Academic journal article The Comparatist

Zbigniew Maszewski, William Faulkner and Bruno Schulz: A Comparative Study

Academic journal article The Comparatist

Zbigniew Maszewski, William Faulkner and Bruno Schulz: A Comparative Study

Article excerpt

Zbigniew Maszewski, William Faulkner and Bruno Schulz: A Comparative Study Lodz, Poland: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Lodzkiego, 2003, 193 pp.

The "exceptional openness to universal perspectives" in the Polish writer Bruno Schulz's (1892-1942) "apocryphal Drohobycz" and William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County invites this bold attempt "to map an area of correspondences between [these two] imaginative worlds" (introduction 7). Schulz is not a familiar figure in English-speaking countries because of the scarcity of translations of his works into English; he is best known in the West for The Street of Crocodiles (1934, trans. 1963).

"The Provincial and the Universal in the Works of William Faulkner and Bruno Schulz" is the first of this volume's four chapters. Starting with the ambivalent attitudes of each author toward the artist's condition, which "mirrored their ambivalent attitudes towards their own regions," Maszewski uses the language of Schulz to frame Faulkner's world in a new way: "Like Schulz's reader of 'the dynamic perspectives of distance' in 'The Republic of Dreams,' 'a good way to the south' on the map of his own country, Faulkner saw 'the ready contours of myth suspended over the site' " (37, 13).

In the chapter "Female Figures in Selected Works of Bruno Schulz and William Faulkner,"Maszewski brings Thomas Mann and Goethe into the discussion, as well as Schulz's drawings, for Schulz was an important visual artist, too. The discussion gets richer and richer. Marionettes come into play: "At home in Drohobycz, Galicia, and at home in Oxford, Mississippi, Pierrot wears a Protean costume answering the artist's need to pose the question 'Who am I' in relation to life and cultural heritage" (70). …

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