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2007 | 2(17) | 319-337

Article title

Schulz - Classical and (Post)modern


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The paper is an attempt at a reconstruction of the philosophy of Bruno Schulz. Its basis is the modern experience of the disintegration of a stable vision of the world of the degradation of beliefs and authorities. Schulz, despite what the majority of comments say, expresses not only the fear of getting lost in the labyrinth of the Universe, but also a fascination with what is chaotic and without convention, inhuman and inexpressible. His key idea of making the world sensible with the use of myth is just a convenient concept, a tool for the examination of culture's limits. His inquiries, searching for a hidden rule, prove abortive. Schulz looks for an unambiguous Sense in the world, yet he finds its absence. He wants to reach the truth of Logos, nevertheless he finds himself imprisoned in the mumble of countless stories. The roots of Schulz's thought reach back, as they say, to the philosophies of Bergson and Nietzsche, to phenomenology, and to Cassirer and Jung. The very particular document of his hesitations is a text known as 'Walks of a skeptic through the rubble of culture', an essay devoted to Aldous Huxley. In this essay, Schulz expresses approval for the chaos, says a melancholic 'yes' said to the world subjected to multiple relativisms. The rubble is a metaphor of the world destroyed by the modernist doubt. The lonely wanderer turns into an indifferent passer-by. Instead of reconstructing the totality (of glorious monuments), he plays with fragments (its pieces). Instead of looking for an absolute meaning, he makes absurd collages. The vision of the rubble of culture determines also Schulz's thinking about literature. It is impossible to build a classical unity (its disintegration is decisive/definitive), as it is impossible to create something absolutely new (we still use and consult ancient works). The author of 'The Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass', like other modernists, tries to find his place between the tradition and the literary experiment.


  • J. Franczak, c/o Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Katedra Antropologii Literatury i Badan Kulturowych, ul Grodzka 64, 31-044 Kraków, Poland,


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