Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2012 - Fiction - 281 pages

In this bitterly funny novel a writer finds himself tossed into a chaotic world of schoolboys by a diabolical professor who wishes to reduce him to childishness. Originally published in Poland in 1937, Ferdydurke was deemed scandalous and subversive by Nazis, Stalinists, and the Polish Communist regime in turn and was officially banned in Poland for decades. It has nonetheless remained one of the most influential works of twentieth-century European literature.

"Ferdydurke, among its centrifugal charms, includes some of the truest and funniest literary satire in print."--John Updike

"A wonderfully subversive, self-absorbed, hilarious book. Think Kafka translated by Groucho Marx, with commentaries."--Kirkus Reviews

"The author's exuberant humor, suggesting the absurdist drama of Eugéne Ionesco, if not the short fiction of Franz Kafka, is readily apparent in this new translation. . . . Highly recommended."--Richard Koss, Library Journal

Winner of the 2001 National Translation Award given by the American Literary Translators Association


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ursula - LibraryThing

I wondered a bit about where to start with comments about this one, but it's the sort of thing you just have to dive right into. The plot defies description - the narrator, a man of 30, is dragged ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - deebee1 - LibraryThing

This book is, as Susan Sontag in the Introduction says, "an epic in defense of immaturity", and it is like no other. Gombrowicz insists on the word immaturity, and not youth, because it represents ... Read full review


one Abduction
two Imprisonment and Further Belittlement
three Caught with His Pants Down and Further Kneading
four Preface to The Child Runs Deep in Filidor
five The Child Runs Deep in Filidor
six Seduction and Further Driving Me into Youth
seven Love
eight Fruit Compote
nine Peeping and Further Incursion into Modernity
ten Legs on the Loose and New Entrapment
eleven Preface to The Child Runs Deep in Filibert
twelve The Child Runs Deep in Filibert
thirteen The Farmhand or Captive Again
fourteen Mug on the Loose and New Entrapment

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Witold Gombrowicz is the author of A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes, Trans-Atlantyk, Cosmos, and Pornografia, the first three available from Yale University Press. These, along with his plays and his Diary, have been translated into more than thirty languages. Danuta Borchardt has translated several works by Witold Gombrowicz. She is also a writer of short stories, which are regularly published on the website Exquisite Corpse.

Bibliographic information