(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Toward the end of his life, the author apologizes for the DIARY's failings, but no one familiar with Witold Gombrowicz will be disappointed. In fact, this final volume, with its account of his return to Europe, may be the liveliest of the three. As a writer with a growing international reputation, Gombrowicz is welcomed warmly by the European literary establishment. However, he returns their hospitality with the bad-mannered tomfoolery of a jester, puncturing their intellectual pretensions and unmasking everyone's petty motivations, including his own.

Born at the beginning of the century into the landed gentry, Gombrowicz, who died in 1969, revels in elitist attitudes. But far from believing in man's perfectibility, Gombrowicz again and again strips away man's idealized self, exposing inner rot, even barbarity. Culture imposes a thin veneer over man's true nature youth/age, form/chaos, strong/weak.


Blonski, J. “The Elusive Gombrowicz,” in Polish Perspectives. IV (1971), pp. 36-46.

Chicago Tribune. March 13, 1988, XIV, p. 6.

Chicago Tribune. August 8, 1993, XIV, p.6.

Kirkus Reviews. LV, December 15, 1987, p. 1711.

Los Angeles Times Book Review. April 10, 1988, p. 8.

Milosz, Czeslaw. The History of Polish Literature, 1983.

Milosz, Czeslaw. The Land of Ulro, 1984.

The Nation. Review. CCXLVI (April 30, 1988), p. 611-613.

The New Republic. Review. CXCVIII (June 20, 1988), pp. 35-39.

The New York Times Book Review. Review. XCIII (May 22, 1988), p. 14.

The New York Times Book Review. XCIV, November 5, 1989, p.34.

Publishers Weekly. CCXL, April 19, 1993, p.56.

Publishers Weekly. CCXXXV, May 26, 1989, p.61.

Publishers Weekly. CCXXXII, December 18, 1987, p. 46.

Thompson, E. M. Witold Gombrowicz, 1979.