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Tadeusz Konwicki (1926–2015)

The Polish writer and filmmaker Tadeusz Konwicki has died, reports Rick Lyman in the New York Times. Konwicki’s novel, A Minor Apocalypse, is widely acclaimed and considered among the most important works of post-World War II Eastern European literature, as well as required reading for all Polish high school students. Published in 1979, A Minor Apocalypse follows a despairing writer, also named Konwicki, who is asked by political leaders to set himself on fire outside Poland’s Community Party headquarters.

As a director, he made the film Last Day of Summer (1958), which won the Grand Prix at the International Festival of Documentary and Short Feature Films in Venice. As editor of the Penguin Books’ series “Writers From the Other Europe,” Philip Roth published English translations of two of Mr. Konwicki’s novels, The Dreambook of Our Time (1963), and The Polish Complex (1977). Konwicki was a member of the Polish United Workers’ Party from 1953 to 1966, and his books were officially released and widely read when he was in favor with the Communist government authorities, but by the late 1960s and early ’70s, they were available only in clandestine editions.