“Is It Worth Being a Pure Skeptic, Without any Admixture?” Secrets of Witold Gombrowicz’s Opętani Cover Image

„Czy warto być czystym sceptykiem, bez domieszki?” Tajemnice Opętanych Witolda Gombrowicza
“Is It Worth Being a Pure Skeptic, Without any Admixture?” Secrets of Witold Gombrowicz’s Opętani

Author(s): Łukasz Tischner
Subject(s): Fiction, Novel, Polish Literature, Psychoanalysis
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Keywords: Witold Gombrowicz; Julian Ochorowicz; popular fiction; gothic novel; mediumship; psychoanalysis;

Summary/Abstract: The article analyzes Witold Gombrowicz’s pre-war novel Opętani (Possessed). The novel was published under a pseudonym and Gombrowicz had professed to be its actual author just before he died. This long-term concealment provoked an argument about the novel’s artistic value. According to Maria Janion, the novel is a legitimate and important part of Gombrowicz’s writings, whereas Jerzy Jarzębski, the second major participant of the dispute, pointed out the flamboyant schematism of the text. The author of the article espouses Jarzębski’s viewpoint, although he believes Opętani to be a mediocre good book rather than a good bad book. The novelty of this interpretation lies in discovering an important inspiration of Gombrowicz’s text: Julian Ochorowicz’s writings on mediumship. The author proves that Hińcz, one of the novel’s characters, was undoubtedly modeled on Ochorowicz. The author also states that Gombrowicz composed the plot of the novel under the influence of some accounts of Ochorowicz’s mediumistic experiments. The article suggests that the poetics of popular fiction and gothic novel might hide some more sophisticated psychological meanings, but they are revoked by the schematism of Opętani to eventually come to the fore in Ślub (The Marriage) and Pornografia.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 34
  • Page Range: 63-81
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: Polish