Inhabiting the Apocalypse: Dystopic elements in Tadeusz Borowski's narration of the concentration universe This paper, which contains some translations of Tadeusz Borowski’s poems and articles still unpublished in Italy, compares his early stories (from the collections Auschwitz our home and Farewell to Maria) with some aspects of the dystopian imagery of the first half of the 20th century. Borowski's concentration camp prose moves far away from the tones of his early poetry, written in occupied Warsaw, in which references to Messianism and the Apocalypse resonate. In order to better convey the complex and unacceptable truth about the camps, Borowski aims to narrate Auschwitz not so much from a strictly autobiographical, as from a social and historical perspective. Nazi death-camp system belongs to an epochal project, based on the exploitation of millions of slaves, and aims to expand everywhere. In some tales Borowski approaches also a nonfiction dimension, highlighting Auschwitz’s most homologating aspects: it fuses past and future, ancient slavery and modern Fordian society. Borowski does not aim so much at a testimonial narrative – reconstructing the past and attempting to put events in order – but rather at depicting a hermetic caste-based world, in which the present seems to be the only possible dimension. Those who want to survive - like Borowski’s narrative al-ter-ego Tadek - passively accepts their own dehumanization, the obliteration of the past, the manipulation of language, the elimination of the weakest in the assembly-line style gas chambers. In this experiment in social engineering, based on overpowering and lye, there is not only horror and apocalypse, but also a strange parody of the concealed horrors of pre-war society.

Abitare l'apocalisse: la narrazione dell'universo concentrazionario di Tadeusz Borowski

Giovanna Tomassucci
Primo
2021

Abstract

Inhabiting the Apocalypse: Dystopic elements in Tadeusz Borowski's narration of the concentration universe This paper, which contains some translations of Tadeusz Borowski’s poems and articles still unpublished in Italy, compares his early stories (from the collections Auschwitz our home and Farewell to Maria) with some aspects of the dystopian imagery of the first half of the 20th century. Borowski's concentration camp prose moves far away from the tones of his early poetry, written in occupied Warsaw, in which references to Messianism and the Apocalypse resonate. In order to better convey the complex and unacceptable truth about the camps, Borowski aims to narrate Auschwitz not so much from a strictly autobiographical, as from a social and historical perspective. Nazi death-camp system belongs to an epochal project, based on the exploitation of millions of slaves, and aims to expand everywhere. In some tales Borowski approaches also a nonfiction dimension, highlighting Auschwitz’s most homologating aspects: it fuses past and future, ancient slavery and modern Fordian society. Borowski does not aim so much at a testimonial narrative – reconstructing the past and attempting to put events in order – but rather at depicting a hermetic caste-based world, in which the present seems to be the only possible dimension. Those who want to survive - like Borowski’s narrative al-ter-ego Tadek - passively accepts their own dehumanization, the obliteration of the past, the manipulation of language, the elimination of the weakest in the assembly-line style gas chambers. In this experiment in social engineering, based on overpowering and lye, there is not only horror and apocalypse, but also a strange parody of the concealed horrors of pre-war society.
Tomassucci, Giovanna
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/991767
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