Schulz, Bruno

Schulz, Bruno, 1892–1942, Polish short-story writer and artist. Unrecognized until after World War II, Schulz is now considered the finest modern Polish-language prose stylist and a significant visual artist. His stories are dreamlike reflections on life in the modest Jewish quarter of Drohobycz (now Drohobych, Ukraine), where he was born and lived. Both his fiction and drawings are notable for their erotic charge and their acute anticipation of the Holocaust. His style, which has been compared both to Kafka and Proust, is elaborately figured, poetic, and tinged with surrealism. Schulz published his first story collection, The Street of Crocodiles, in 1933 (tr. 1963); the second, The Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass, appeared in 1937 (tr. 1979). Germans occupied his hometown in 1939 and three years later Schulz was murdered on the street by a Gestapo officer. His reputed masterpiece, an unfinished novel entitled Messiah, has never been found. Although most of his works of art have disappeared, in 2001 fragments of a Schulz mural were discovered in a Drohobych building, parts of which were removed by Israeli agents to the Holocaust memorial at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.

See J. Ficowski, ed., Letters and Drawings (1988), The Complete Fiction (1989), The Drawings (1990), The Collected Works (1998); biography by J. Ficowski, Regions of the Great Heresy (2002); C. Z. Prokopczyk, ed., Bruno Schulz: New Documents and Interpretations (1999).

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