Other Literary Forms
Although Stanisaw Ignacy Witkiewicz’s reputation rests primarily on his plays, he also produced important work in other forms. His first novel, 622 upadki Bunga: Czyli, Demoniczna kobieta (1972; the 622 downfalls of Bungo: or, the demonic woman), written between 1910 and 1911 but published only posthumously, is a decadent, immature, autobiographical work that anticipates many of his later concerns. More significant is his second novel, Poegnanie jesieni (1927; farewell to autumn), which ventures into the realm of political prophecy: A liberal revolution is soon overthrown by a more radical group of revolutionaries, and the increasingly repressive attempts at social engineering undertaken by the new regime serve only to foster boredom and inefficiency on a massive scale. The same anti-Utopian outlook manifests itself even more dramatically in Witkiewicz’s most important novel, Nienasycenie (1930; Insatiability: A Novel in Two Parts, 1977). In this strangely prophetic work, a Chinese Communist Army, having subdued Soviet Russia, is encamped along the eastern frontiers of Poland and is about to launch a final assault against Western civilization. To weaken the resistance of their foes, the Chinese have disseminated a drug, in pill form, throughout the principal capitals of Europe. The pills are simply the organic counterpart of an ideology concocted by a Malayan-Chinese dialectician named Murti Bing: Anyone who ingests these pills is instantly converted to Murtibingism and thus perceives the futility of opposing the inevitable laws of history.
In addition to his fiction, Witkiewicz published a variety of other works that shed light on his drama and are of interest in their own right, including metaphysical studies of the arts, a formal philosophical treatise, and an account of his experiences with nicotine, alcohol, and other, more exotic drugs.