In This Review

Diary. Vol. II: 1957-1961
Diary. Vol. II: 1957-1961
By Witold Gombrowicz
Northwestern University Press, 1989, 239 pp

Gombrowicz was the brilliant and mordant Polish writer who lived most of his adult life in exile in Argentina, stranded there at the beginning of World War II and unacceptable to the postwar communist regime. This volume of the diary is more accessible and somehow sunnier than the slightly shrouded first (noted in Foreign Affairs, Winter 1988/89). His ideas as advanced here remain the same, epigrammatic and resolutely contrarian; e.g., Polish writers suffer from excessive Polishness; a painting can never be as interesting as what it depicts; "to be a man means never to be oneself." The last entry is a terrifying tour de force. There will be a third and final volume of this remarkable diary.