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Literary and Cultural Circulation

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José Luís Jobim

An important question concerning literary studies is the circulation of literary works beyond their place of origin. Many other aspects must also be taken into consideration, such as the asymmetric positioning of authors and their work in international circulation, which is conditioned by the relative position of languages and cultures in the global market. This volume focuses on literary and cultural circulation and includes essays that explore this topic through case studies, analysing works and authors from diverse literatures and cultures, and discussions of the theoretical issues surrounding circulation and all that it entails: temporality, place, method, material objects and concepts.

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2 Cultural Circulation and the Age of Cultures in Witold Gombrowicz (Olga Kempinska)

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Olga Kempinska 2 Cultural Circulation and the Age of Cultures in Witold Gombrowicz “He behaved like a schoolboy” (Gombrowicz 2004: 129). “He always moved in a youthful, sporty way, full of energy […]. His behaviour, provocative and at the same time cordial, corroborated this youthful appearance” (Ibidem: 132). “My father wanted to introduce Witold to intellectual circles, but he felt that he did not give the impression of being an adult man. His boyish manner seemed like a freak of nature to my father” (Ibidem: 22). “Here was a man aged over 40, whose childlike face and maybe also his state of mind gave the appearance of a young man of 20” (Ibidem: 72). Many people who met him in Argentina were perplexed by his misleading appearance that, together with his mischievous behaviour, gave Witold Gombrowicz (1904–1969) an extraordinarily youthful air. As we will see, his thoughts on the problem of age are intimately linked to the questioning of experi- ence and the representation of the body. Gombrowicz was, in fact, one of the writers most fascinated by the relationship between age and aesthet- ics, and one of the greatest exponents of the concept of immaturity. In his Dzienniki (Diaries), written between 1953 and 1969, largely during his years as an immigrant in Argentina, the writer underlines, on the one hand, the close correlation between maturity and formal decisiveness and on the other, the affinity between “eternally rejuvenating immaturity” (Gombrowicz 1997a: 220) and the formal uncertainty of openness. In this...

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