4 April 1935, Sunday

Zakopane. Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz writes an introduction to the correspondence interview with Bruno Schulz.

Witkiewicz* finishes writing his first text about Bruno Schulz. It is the introduction to his and Schulz’s publication, anticipated by Tygodnik Ilustrowany*”1, as well as to Schulz himself, which assumed the form of an interview carried on through correspondence. At the end of February and  the beginning of March Schulz complained to the Editor-in-Chief of Tygodnik Ilustrowany Wacław Czarski* that his article (“in the form of an interview with Witkacy”) had been at Witkiewicz’s for a week and he feared that it would stay there forever2. In response to this letter, Czarski turns to Witkiewicz with a request to send the interview as soon as he can, together with a written introduction so that this publication could prove to Schulz that “no dark forces lay in wait for him”3.

In an informative introduction titled “Interview with Bruno Schulz” (Wywiad z Brunonem Schulzem), Witkiewicz includes Schulz in a line of the so-called demonologists4. He describes Schulz’s artwork as scratchographies5, which are, according to him, “poems of the cruelty of legs”, in which immanent human evil expresses itself, dressed in masochistic and sadistic forms: “Schulz gave expression to both these psychic manifestations to the absolute limits of intensity, and with an almost monstrous pathos,” writes Witkiewicz6. In terms of composition, the author of the introduction admits that some of Schulz’s graphic illustrations are close to the ideal of Pure Form, which, he states, indicates the undoubted genius of the author7. He also praises The Cinnamon Shops* and other short stories published in literary journals, calling them “a first-rate phenomenon”, and Schulz himself, a “new star of true greatness”8.

Witkiewicz’s text is one of the first enthusiastic interpretations of Schulz’s literary and graphic output9. (ts) (transl. ms)


See also: 1 January 1935*, 4 March 1935*, 11 April 1935*, 28 April 1935*. 

  • 1
    Witkacy’s introduction and interview with Schulz will be published on 28 April in Tygodnik Ilustrowany, see Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, “Wywiad z Brunonem Schulzem, Tygodnik Ilustrowany, 28 April 1935, no. 17, pp. 321–323, http://cyfrowa.chbp.chelm.pl/dlibra/doccontent?id=7294&dirids=1.
  • 2
    See Bruno Schulz’s letter to Wacław Czarski [winter 1934/1935], [in:] Bruno Schulz, Księga listów, compiled and edited by Jerzy Ficowski, revised by Stanisław Danecki, Gdańsk 2016.
  • 3
    Wacław Czarski’s letter is on the reverse of a letter to his wife, Jadwiga Witkiewiczowa, from 8 March 1935, see Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Listy do żony (1932–1935), edited by Anna Micińska, compiled and annotated by Janusz Degler, Warszawa 2010, p. 295.
  • 4
    See mkł [Małgorzata Kitowska-Łysiak], “Demonolodzy”, [in:] Słownik schulzowski, edited by Włodzimierz Bolecki, Jerzy Jarzębski, Stanisław Rosiek, Gdańsk 2006.
  • 5
    A term coined by Witkiewicz – see note 2 in: Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, „Wywiad z Brunonem Schulzem“, [w:] idem, Pisma krytyczne i publicystyczne, edited by Janusz Degler, Warszawa 2015, p. 576.
  • 6
    Ibidem, p. 403.
  • 7
    Witkiewicz comments on this thesis in his second text devoted to Schulz: “In an interview in Tygodnik Ilustrowany I called Schulz a phenomenon on the verge of genius, if not simply a genius in this relationship. It is not a banal superlative description…”, see Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, “Twórczość literacka Brunona Schulza“, [in:] idem, Pisma krytyczne i publicystyczne, p. 417.
  • 8
    Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, “Wywiad z Brunonem Schulzem”, [in:] idem, Pisma krytyczne i publicystyczne, p. 405.
  • 9
    See Jerzy Ficowski, Regiony wielkiej herezji i okolice. Bruno Schulz i jego mitologia, Sejny 2002, pp. 271–272 and 365.