In , he began teaching handicrafts and drawing in a Drohobycz school. Schulz made his debut as an artist in the s and as a prose writer in the s. In , he visited Paris, hoping to exhibit his artwork there. He continued to teach after the Red Army entered Drohobycz in
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In , he began teaching handicrafts and drawing in a Drohobycz school. Schulz made his debut as an artist in the s and as a prose writer in the s. In , he visited Paris, hoping to exhibit his artwork there.
He continued to teach after the Red Army entered Drohobycz in After the Nazi takeover in he was confined to the ghetto, where he was shot and killed in the street on 19 November , the day he had planned to escape to the Aryan side of the city.
Schulz belonged to a group of avant-garde artists who combined writing and fine art. His early ambitions centered on art more than on literature, and approximately paintings and examples of graphic art have been preserved. His artistic output combined expressionism with an inclination to the use of geometrical forms, and the grotesque with mythological, biblical, and literary motifs.
Its eroticism including the masochistic theme of female domination of men scandalized the interwar public. Jewish themes, particularly Hasidic motifs, appear in his artworks more frequently than in his writings. Schulz was one of the greatest Polish writers of the twentieth century. Past generations of critics associated him with symbolism, expressionism, and surrealism, but today his innovative prose is interpreted in the context of modernism, in which ontological issues overshadow epistemological ones, or even in the context of the postmodernist tendency to play with tradition as well as with the twentieth-century crisis of mimesis.
His writing is poetic prose in which language plays a key role and metaphor constitutes the source of fictional events and action. He was undoubtedly influenced by the philosophy, anthropology, and psychology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bergson, and Freud. In his writings, one finds some traces of the Jungian theory of archetypes.
He saw metaphor as the kernel of myth and believed the main task of art was to return to its own mythical roots in order to restore the unity of the vision of the world as a cosmos. Searching for that primordial unity, the artist does not create ex nihilo but builds from salvaged and scattered fragments. Metaphor has the power of linking elements that have been separated and belong to different spheres.
The fates of protagonists are organized according to the plot structures of myth e. The outcome of their activities is usually disastrous and the protagonists themselves are crippled, defective, hybrid, unfinished beings his motif of mannequins.
As a Polish writer of Jewish background, Schulz was a moderate assimilationist, reconciling his private Jewishness with Polish and European aspirations. His strong attachment to Jewishness is unquestionable. His correspondence indicates that he felt at home among members of the Polish-speaking Jewish intelligentsia regardless of their ideological orientations.
Schulz published his texts in Polish Jewish periodicals that also reviewed his artistic and literary work. Polish critics, however, have only recently begun to associate Schulz with Jewish culture and to interpret him in a Jewish context.
Eugenia Prokop-Janiec. Suggested Reading Author Translation. All Rights Reserved.
Schulz, Bruno: Mityzacja rzeczywistości