The other day I put up a link to a piece about the posthumous publication of Witold Gombrowicz’s diary quarry or pre-diary (what are now published as his diaries were actually magazine or newspaper columns, sort of blog posts before there was an Internet). In the published diaries, there is practically no mention of sexual activity, though one can read between the lines here and there. But in Kronos there is full disclosure of sorts. My interest here is not prurient (moi?) but somewhat provoked by my reading of the diaries, which are wonderful in themselves (I copied out long passages in my notebooks: texts about the construction of the self by language, by social interaction, and the self being thrown back on the negative position, defining itself as NOT-THAT; I find that I go through life refining myself against roles and definitions into which I find I cannot fit myself). But in the diaries the veiled references seem almost to taunt the reader, inspire curiosity. And then, of course, late in life, soon before he died actually, Gombrowicz did marry (a French-Canadian woman). All very curious.
In any case, after I posted the note and link, Ewa Bender at a wonderfully informative (about all things literary, cultural and Polish) site called Culture.pl sent me the link to the following overview of Kronos. The author is Mikołaj Gliński. Fascinating. Lists of lovers, male, female and those who could be either. Abbreviations. Circles to connote intercourse.
Just so you know: I am working on an essay on Gombrowicz, long time coming.
The beginnings of this erotic chronology, as well as Gombrowicz’s bisexuality, can be traced to a note from 1934. It was next to this date that, years later, in an attempt at reconstructing the period, Gombrowicz jotted down “The first ‘pe’ attempts”. We can guess that “pe” is short for pederastic, but can learn nothing more. Subsequent pages of this reconstruction consist in prewar lists of his partners, often presented with an invective: the hysteric whore from Hala (during the stay in Zakopane), a servant from Zaborow, Gelbardowa’s servant, a waitress from Zodiac, Jadźka’s friend, two whores from Mokotowska Street, a whore with gonorrhea, a virgin, Franek, and the one with legs in rubber slippers.