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Józef Czapski (1896–1993)

Författare till Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp

27 verk 368 medlemmar 5 recensioner 1 favoritmärkta

Om författaren

Foto taget av: Józef Czapski, Berlin, 1950

Verk av Józef Czapski


Allmänna fakta

Vedertaget namn
Czapski, Józef
Namn enligt folkbokföringen
Czapski, Józef Maria Franciszek, count Hutten-Czapski
Andra namn
Sienny, Marek, pseud.
Le Mesnil-le-Roi, France
Prague, Bohemia, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Maison-Lafitte, France
Prague, Bohemia, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Petersburg, Russia
Cracow, Poland
Chmielek, Poland (as POW)
Starobilsk, Ukraine (as POW)
Pavlishchev Bor, nr Smolensk, Russia (as POW) (visa alla 9)
Gryazovets, Russia (as POW)
Paris, France
Maison-Laffite, France
Law, Petersburg
Fine arts, Warsaw, 1918 (interrupted)
Fine arts, Cracow, 1922-24
Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw
art critic
military officer
Czapska, Maria (sister)
Priser och utmärkelser
Order of Virtuti Militari
Kort biografi
Józef Czapski was born in Prague, Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to an aristocratic family. He spent most of his childhood on his family's estate near Minsk. In 1915, he graduated from gymnasium in St. Petersburg and was studying law at the Imperial University at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution. Although he was a pacifist, he served briefly as a cavalry officer in World War I and was decorated for bravery in the Polish-Soviet War of 1920-1921. Czapski attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Kraków and then moved to Paris to paint. A few years later, in 1931, he returned to Warsaw, and began exhibiting his paintings. He was active in the city's artistic life and began writing art criticism. In 1939, when Germany invaded Poland at the start of World War II, Czapski again did military duty, and was captured by the Germans, who handed him over to the Soviets as a prisoner of war. He gave lectures to other prisoners and later wrote a book about his experiences, Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he was among the tens of thousands of starving Poles released from Soviet prison camps; the men were allowed to join the Polish army of General Władysław Anders being formed to fight alongside the Red Army. Gen. Anders gave Czapski the task of investigating the fate of 22,000 missing Polish military officers. Blocked at every level by the Soviet authorities, Czapski was unaware that in April 1940, all the officers had been shot and killed in Katyn Forest and elsewhere. He was one of the few to survive, for reasons that remain unknown. Czapski described his experiences in two books, Memories of Starobielsk (1945) and Inhuman Land: Searching for the Truth in Soviet Russia, 1941-1942 (1949). Czapski traveled with Gen. Anders' army on a trek through Central Asia to the Middle East, finally arriving in Baghdad, where he began publishing articles in newly-created Polish newspapers. After the war, unwilling to live in Communist Poland, he moved to Rome and then back to France. He helped found the the Polish émigré publishing community at the Instytut Literacki (Literary Institute) in Maisons-Laffitte, a suburb of Paris. He published political commentary in Kultura, its intellectual journal, as well as essays about art.



Video review forthcoming along with Céleste Albaret's [b:Monsieur Proust|379255|Monsieur Proust|Céleste Albaret||369072] and Samuel Beckett's [b:Proust|289769|Proust|Samuel Beckett||52695].
chrisvia | 4 andra recensioner | Apr 29, 2021 |
This is a short and excellent book. Thoughts about Proust through the memories and thoughts of a Polish artist/soldier speaking in a Soviet prison camp. There is something extremely moving about the circumstances of this book, and the hand-drawn dog picture at the back nearly finished me off - just the simple humanity of someone doing the best for himself and his fellow inmates.
AlisonSakai | 4 andra recensioner | Jan 6, 2021 |
Five stars for the back-story, three stars for general Proustiana, but really, unless you're obsessed with Proust, this is not even remotely worth reading. You can get the back story from a solid goodreads review. If you are obsessed with Proust, on the other hand, this is a delightful little squib.
stillatim | 4 andra recensioner | Oct 23, 2020 |
I read this book when it first came out in French, and just re-read it in Karpeles's English translation. A Proust scholar will find perhaps little that they would consider new in terms of research, and the main interest of the book may be its context. While imprisoned in Gryazovets, a Russian camp near Vologda, located in a bombed-out monastery, Czapski participated in a series of sometimes authorized, sometimes clandestine lectures: inmates would discourse from memory on any topic dear to them, whether literature, sports, geography... Czapski gave a series of talks on the history of painting (and, as we learn from Karpeles's biography of Czapski, "Almost Nothing," even drafted an art historical volume, but the notes were lost, confiscated...). As he worked on his topic, another idea came to haunt him: to present to his fellow prisoners the work of Proust -- whom he saw as a sort of prisoner, locked in his "corked bedroom," in disregard of his health, entirely devoted to his work. Proust's "In Search of Lost Time" brought hope of a time regained into a place so remote and seemingly antithetical to the aristocratic world he describes. Speaking to Polish fellows in arms, Czapski nevertheless gave his lectures in French. His notes, some of which are reproduced and translated (with only a handful of very slight errors) in the plate section, are a visual map to his interpretation of Proust, drafted mainly in Polish, with a sprinkling of French, German, Latin, as required by the origin of the references. The French edition of these talks presents perhaps a more fragile text as it preserves some grammatical errors and omissions made in the surviving transcripts of these lectures. (The journey from the original conception to the published text is in itself fascinating: it's not clear whether Czapski had detailed notes or whether he spoke based on the mental map in the form of visual diagrams recorded in the notebooks; afterwards, he dictated the lectures in abridged form to two inmates who transcribed it on a typewriter -- as Karpeles points out, mystery envelops the circumstances of the creation of this typescript [a typewriter in a gulag?]. Eventually a second typescript was created. Both bear some handwritten corrections made by Czapski, perhaps others. Karpeles's version relies on a comparison between the two versions; whereas the French publication had access to only one typescript.) Perhaps because of publishing costs, the NYRB edition reproduces only a few select pages with the draft diagrams, accompanied by a translation on the facing page. The French version doesn't offer translations of its plates, but includes color photographs of the entire notebook, including the two tattered covers with the title "Tyetrad" [Exercise Book], printed in Cyrillics.

Let not the Proust scholar be too disappointed or walk away too early, however. While Czapski may seem to add little to the "scholarship," doesn't encountering Proust in the gulag tell us something about Proust we may have previously overlooked? And plain and "unscholarly" as Czapski's interpretation may appear, it brings in his unique erudition by setting Proust side by side Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Zeromski, Conrad in ways that to a discerning eye might indeed suggest new avenues of exploration!
… (mer)
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aileverte | 4 andra recensioner | Nov 21, 2018 |


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