Danuta Borchardt discusses Pornografia

Where: Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome acclaimed translator DANUTA BORCHARDT for a conversation about her translation of Witold Gombrowicz’s novel Pornografia.

Witold Gombrowicz wrote Pornografia after leaving his native Poland for Argentina in 1939 and then watching from afar as the German invasion destroyed his country. Translated for the first time into English from the original Polish by award-winning translator Danuta Borchardt, Pornografia is one of Gombrowicz’s highest regarded works—a richly imagined tale of violence and carnality set in wartime Poland. In the midst of the German occupation, two aging intellectuals travel to a farm in the countryside, looking for a respite from the hellish scene in Warsaw. They quickly grow bored of their bucolic surroundings—that is, until they are hypnotized by a pair of country youths who have grown up alongside each other at the farm. The older men are determined to orchestrate a tryst between the two teenagers, but they are soon distracted by a string of violent developments, including an order from the underground movement for the men to assassinate a rogue resistance captain who has sought refuge with them. The erotic games are put on hold—until the two dissolute intellectuals find a way to involve their pawns in the murderous plot.

Danuta Borchardt is an award-winning translator from Polish to English. After a length career in clinical psychiatry she turned to translation with an English edition of Witold Gombrowicz’s novel Ferdydurk_e, for which she was awarded the National Translation Award in 2001, from the American Literary Translators Association. She has also written short stories, which have been published in _Exquisite Corpse.

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