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Book Title: A Minor Apocalypse|
The author of the book: Tadeusz Konwicki
ISBN 13: 9781564782175
Edition: Dalkey Archive Press
Date of issue: July 1st 1999
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 989 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.1
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As in his novel The Polish Complex, Konwicki's A Minor Apocalypse stars a narrator and character named Konwicki, who has been asked to set himself on fire that evening in front of the Communist Party headquarters in Warsaw in an act of protest. He accepts the commission, but without any clear idea of whether he will actually go through with the self-immolation. He spends the rest of the day wandering the streets of Warsaw, being tortured by the secret police and falling in love. Both himself and Everyman, the character-author experiences the effects of ideologies and bureaucracies gone insane with, as always in history, the individual struggling for survival rather than offering himself up on the pyre of the greater good. Brilliantly translated by Richard Lourie, A Minor Apocalypse is one of the most important novels to emerge from Poland in the last twenty five years.
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Read information about the authorProse writer, screenwriter and film director. Founder of the 'cinema d'auteur' in Poland and author of 20 books. Born in 1926 in Nowa Wilejka, near Vilnius (today Naujoji Vilnia, Lithuania), died on January 7th in Warsaw at 88 years old.
Konwicki was educated at the Universities of Cracow and Warsaw and began writing for newspapers and periodicals. He served on the editorial boards of leading literary magazines and followed the official Communist Party line. His first work, Przy budowie (1950; “At the Construction Site”), won the State Prize for Literature. He began a career as a filmmaker and scriptwriter in 1956; his film Ostatni dzień lata (“The Last Day of Summer”) won the Venice Film Festival Grand Prix in 1958. By the late 1960s he had quit the Communist Party, lost his job in the official film industry, and become active in the opposition movement.
Konwicki’s work is suffused with guilt and anxiety, coloured by his wartime experiences and a sense of helplessness in confronting a corrupt and repressive society. Chief among his novels are Rojsty (1956; “The Marshes”) and Sennik wspóczesny (1963; A Dreambook for Our Time), a book that writer and critic Czesław Miłosz called “one of the most terrifying novels of postwar Polish literature.” His other works of that period are Wniebowsta̦pienie (1967; “Ascension”) and Zwierzoczłekoupiór (1969; The Anthropos-Spectre-Beast). His later books—including Kompleks polski (1977; The Polish Complex), the bitterly mocking Mała apokalipsa (1979; A Minor Apocalypse), and the lyrical Bohiń (1987; Bohin Manor)—confront Poland’s social cataclysms of the late 1970s and the ’80s. The autobiographical Wschody i zachody ksie̦życa (1981; Moonrise, Moonset) recounts some of Konwicki’s experiences during the period of martial law in Poland.
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