It seems that Zygmunt Haupt did not write for those who found simple reading to be enough. I suppose that he wrote for those who, even while they read, think about how to write something of their own. And for those few who, willing to write themselves, read not to learn how it’s possible to write but to know: it isn’t worth doing it this way anymore. For it has already been done this way. And it is impossible to do it again, since this kind of repetition loses its sense before it has even been written.
“Flies mottled densely the chipped enamel on the tacky clock face*” – reading Haupt’s prose comes with the risk of regular spells of astonishment. What is so wrong with this piece of a sentence that one wants to read it over and over again, aloud, aligning the facial muscles for all the contortions?
The Zygmunt Haupt Festival in Gorlice is a perfect opportunity not only to discover the creative work of a writer and painter unknown to the broad public, but also to discover the places where he spent time and created. In his letter to Haupt, Jerzy Stempowski wrote the following about his book “Pierścień z papieru”:
As a painter with more of a static imagination, you evoke separate images without taking care to put them into continuous sequences. This magic was known to Petrarch. He described all the places he had been to as if in exercises in topography.*
Let us once again begin with the writer’s letters. In his letter from the 9th of January Zygmunt Haupt confides in Józef Wittlin:
I will soon be facing an unpleasant kind of situation. Namely, some New Orleans committee approached me on the account of helping them as a translator, regarding the reception of the first grand transports of Polish IDPs, which is to enter their harbour. Should it come to this, I will attempt to restrict my role to translator only, for my opinions on the new, longed-for life which they are to begin here, those opinions would be paradoxical and unenthusiastic.*
The Haupt Festival in Gorlice. Alright, I thought, it has begun… No, maybe it’s not alright. Or actually… After all, today does seem to be an inevitable stage in the process of familiarising oneself with and exploring the works by the author of “Rain.”
So what of this Haupt? This writer who is forgotten, particular, akin to no-one? What of this author of excerpts, snippets, pieces with no punch line? It’s all frayed, torn, without onset or conclusion, without distinct form. Six hundred printed pages in soft cover. Will probably fall apart from extended use. The pages will scatter. They’ll mix, shuffle as in an unpredictable game of solitaire. What is to be done with him? With this champion of the unobvious. With this slave and master of memory.
Born on the 5th of March in 1907 Ulashkivtsi (Chortkiv powiat, Tarnopol voivodeship), died on the 10th of May 1975 in Winchester (Virginia, USA). Writer of prose, painter, translator, journalist.
Zygmunt Haupt published his first stories in the 1930s. It was not until he received the 1962 Kultura award, however, that he became better known among Polish readers. He was again appreciated in 1971, when he was granted the Kościelscy Foundation literary award. Below we present Zygmunt Haupt’s literary works from the years 1935-75, and the posthumous publications from 1988-2014, edited by prof. Aleksander Madyda.
Zygmunt Haupt first studied architecture at the Lviv University, and then in 1931-32 urban studies in Paris. There he started to paint and write. He earned money from drawing, painting, designing. Below we present his visual art works from 1933-75, edited by prof. Aleksander Madyda.
Below we present research papers, literary criticism, and reviews dedicated to Zygmunt Haupt, edited by prof. Aleksander Madyda.