Elżbieta Koziołkiewicz - A Pole in the Far East: Trials and Tribulations of a Text between New York, Paris, and Warsaw (Ferdynand Ossendowski, Beasts, Men, and Gods)

slovo:7441 - Slovo, May 6, 2021, The Distant Voyages of Polish Writers (20th-21st centuries) - https://doi.org/10.46298/slovo.2021.7441
A Pole in the Far East: Trials and Tribulations of a Text between New York, Paris, and Warsaw (Ferdynand Ossendowski, Beasts, Men, and Gods)

Authors: Elżbieta Koziołkiewicz

After the outbreak of the Bolshevik Revolution, Ferdynand Ossendowski, a Polish scientist, adventurer and writer living in the Russian Empire, managed to flee the country and tell his story to the world. This account of a dangerous journey through Central Asia, titled Beasts, Men, and Gods, was published in New York thanks to the help of an American, Lewis Stanton Palen. The universally admired book was translated from English into many languages, and Ossendowski himself soon prepared a Polish version of the narrative. Although Palen was credited only as a collaborator, hisimplication in the project seems to be larger than has been so far assumed. This paper discusses hitherto unexamined letters from Palen to Ossendowski as well as details of their later cooperation to form a theory on the genesis of Ossendowski’s most famous book. It also traces the uncommon literary career of Palen who since the publication of Beasts, Men, and Gods embarked on the collaboration with several other Central and Eastern European “source-authors” whose autobiographical accounts he edited and/ or translated. While none of them seems to have later retold the events in their own language, Ossendowski did, and the most important differences between the two texts are analyzed in the context of the necessity to adjust one’s personal experiences to the foreign literary market and the implied readers’ vision of the traversed lands.


Volume: The Distant Voyages of Polish Writers (20th-21st centuries)
Section: The distant journeys of Polish writers (20th-21st centuries)
Published on: May 6, 2021
Submitted on: May 4, 2021
Keywords: Ferdynand Ossendowski,Lewis Stanton Palen,co-authorship,bestseller,literary self-translation,autobiographism,mysticism,Ferdynand Ossendowski,Lewis Stanton Palen,co-auctorialité,best-seller,autotraduction littéraire,autobiographisme,mysticisme,Ferdynand Ossendowski,Lewis Stanton Palen,współautorstwo,bestseller,autoprzekład,autobiografizm,mistycyzm,[SHS.LITT]Humanities and Social Sciences/Literature


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