This article is devoted to Zdravko Malic's activities as a literary critic. Malic is a Croatian scholar of Polish who authored Croatia's first scholarly dissertation on the Witold Gombrowicz oeuvre (defended 1965). Providing a summary of an existing knowledge on Gombrowicz, and having read his texts in a perspective of existentialism and grotesque, Malic focused in his paper on the basic characteristics of literariness of the oeuvre, thus exerting a strong impact on further development of the Croatian 'Gombrowicz studies'. A reconstruction of Malic's dissertation, which has not hitherto been known in Poland in its entirety, unveils an essential motivation of the critic: Malic reads Gombrowicz through, as it were, Miroslav Krleza's literary ideology. Krleza was a Croatian writer who in 1930s was renowned as critic of any manifestation of lack of genuineness and of the 'Croatian literary lies'. Malic's later texts on Gombrowicz show that the Polish writer was to remain his personal ideological guide for his entire lifetime. Also at the stage when the Croatian critic (who was not only a Polish scholar but also a poet himself) has managed to 'overcome his Gombrowicz' in his quest for the essence of poesy.