Monday, 21 February 2011

14.5/111 - Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz

I tried to read this, I really did. I just couldn't get into it. My curiosity about how well it linked up with Tree of Codes was simply not deep enough to push me into reading this whole thing. I just wasn't curious enough. My heart wasn't in it.

A couple of things I would like to say about it, though. Of the parts I did read, the language was beautiful. I can see why Jonathan Safran Foer decided to pick this text, as there is such a huge variety of language to choose from.

In addition, the Penguin edition that I read has a foreword written by Jonathan Safran Foer, so I think I might just assume that this was the translation he worked with. Although I stand by what I said in my last post about the omission of this information from Tree of Codes being a little careless on his part. It is very problematic - I have since read in several places that the title itself has been mistranslated, and that the more accurate translation for Street of Crocodiles would in fact be Cinnamon Shops, which of course raises the question of what else has been creatively translated.

The thing which was most enlightening to me was to read JSF's foreword to Street of Crocodiles, in which he describes the death of Bruno Schulz at the hands of a Nazi officer. Schulz was an extremely creative man, and spent much of his time painting murals for another Nazi officer who had perhaps taken pity on him. Decades after his death, a journalist decided to attempt to find the murals painted by Schulz for this Nazi officer, and discovered that many of them had been painted over, but that by rubbing his hand over the paint, a faint outline of the characters underneath could be revealed. Mmm, parallels.

That's all for now.

Next time: The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King.

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