs 2006
  • La nudité des femmes [Nie można cię samego zostawić o zmierzchu, Cyrk przyjechał, cyrk odjechał], trans. Charles Zaremba, Les Allusifs, 2008

German:

  • Zwischenreich [Miejsce nawiedzone]. Franfurt a. M.: Fischer, 1962.
  • Adieu an die Geborgenheit [Wyspa ocalenia]. Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer, 1966.
  • Katharina oder Alles verwehen wird der Schnee [Zasypie wszystko, zawieje...]. Vien, Hamburg, 1977.
  • Ein Sommer in Venedig [Sezon w Wenecji]. München: SchirmerGraf Verlag, 2007.
  • Als der Zirkus [Cyrk przyjechał, cyrk odjechał; Nie można cię samego zostawić o zmierzchu]. München: SchirmerGraf Verlag, 2008.
  • Verdrehte zeit [Czas odwrócony], tłum. Barbara Schaefer, Monachium: DTV, 2016

Hungarian:

  • Menedék-sziget [Wyspa ocalenia]. Budapest.: Európa, 1966.
  • Halhatatlan némák. Katyni regény [Milczący, niepokonani. Opowieść katyńska], trans. Csisztay Gizella, Budapeszt: Napkút Kiadó, 2008

Spanish:

  • Una temporada en Venecia [Sezon w Wenecji], trans. Katarzyna Olszewska Sonnenberg, Barcelona, Editorial Minúscula, 2009