The family he lodges with has a daughter who is a perfect Modern Schoolgirl, with thighs to match, and with whom he engages in a struggle to maintain face. Meanwhile one of his fellow students is in search of an untainted stable-boy... And inserted into this is the story of a duel between a synthesist professor Philifor and his reductionist rival Anti-Philifor.
Ferdydurke is a story of bottoms and faces, symbolising private and public identities. It is a parody of literary styles, a mockery of pretence and hypocrisy, and a probing of the murkier aspects of the social and psychological construction of the self. It is also an all-around romp — it may be a Modernist classic, but it takes itself a lot less seriously than most of its peers.
Note: It is not mentioned anywhere, but this 1961 translation is apparently indirect, from the Polish via the French. I can't help but think more than is necessary will have been lost in that process, and am tempted to reread this in the more recent English translation by Danuta Borchardt.
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