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Lawyer Kraykowski’s dancer

Tancerz mecenasa Kraykowskiego

 “Yes, there’s nothing so difficult and delicate, so sacred even, as human individuality”

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Jacek Poniedziałek in Krzysztof Warlikowski’s adaptation of “Lawyer Kraykowski’s Dancer,” Radom, 1997.
 

Written in 1926, the story Lawyer Kraykowski’s Dancer was the first text with which Witold Gombrowicz felt satisfied enough to continue working on it. Written in 1926, the story Lawyer Kraykowski’s Dancer was the first text with which Witold Gombrowicz felt satisfied enough to continue working on it. This story was first published in 1933 in the collection Memoirs From a Time of Immaturity (Ed. Rój, Warsaw), which was financed by the writer’s father. Like the other stories in this book, Lawyer Kraykowski’s Dancer was later included in the 1957 volume Bacacay (Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków).

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Jacek Pietruski in his solo performance Lawyer Kraykowski’s Dancer, 2002.

“The hero of the ‘Dancer,’ gravely offended by Kraykowski, loves him rather than hating him, adores him while he should despise him, because he is too weak to oppose his own reason to that of the energetic Lawyer. He presses him because he is unable to destroy him.”“The hero of the ‘Dancer,’ gravely offended by Kraykowski, loves him rather than hating him, adores him while he should despise him, because he is too weak to oppose his own reason to that of the energetic Lawyer. He presses him because he is unable to destroy him.
”“Summary Explanation,” Varia [Trans. Dubowski]

Excerpt: A few days later (this was on a deserted street in the late evening) Lawyer Kraykowski stopped, turned around, and waited with his cane. It did not behoove me to retreat, and so I walked on, though a faintness overcame me; then he seized me by the arm and shook me, banging his cane against the ground.  Excerpt: A few days later (this was on a deserted street in the late evening) Lawyer Kraykowski stopped, turned around, and waited with his cane. It did not behoove me to retreat, and so I walked on, though a faintness overcame me; then he seized me by the arm and shook me, banging his cane against the ground. “What’s the meaning of these idiotic libels? What are you after?” he shouted. “Why are you trailing around after me? What is all this? I’ll take my cane to you! I’ll break your bones!” I was unable to speak. I was happy. I received it into myself like a communion, and I closed my eyes. In silence I merely bent over and offered my back. I waited—and experienced some of those perfect moments known only to one who truly has but a few days ahead of him. When I straightened up he was walking quickly away, tapping his cane. My heart full, in a state of grace and beatitude, I returned home through the empty streets. Too little, I was thinking; too little! Too little of everything! More—ever more!

[Trans. Johnston]