26.11.2018 Literature

Zbigniew Herbert – a European poet (conference by Brigitte GAUTIER)

The Polish Sejm (parliament) has declared 2018 Zbigniew HERBERT Year. The great Polish poet breathed his last in 1998. To commemorate 20 years since his passing, the Polish Institute is inviting Brigitte GAUTIER, a French specialist who has translated works by the writer, to give a conference on Herbert

>>> Salons of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Brussels (Avenue des Gaulois 29, 1040 Brussels) – see map
>>> Monday 26 November 2018 – 19h
>>> Free of charge. RSVP : bruxelles@instytutpolski.orgConference in French

Zbigniew HERBERT was born in Lviv on 29 October 1924. After the war, he completed his studies in Economics at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow before going on to study Philosophy at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun. He began by writing reviews and articles on philosophy and literature but soon stepped aside from literary life, incapable as he was to submit to the realist/socialist doctrine, which was the only one accepted in Stalinist Poland. In 1955, he published his first texts in “Życie Literackie” (one of whose long-time editors was Wisława SZYMBORSKA),one of the most influential Polish weekly literary publications in socialist Poland. The following year, the first of his nine tomes of poetry was published. It stood out thanks to its clarity of language and its classical influence. In 1974, in an eponymous collection, he created the character of Mr Cogito (Pan Cogito in Polish), who appeared in four later works, transforming himself into a veritable ethical symbol, and a metaphor for the painful choices between good and evil to be made in our daily lives. With ties to the press of the day, which was notably Catholic, (“Tygodnik Powszechny”, “Dziś i Jutro”, “Słowo Powszechne”, “Przegląd Powszechny”, “Twórczość”, etc.), Herbert published his most famous poems in its pages, as well as plays and literary essays, of which the following are particularly worthy of mention: Barbarzyńca w ogrodzie (1962; published in French by au Bruit du temps in 2014 entitled Un barbare dans le jardin in a translation by Jean Lajarrige revised by Laurence Dyèvre), Martwa natura z wędzidłem (1993; published in French by Bruit du temps in 2012 and entitled Nature morte avec bride et mors in a translation by Thérèse Douchy) and Labirynt nad morzem (2000 ; published in French by Bruit du temps in 2011 entitled Le labyrinthe auprès de la mer in a translation by Brigitte Gautier). His work was also translated into English and German.

Brigitte GAUTIER is a lecturer at the University of Lille qualified to direct research in Polish Language and Literature. She has devoted many articles to the work of Herbert and has translated his Complete Works of Poetry, one of his volumes of essays: Le Labyrinthe au bord de la mer (Le Bruit du Temps, 2011), as well as a selection of his correspondence with Polish intellectuals: Combat et Création (Noir sur Blanc, 2017). In May 2018, Gautier’s biography of the poet, entitled La Poésie contre le chaos (Noir sur Blanc, 2018) was published. Volume II of the Œuvres poétiques complètes (Le Bruit du Temps, 2011) saw her awarded the Nelly-Sachs prize for translation in 2013.

Scheduled Literature