At the start of his work on the Diary, Gombrowicz had already twenty years of literary activity behind him (though he had not published anything for a good fifteen), yet he feared this new form of writing as if he were a novice. He often emphasized that, for an artist who had mastered a certain poetic genre such as the lyric or the epic, moving to the language of prose might well prove to be above his ability. His goal in composing the Diary (besides the financial one) was to comment upon his works and his own self, which he often does in the third person. His literary oeuvre is complex and difficult, and he was ever concerned lest critics, whom he did not trust, should distort him and his work. In Gombrowicz’s opinion, the critic can only harm both the reader and the artist. Thus, in the Diary, Gombrowicz attempts to win over the reader to his philosophy and system of values. For Gombrowicz, as noted above, writing is “the battle which an artist wages with people over his personal fame.” Hence, his artistic polemicisms have always a personal edge.
Gombrowicz was not interested in culture for its own sake, but as people relate to it. “Not culture, but our relationship to it is what interests me,” he comments in Rozmowy z Gombrowiczem (1969; A Kind of Testament, 1973): “Each pretends to be wiser, more mature than he actually is.”
Even in Argentina, cut off physically from Europe,...
(The entire section is 1437 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Diary Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!