The World of George Grosz’s Pictures and the World Depicted in The Novel Pokora by Szczepan Twardoch

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Barbara Gawrońska Pettersson


“My drawings expressed my despair, hate and disillusionment […] I drew soldiers without noses; war cripples with crustacean-like steel arms” – so stated George Grosz in a refl ection on his art. This quotation expresses the essence of “The New Objectivity” (Neue Sachlichkeit) – a movement in German art in the time of Weimar Republic. The cover of Szczepan Twardoch’s novel Pokora (2020) is designed on the basis of Grosz’s painting Panorama. Down with Liebknecht (1919). The aim of the article is to explore how the literary text relates to its paratext and epitext, and which verbal pictures in the novel share motifs with Grosz’s visual art. This case study, conducted in the framework of Gérard Genette’s transtextuality theory and later research on intertextuality, shows that associations to Grosz’s pictures and even the artist’s biography are clearly present in Twardoch’s story of a young man from Silesia who is pending between German, Polish, and Silesian identity as well as between social classes, political views, and erotic orientations.


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Literary studies