Polica Dubova

Slovensko / English

Jacek Dehnel

Jacek Dehnel, born 1980, prose-writer, poet, translator, painter; made his debut with a collection of short stories called "The Collection" (1999), then continued with the novel "Lala" (2006) and the further short-story collections "The Square in Smyrna" (2007) and "Balzacalia" (2008); he has also published books of poetry: "Parallel Lives" (2004), "Journey Southward" (2005), and "Poems 1999-2004" (2006), which contains the previously unpublished poem cycle ‘In Praise of the Passage of Time’; he has won the Kościelski Prize (2005) and the POLITYKA Passport (2006); he lives in Warsaw.

From his debut volume of poetry onward, Jacek Dehnel has written verses which the critics acknowledge as "an aestheticizing neo-classicism, approaching academism" (Anna Kałuża). He often turns toward the past, taking liberally from high culture, and particularly drawing from modernism. On the surface his poetry is ostentatiously old-world, but he often mixes the past with the present (for example: in 'Journey Southward' all the poems bear dates from the beginning of the 20th century), often using pastiche, paraphrase or stylization.

The novel "Lala" brought Dehnel considerable popularity, and a reputation as one of the most promising prose-writers of the younger generation; it is a family saga, in which the central figure is the author’s grandmother, Elżbieta (‘Lala’) Bieniecka. This extraordinary old woman clearly fascinates her grandson, enchanting him with colorful stories from their family history, and those of the European intelligentsia. "Lala" is also a compelling tale about the passage of time, sickness and death. Dehnel describes the grandson’s efforts with exceptional feeling and depth, as he devotes himself to taking care of his increasingly ill grandmother.
The short stories in "The Square in Smyrna" include texts written from 1999-2002, and thus when the author was very young. But these are not just literary warm-ups. Dehnel speaks in a confident voice right from the start. These stories by the author of "Lala" are elegant literature, full of cultural references and poetry crossed with subtle irony. The title story stands as a sort of introduction to "Lala", while in others the writer presents a whole gallery of various intriguing figures, including a would-be priest, who helps to paint a whorehouse and ends up becoming a lover to one of its employees.

(Source: http://www.bookinstitute.pl)

Jacek Dehnel: Pupa

www.policadubova.org © 2011