Summer 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 3 NonfictionJuly 1, 2011 |

The Folding Telescope and Many Other Virtues of Bruno Schulz

Bruno Schulz was born and was killed in the Polish town of Drohobycz, now in the Ukraine. The road there from Lviv (which Schulz knew as Lwów) is today lined with barren fields. There are patches of cultivation a few yards from the garden walls of roadside villas, but everywhere else the land is ragged with tares and other weeds. The long battle lines of combine harvesters tackling endless miles of grain can be watched only in old film stock, most of it black and white, or only in memory. The towns and villages have shed the more obvious emblems of Soviet uniformity, especially in Drohobycz itself, where an unusual number of old houses survive. Much of the town center still looks like the environment that Schulz grew up in. In fact, the material remains of the command economy are more obsolescent than the physical evidence of a largely nineteenth-century townscape. On the outskirts are shunting yards full of rotting iron, with a classic Soviet billboard showing a cartoon Stakhanovi

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Rod Menghham lectures in English at the University of Cambridge where he is also a fellow of Jesus College. He has published several books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century writing, most recently Introduction to Contemporary Fiction (Polity, 1999).

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By Rod Mengham

Bruno Schulz was born and was killed in the Polish town of Drohobycz, now in the Ukraine. The road there from Lviv (which Schulz knew as Lwów) is today lined […]

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