This discussion was centred on a few short stories from Collected Stories by Bruno Schulz, led by Jolanta Grodecka. The four short stories she's asking us to read are: 'The Birds,' 'Night of the great season,' 'Spring,' and 'Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass.'
Bruno Schulz is commonly recognised as one of the greatest stylists of Polish prose who left after himself a small oeuvre of just two slim volumes of short stories. Nevertheless, Bruno would probably label himself as a painter. Born on 12 July 1892 in Drohobych in the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, a part of the Kingdom of Poland occupied by the Austrian Empire, he died on 19 November 1942 in the same town when it was under German occupation (now the town is in western Ukraine), shot by a Nazi. The circumstances of his death are unclear and similarly, details of his life are often lost to obscurity. Schulz was Jewish but he did not know Yiddish and even considered converting to Catholicism. Unlike Isaac Bashevis Singer, he wrote in Polish. And yet, his approach to his cultural heritage cannot be so clearly decided.
Scholarship on Schulz is swarmed with half-truths and well-rooted lies of early scholars due to the difficulties surrounding research, firstly because of the tragic circumstances of the war and secondly because of the dislike that the Polish communist government had for modernist art. To this day, Schulz is often considered a provincial author and yet, he spent his formative years in Vienna. His writing is often compared to Kafka's due to the alleged translation of The Trial which quickly leads to generalisations. Schulz is the author of Xięga Bałwochwalcza (The Booke of Idolatry) – a series of drawings in cliché verre technique and the lost novel The Messiah alongside some lost short stories.
Schulz’s literary career was a short one, his first collection Cinnamon Shops was published in December 1933 (printed with the date 1934) and the second Sanatorium under the Sign of the Hourglass in 1937.
In 2019, a short story titled Undula published by an unknown author Marceli Weron was discovered by a Ukrainian scholar Lesia Chomycz. It was soon recognised as Schulz's own. Published in the magazine of petroleum workers in January 1922, the story again undermines the assumptions held by Schulz scholars and moves the date of his literary debut by well over a decade.