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Title: Creativity and control : towards a model of authorship in Witold Gombrowicz
Author: Bhambry, T. K.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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My thesis explores concepts of authorship in the work of the Polish novelist, diarist, playwright and essayist Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969). I argue that implicit or subtextual allegories of authorship pervade his novels and diary, thus complementing the explicit discussions of literature and writing across his works. My close readings of perplexing passages and themes in Gombrowicz’s major works, presented in the context of contemporary debates on authorship and of his output as a whole, allow me to reveal his model of authorship as a paradoxical reconciliation of spontaneous creativity and disciplined control. Each chapter analyses a central paradox in one of Gombrowicz’s major works. Chapter 1 examines authorship as a controlled surrender in a short travel journal in Gombrowicz’s literary diary (Dziennik). The following chapters and the Postscript focus on his novels in chronological order. I discuss the notion of the work as the author’s ghostly double in Ferdydurke, Gombrowicz’s fascination with silence as both a threat and a prerequisite for literary creativity in Trans- Atlantyk, and the interweaving of eroticism and literature in Pornografia. The Postscript experiments with alternative formats of engaging with the work of a highly original and provocative writer who insists on the personal dimension of literary criticism: rather than presenting a traditional scholarly analysis of his final novel Kosmos, I enter into an imaginary dialogue with Gombrowicz, at once heeding and subverting his directives. My study, which engages with Gombrowicz scholarship in Polish, English, French, and German, enhances our understanding of a key figure of twentieth-century literature. What is more, I contribute to current debates on artistic explorations of creativity, literary self-reflexivity, and twentieth-century writers’ responses to cultural and theoretical representations of authorship. Thus my thesis illuminates the dilemmas surrounding questions of language, art, and individual autonomy that preoccupy a generation of artists and theorists alike.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available