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No 2 (57) 2019

A Negative History of Literature: The Case of Schulz (and Riff)

A Negative History of Literature: The Case of Schulz (and Riff)

Jakub Orzeszek

(University of Gdansk)

ORCID: 0000-0002-7724-0876

The full version of this article is available  in Polish  in the printed version of Tekstualia and in the on-line subscription.

The article discusses the concept of a negative history of literature, understood as an academic-literary discourse focused on non-existing books: deliberately destroyed, forgotten, unfi nished or barely developed. References to several critics and writers (Pierre Bayard, Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, Stanisław Lem) enable the identifi cation of two contiguous fi gures: the negative reader who is defi ned by his or her melancholic tendency to see literature as a realm of loss and the negative literary historian who attempts to reconstruct lost books as artifacts (material remains, archival objects) and linguistic entities (contextual analysis). Bruno Schulz, whose reception is marked with the dialectics of loss and revelation, is discussed as a „patron” of the negative history of literature. Additionally, the article looks at the case of his friend Władysław Riff, a novelist who died of tuberculosis at the age of 26 and who exists today only in Schulz’s biographical legend.

The sample of Polish version of this article is available here:

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