This book is the first critical attempt made in any language to re-examine the entire œuvre of Bruno Jasieński (1901-1938). It takes into account the writer’s lifelong concerns but places them in the context of the universal value of his writing, generated by his modernist passions and his fascination with the grotesque – an artistic device that was consonant with his need to portray life in all its complexities. The author relies on the grotesque as an element that unifies Jasieński’s futuristic poetry with his prose. Especially important in this regard is the close reading of Jasieński’s satiric grotesques written in the Soviet Union.
The author does not avoid the intricacies and difficult questions of Jasieński’s ideological commitment but focuses mainly on the consequences that the highly ambivalent and ambiguous nature of the grotesque has on the interpretation of his work.
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2006. 375 pp.
Contents: The grotesque - a historical overview of the term – Formal properties of the grotesque – Bruno Jasieński’s concept
of art – Jasieński’s avant-garde and Futuristic poetry – Conflation of human body and machine – The nature of the grotesque
dance – Relationship of the grotesque with apocalyptic and utopian elements in I Burn Paris – Jasieński’s attitude
to socialist realism – Satire and the grotesque in The Ball of the Mannequins – An anti-totalitarian anti-fascist warning
in Jasieński’s short stories.