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From the Publisher
Edited and translated by Daniel Gerould and C.S. Durer, foreword by Jan Kott. Painter, playwrights, novelist, aesthetician, philosopher, and expert on drugs, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz - or Witkacy, as he called himself - remains Poland''s outstanding figure in the arts between the two world wars. This volume brings together three of Witkiewicz''s best works for the stage as well as a selection from his critical writing. The plays deal with the author''s principal themes and obsessions: the dilemma of the artist in the twentieth century; the revolutions in science and politics; and the bankruptcy of all ideology, the decline of western civilization, and the coming of totalitarianism. Yet, far from being solemn or even serious in tone, these apocalyptic dramas are permeated with grotesque humor and characterized by a wild theatricality that particularly appeals to contemporary sensibility.