The Passive Vampire by Ghérasim Luca (Prague: Twisted Spoon Press, 2008).

Fijalkowski, Krzysztof The Passive Vampire by Ghérasim Luca (Prague: Twisted Spoon Press, 2008). UNSPECIFIED. UNSPECIFIED.


Fijalkowski’s translation and presentation of Ghérasim Luca’s 'The Passive Vampire' (1948) offers Anglophone audiences a lost classic of Surrealist literature, and was the first publication to introduce Luca to a wider international readership, in a format appealing to scholars and non-specialists alike. The project was initiated and proposed by Fijalkowski to Twisted Spoon Press, a specialist in Central European literature in translation, based in Prague but with very effective international distribution. A broad range of positive reviews, in established places such as Mute and the Guardian, but also in a large number of online journals and forums, indicates that this book has made a significant impact at international level. In particular, it has helped to alert a readership to the work of an author now considered one of the major figures of post-war French poetry but only just coming to the attention of Anglophone audiences. The translation – in the classic style of Surrealist prose, part theoretical manifesto, part delirious narrative – is accompanied by a 12-page introduction (plus additional pages of references) drawn from Fijalkowski’s own (at that time largely unpublished) research on Luca’s oeuvre and his encounters with the author in the late 1980s. Luca is presented within the context of Surrealism, along with an outline of the cultural and political context of the narrative, written in Bucharest in 1941. From the perspective of Fijalkowski’s research, the book should be seen as part of a substantial body of outcomes on Luca’s work, including scholarly articles (e.g. ‘Cubomania’, MLA convention, Boston MA (January 2013) and ‘‘La poésie sans langue’: Ghérasim Luca, Visual Poet’, Hyperion (October 2013)). An extract appeared in Calque: New Translations 5 (Spring 2009), 146-59.

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