newly discovered story by bruno schulz

Dull sleep rolled over me like a heavy wagon, laden with the dust of darkness, covering me with its gloom.

Then the winter night began to wall itself in with black bricks of nothingness. Infinite expanses condensed into deaf, blind rock: a heavy, impenetrable mass growing into the space between things. The world congealed into nothingness.

In late 2019, Ukrainian researcher Lesya Khomych discovered what would soon be declared a previously unknown story by the great Polish writer Bruno Schulz, originally published under the pseudonym Marceli Weron. Entitled ‘Undula’, after its initial republication in Polish in the journal Schulz/Forum 14, the story appeared in English this summer on the website Notes From Poland, translated by the site’s editor Stanley Bill.

Prior to the story’s publication on Notes From Poland, however, the publisher Sublunary Editions had announced it would publish an English translation of the story in paperback this fall. So now there will be two English translations of what scholars believe is likely to have been Schulz’s first published story, a decade before the publication of his first collection of short fiction, Cinnamon Shops (Sklepy cynamonowe).

a profile of the translator ‘red pine’

Bill Porter

Bill Porter (“Red Pine”). translator of Chinese texts and poetry, and author of the 1993 book Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits

(click image to read the article; found via The Hermitary see also: Lion’s Roar article)

RIP Christopher Middleton, early translator of Robert Walser

Poet and translator Christopher Middleton died last week at the age of 89. Middleton was the first translator to bring Swiss Modernist writer Robert Walser to an English-language reading audience. He translated many other writers, including Georg Trakl, Christa Wolf, and Friedrich Nietzsche. But for me, his translation of Walser’s Jakob von Gunten remains the most important, as it was the first Walser book I read, which lead to a reading love affair of epic proportions. Middleton also translated many of the works in Selected Stories of Robert Walser, a fine collection of Walser’s short fiction. I’ve included two favorite excerpts from that volume below. To read a remembrance of Christopher Middleton, check out this piece by his fellow Walser translator Susan Bernofsky. The Paris Review also posted a tribute with one of his poems.

The walk seemed to be becoming more beautiful, rich, and long. Here at the railway crossing seemed to be the peak, or something like the center, from which again the gentle declivity would begin. Something akin to sorrow’s golden bliss and melancholy’s magic breathed around me like a quiet, lofty god.

—from ‘The Walk’

Often I walked in the neighboring forest of fir and pine, whose beauties, wonderful winter solitudes, seemed to protect me from the onset of despair. Ineffably kind voices spoke down to me from the trees: ‘You must not come to the hard conclusion that everything in the world is hard, false, and wicked. But come often to us; the forest likes you. In its company you will find health and good spirits again, and entertain more lofty and beautiful thoughts.’

—from ‘Frau Wilke’

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