Friday, March 8, 2013

Bruno Schulz belongs to me, dammit !!

I don't remember exactly how I came to Bruno Schulz's masterpiece The Street of Crocodiles. It must have been while lost in the labyrinth: "Readers who liked this also liked this." Eventually, I must have come upon the Schulz book and found something in the description that spoke to me.

When I read it the first time, I sank so deeply into it. The book was written just for me, surely. Since then, I've had to deal with odd and possessive feelings. Who are all these other people who think they know what this book contains and who purport to appreciate it? But over time, I've softened my pathological ownership of Schulz's text. I have allowed for the possibility that others out there might also be strange readers and also sink deeply, irretrievably into Schulz's pages. Others out there might also be citizens of that peculiar and wondrous tangent-world.

Occasionally though, I still get a bit tense. I'll read about Schulz seminars and festivals. Speakers presenting serious-sounding papers. Speakers talking about so much peripheral stuff. Speakers not talking about a simple encounter with a miraculous specimen of literature. Talking about anything and everything except a confession of wonder and how they have been affected. But over time, I have also softened a bit in my chagrin over the "institutionalization" of Schulz. Especially when such seminars and festivals take place in Drohobych, Poland:


This thing sounds good to me. I wish I could get in a jet next year and fly (not upside-down) to Poland, to attend this thing. So many interesting things listed in connection with Bruno Schulz.

And speaking of Schulz scholars, there is one I've come across who does seem to evince the necessary and sufficient reverence for The Street of Crocodiles. Her name is Lauren A. Benjamin, and here's an article she wrote:

"The Likeness of a Tailor's Dummy: Bruno Schulz’s Recreation of the Human in Sklepy Cynamonowe"

Ms. Benjamin, in her approach to Schulz, is not abstract, wayward, or stuffy. She ponders Schulz boldly and sympathetically. In this way, she syncs with Schulz's visioning, with his tangent-worlding. Ms. Benjamin appears to know just what it is that is going on in the shadows, silences, and uproariously melancholic situations of the marvelous book.

Bruno Schulz


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Tim! I do find that coming at things from a place of love (and how could one fail to love Schulz?) seems to imbue them with a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. And I can see that we are kindred spirits in that sense.


  2. I'm glad and honored that you dropped by, Lauren.


  3. "...coming at things from a place of love seems to imbue them with a certain je-ne-sais-quoi."

    Indeed. Lauren's scholarly abilities are nothing to sneeze at, either.