Thursday, October 19, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Bruno Schulz (1892 – 1942)


Polish writer and artist, considered by some to be the greatest prose stylist of the modern Polish language.
Bruno Schulz
Only now did the scales fall from my eyes. For how great is the force of credulity, how powerful the suggestion of terror! Such incomprehension! But this was a man! A chained-up man, whom I, by incomprehensible means, in a simplifying, metaphorical, and comprehensive elision, had taken for a dog.
Schulz quotes
filled with boredom, the winter days were here. A threadbare and patchy, too-short mantle of snow was spread over the reddened earth. It was too meagre for the many roofs, which remained black or rust coloured, shingled roofs like arks and thatched cottages, concealing within them the smoke-blackened expanses of attics—charred-black cathedrals bristling with ribs of rafters, purlins and joists, dark lungs of the winter gales. Each dawn uncovered new vent pipes and chimney stacks, sprung up in the night, blown out by the nocturnal gale—black pipes of the Devil’s organs.
Schulz
Adela returned on luminous mornings, like Pomona from the fire of the enkindled day, tipping from her basket the colourful beauty of the sun: glistening wild cherries, full of water under their transparent skins, mysterious black cherries whose aroma surpassed that which would be realised in their taste, and apricots, in whose golden pulp lay the core of the long afternoons.




Schulz Bruno quotes
“Demiurgus [said my father] was enamoured of refined, perfect, and sophisticated materials. We give precedence to junk. We are simply rapt by it, entranced by the cheapness, the paltriness, the tawdriness of the material. Do you understand,” my father asked, “the profound meaning of that weakness, that passion for gaudy tissue-paper, papier-mâché, coloured lacquer, straw, and sawdust? It is,” he said with a pained smile, “our love for matter as such, for its downiness and porousness, its unique, mystical consistency. Demiurgus, that renowned master and artist, hides it away, causes it to vanish behind life’s make-believe. We, to the contrary, love its abrasiveness, its unruliness, its rag doll ungainliness. Behind each gesture, each movement, we like to see its exertion, its torpor, its sweet ursinality.”
Schulz Bruno
He occasionally placed two chairs back-to-back, and, supporting himself with his hands on the backrests, swung his legs back and forth, his radiant eyes searching our faces for looks of admiration and encouragement. It seemed he had become entirely reconciled with God.
Bruno Schulz quotes
">“Sadly, Adela,” said Father, “you have never been able to comprehend matters of a higher order. Always and everywhere, you have thwarted my actions with your outbursts of mindless animosity. But today, clad in armour, I mock your tickling, by which you once drove one helpless to despair.”
Bruno Schulz
I call it simply the Book, with no qualifications or epithets, and in this abstinence and restraint there is a helpless sigh, silent capitulation to the immeasurableness of the transcendent; for no word, no allusion, could glisten, scent the air, or drift with such a shudder of terror, with any inkling of that unnameable thing, the very first taste of which, on the tip of the tongue, surpasses the capacity of our rapture.
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Ah, life, young and fragile life, sent forth from the dependable darkness, from the snug warmth of the maternal womb into a vast, unfamiliar and illuminated world! How it flinches and draws back, filled with aversion and discouragement! How it hesitates to accept the venture proposed to it!
Schulz
Sometimes, a whole bright day passes in explosions of the sun, in accumulations of clouds encircled by redness at their edges, luminously and chromatically, breaking off at every edge. People go about stupefied by the light, their eyes closed, exploding inwardly with rockets, Roman candles and powder-kegs. But later, toward evening, that hurricane fire of light softens. The horizon grows rotund, beautiful, and full of azure, like a glass ball in a garden with its miniature and illuminated panorama of the world, in a happily ordered composition, above which the clouds are arranged, its conclusive toppings, unfolding in a long row like rouleaux of golden medals, or peals of bells combining in rosy litanies.
Schulz Bruno
I came to understand why animals have horns. It was the incomprehensibility that could not be contained within their lives, a wild and obsessive caprice, their ill-judged and blind obstinacy. Some idée fixe—grown beyond the borders of their being and high above their heads, suddenly brought into the light—had solidified into palpable, hard matter. There, it had assumed its wild, incalculable, and incredible shape, twisted into a fantastical arabesque, invisible to their eyes, but dreadful nonetheless, the unknown numeral under whose menace they lived. I understood why those animals were disposed to ill-judged and wild panic, to startled frenzy. Herded into their mania, they could not extricate themselves from the knot of those horns, and so, lowering their heads, they looked out sadly and wildly from between them as if trying to find a pathway through their branches.
Bruno Schulz
Autumn! Autumn! The Alexandrine epoch of the year, gathering into its enormous libraries all the sterile wisdom of the three hundred and sixty-five days of the solar cycle! Oh, those aged mornings, as yellow as parchment, sweet with wisdom, like late evenings. Oh, those cunningly smiling mornings, like shrewd palimpsests, many-layered like old, yellowed books. Oh, the autumnal day, that old jester-librarian clambering up ladders in his slipped-down dressing gown, sampling the preserves of all ages and cultures!




Bruno Schulz quotes
Adela’s outstretched slipper shook slightly and shone like a snake’s tongue.
Bruno Schulz
All springs begin in this way, from those enormous and astounding horoscopes, each beyond the scale of a single season of the year. And in each one—be it nevermore said, let me say it here—there is everything: endless processions and demonstrations, revolutions and barricades. And through them all at a certain moment, the hot wind of remembrance blows, that boundlessness of sadness and intoxication seeking in vain its counterpart in reality.
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Has our reader ever heard about the parallel strands of time, in two-track time? Yes, such branch stretches of time do exist, a little illegal, to be sure, and problematic, but when carrying such contraband as ours, such supernumerary, unclassifiable events, one cannot be too particular. And so, at some point in our story, we shall attempt to take such a branch turning, a siding, and shunt this illegal history into it.
Schulz Bruno
For ordinary books are like meteors; each has its moment, that instant when it flies shrieking into the air, like a phoenix, all of its pages ablaze. For that moment, that single instant, we love them; although they are mere ashes by then. Sometimes, late at night, we wander in bitter resignation through their congealed pages, whilst they go on insisting, with their wooden clattering, like a rosary, on their dead formul?.
Schulz Bruno quotes
On those shoulders of the garden, August’s unkempt and harridan luxuriance had expanded into silent hollows of enormous burdocks, holding sway with their flaps of shaggy, leafy tin plate, straggling tongues of fleshy green. Those distended rag dolls of burdocks bulged there like peasant women sitting around half-devoured by their own crazy skirts.
Bruno Schulz
It is worth noting how, in coming into contact with that unusual man, all things withdrew, as it were, to the root of their being, rebuilt their phenomenon down to its metaphysical core. They returned to their primordial idea, only to betray it at that point and lurch into those dubious, daring, and equivocal regions which I shall here succinctly call, the Regions of the Great Heresy.
Bruno Schulz quotes
Mother held no influence over [my father]; though he bestowed much reverence and attention upon Adela. When she swept his chamber, it was to him a great and momentous ceremony, one that he never omitted to witness, following Adela’s every movement with a mixture of fear and a shudder of delight. He ascribed to her every action some deeper, symbolic meaning, and when the girl pushed a long-handled brush across the floor, with youthful and bold thrusts, it was almost beyond his endurance.
Bruno Schulz
Everybody knows that, in the course of mundane and ordinary years, whimsical time will occasionally bring forth from its womb other years, odd years, degenerate years, somewhere in which, like a little sixth finger upon a hand, a spurious thirteenth month sprouts up; spurious, we say; for seldom will it grow to full size. Like late begotten children, it lags behind in its development, a hunchback month, a half-wilted offshoot, and more conjectured than real.
Schulz Bruno
We are at the very bottom, at the dark foundations—we are with the Mothers. Here are endless infernos, those hopeless Ossianic expanses, those lamentable Nibelungs. Here are the great incubators of stories, storyteller factories, misty kilns of fables and fairytales.


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