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Who am I really and to what extent am I? This question, which is increasingly relevant to contemporary thought, troubled me at the time I was writing Ferdydurke. So it is as though the novel oscillated round an inaccessible centre, although, from the last word, it endeavors to be the assertion of an identity.

The artist is not rational and consequential. He lets off steam. Everything happens at once in the artist, everything collaborates, theory with practice, thought with passion, life with evaluation and the understanding of life, the desire for personal success with the requirements of the work in progress, the requirements of the work with universal truth, beauty, virtue.
Nothing can hope to dominate the rest, everything is interdependent, as in every living organism. […] To attack what one despises, what one detests, violence, falsity, cruelty, every crime, as it presents itself, without worrying about deep motives. I create myself through my work. To start with I shall fight, and then I shall see what I am.
A Kind of Testament: Interviews with Dominique de Roux [Trans. Hamilton]

 

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Jerzy Czerniawski’s poster for a theatrical adaptation of Ferdydurke, Teatr Polski, Szczecin.