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dreamsandstones

Dreams and Stones

by

Translated from by

Published: May 2004

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ISBN: 9780914671503 eISBN: 9781935744375
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Immediately hailed as one of the most brilliant contributions to the literature of Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of communism, Dreams and Stones (Sny i kamienie) won the prestigious Koscielski Foundation Prize in Poland in 1995.

Powerful imagery caught in a sinewy, architectural, elegiac prose. An inner-outer dance of cityscape with the taut emotion, terror & psyche of the ‘human’. Where are we? What magical zone of dream and stone? We are inhabitants of the wild, brilliant imagination of Magdalena Tulli. This book is a great pleasure to read: deeply provocative, intuitive, haunting. ‘I hunt among stones’ was Charles Olson’s probing line, a mission manifested here with full beauty & finesse. And rendered from Polish to English in an inspired translation by Bill Johnston.
— Anne Waldman

 

A beautifully flowing translation. Johnston aptly captures the dreamy as well as the stark quality of the original.
— Danuta Borchardt

Book Description

Winner of the 1995 Polish Koscielski Foundation Prize

 

Immediately hailed as one of the most brilliant contributions to the literature of Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of communism, Dreams and Stones (Sny i kamienie) won the prestigious Koscielski Foundation Prize in Poland in 1995.

 

Tulli tells the story of the growth of a great city rebuilt after its complete destruction in World War II by entering the lives of the stones from which the buildings and monuments are constructed, as well as inhabiting the dreams of people and objects interwoven within the city’s history. This novel/prose poem’s haunting lyricism truly breaks new literary ground, and comparisons have been made between her work and the stories of Bruno Schulz.

 

Dreams and Stones is a startling, beautiful, powerful achievement. It calls the conventional genres of literature into question as its central image and metaphor, 'the tree of the world,' grows, spreads and deepens. It does away with the persistent superstition of humanity's distinction from 'nature.' The originality of the writing is not lessened by representing a family tree that includes Michaux, Kafka, Calvino, and Saramago. It is a work to welcome and return to, and the translation is vibrant and graceful.

W.S. Merwin


Powerful imagery caught in a sinewy, architectural, elegiac prose. An inner-outer dance of cityscape with the taut emotion, terror & psyche of the 'human'. Where are we? What magical zone of dream and stone? We are inhabitants of the wild, brilliant imagination of Magdalena Tulli. This book is a great pleasure to read: deeply provocative, intuitive, haunting. 'I hunt among stones' was Charles Olson's probing line, a mission manifested here with full beauty & finesse. And rendered from Polish to English in an inspired translation by Bill Johnston.

Anne Waldman


A beautifully flowing translation. Johnston aptly captures the dreamy as well as the stark quality of the original.

Danuta Borchardt


Dreams and Stones, by the Polish writer Magdalena Tulli, is a postmodernist masterpiece of lyrical prose that defies generic definition and is rife with paradox and metaphor

Kirsten Lodge, Slavic and East European Journal


Dreams and Stones especially, out of the four novels, is so amply rewarding sentence after sentence.... Opening [it] almost at random produces tiny masterpieces of paragraphs.

Los Angeles Review of Books


What Bill Johnston had to say about the development of Magdelena Tulli’s writing:

In Dreams and Stones there are practically no people, or more precisely, no characters. It’s a novel about objects and about ways of seeing and explaining. The only actual character is the narrator, whose rather pedantic voice is our only clue to his existence. (Tulli and I disagree over what kind of book Dreams and Stones actually is—Tulli claims it’s a novel, whereas for me it’s a prose poem.) In her subsequent books Tulli gradually introduces narrative, though she does so in a very tentative and self-aware way (this is why she’s sometimes accused, wrongly, of writing “meta-fiction”). In In Red she retells the story three times; the plot of Moving Parts(Tryby) also unexpectedly changes course at several moments. It’s only in Flaw that she settles into a single narrative arc that carries through the entire book.

 

Read the interview with Magdalena Tulli in The White Review, here.

Read the Q & A with Magdalena Tulli from Bloom, here.

Read the essay on Tulli’s Dreams and Stones from Bloom, here.