George Gasyna on Marek Hłasko

Encounters with Polish Literature: Marek Hłasko

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This month on "Encounters with Polish Literature," Prof. George Gasyna from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign joins me to discuss the work of mid-twentieth-century literary bad boy, Marek Hłasko.

We look at several works including Hłasko's early masterpiece, The Eighth Day of the Week—a kind of production novel about a couple looking for privacy in the ruins of Warsaw. We consider two works from his Israeli period that show the "wild West" era of tough Sabras and awkward European refugees in the early days of the Israeli state in Killing the Second Dog and All Backs Were Turned. We examine his haunting Holocaust story "Searching for the Stars," which is available for free on the internet in Tablet magazine, and along the way we take a glance at his memoir Beautiful Twentysomethings. We think about the legacy of the war and the problem of underlying melancholy, survivors' guilt, the concepts of memory and postmemory, absent fathers, and the phenomenon of hypermasculinity and the compulsion to create "James Dean"-type characters in the mid-twentieth century.

The following page has a short introduction, a selected bibliography of works by Hłasko currently available in English with links to publishers' websites, and a link to the video discussion.

Or go directly to the video at--

Best regards,

David A. Goldfarb


David A. Goldfarb