Join us for a celebration and discussion on Józef Czpaski, painter, writer, and eyewitness to the turbulent history of the twentieth century.
As a Polish reserve officer fighting against the invading Nazis in the opening weeks of the Second World War, Józef Czapski was taken prisoner by the Soviets and survived the Katyn Massacre. His experience of POW camp, the Polish army, and treks throughout eastern Europe became the basis for his most famous book, Inhuman Land, which has been translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Czapski spent the rest of his life in Paris, where he painted, wrote, and was a conduit for a network of political refugees, artists, and thinkers, both Polish and not. Eric Karpeles, in Almost Nothing: The 20th-Century Art and Life of Jozef Czapski, brings this remarkable figure to the page, and joins Lloyd-Jones and Irena Grudzińska-Gross to talk about the life, times, and work of Józef Czapski.
Irena Grudzinska Gross was involved in student movement and emigrated from her native Poland after the unrest of 1968. She resumed her studies in Italy and received her PhD from Columbia University in 1982.She taught courses in East European literature and history at several universities and is now Fellow at the Guggenheim Foundation. Her books include Golden Harvest (with Jan T. Gross), 2012; Czesław Miłosz and Joseph Brodsky: Fellowship of Poets, 2009; and The Scar of Revolution: Tocqueville, Custine and the Romantic Imagination, 1995.
Eric Karpeles is a painter, writer, and translator. His comprehensive guide, Paintings in Proust, considers the intersection of literary and visual aesthetics in the work of the great French novelist. He has written about the paintings of the poet Elizabeth Bishop and about the end of life as seen through the works of Emily Dickinson, Gustav Mahler, and Mark Rothko. The painter of The Sanctuary and of the Mary and Laurance Rockefeller Chapel, he is the also the translator of Józef Czapski’s Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp and Lorenza Foschini’s Proust’s Overcoat. He lives in Northern California.
Antonia Lloyd-Jones is a translator of Polish literature, and twice winner of the Found in Translation award. Her translations include work by several of Poland’s leading contemporary novelists and reportage authors, crime fiction, poetry, and children’s books. She is a mentor for the Emerging Translators’ Mentorship Programme, and former co-chair of the UK Translators Association.