Friday, April 26, 2013

On youth excerpt from...
by Witold Gombrowicz

At first glance he was perfectly ordinary, serene and friendly, obedient and even eager.  Torn between the child and the grown man (and this made him both innocently naive and pitilessly experienced) he was neither the one nor the other, but he was a third term, he was youth, violent and uncontrolled, surrendering him to cruelty, restraint and obedience, and condemning him to slavery and humiliation.  He was inferior because he was young.  Imperfect because he was young.  Sensual because he was young.  Carnal because he was young.  Destructive because he was young.  And, in his very youthfulness, he was despicable.  The oddest thing of all was that his smile, the most elegant thing about him, was the very mechanism that dragged him into humiliation, because this child could not defend himself, disarmed as he was by his constant desire to laugh.

This excerpt is from the version translated from a French translation (not from the original Polish) by Alastair Hamilton.  Though it reads well, there has since been an English translation made directly from the original Polish by Danuta Borchardt, who did fantastic work translating Ferdydurke

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