In the 15th June 1913 issue of the Italian literary journal ‘Lacerba‘ there appeared a page of maxims or aphorisms entitled ‘Accenni‘ attributed to one ‘Gian Paolo’.
‘Lacerba‘ was published in Florence from 1913-1915, edited by Giovanni Papini and was associated with the emerging Futurist movement. This particular issue amongst others also featured pieces by leading figures such as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Ardengo Soffici, Max Jacob and even an illustration by Pablo Picasso.
Kamov’s text appeared alongside the works of Pablo Picasso, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Ardengo Soffici.
Vladimir Čerina, an exponent of Kamov, was also a contributor. It was most likely under his auspices that these fragments of Kamov’s maxims were included under the pseudonym of ‘Gian Paolo’, in ‘Lacerba’ in 1913, in Italian, three years after his death. Čerina had alluded to their publication in his study of Kamov published earlier in the same year, although they were not properly authenticated until the mid-1980s by Tonko Maroević and Dragutin Tadijanović.
You can read my English translations of Kamov’s aphorisms in my book ‘The Curse‘. This is a reproduction of Kamov’s collection of poems that he originally published in 1907 under the title ‘Psovka‘.
You can buy ‘The Curse‘ from Modernist nakladništvo here.
It is also available as an ebook from Amazon and other ebook sellers.
‘Isušena kaljuža’ – rare cover of first edition from 1957
Janko Polić Kamov – ‘Isušena Kaljuža’ (English ‘The Dried Out Mire’)
I am very fortunate to be given an original first edition of this book, intact with its dust jacket – which is very rare to find.
Kamov wrote the manuscript for his novel from 1906-1909, but it was not published until 1957, many years after his death.
In the opinion of many literary critics it is the best Croatian novel ever written.
In Mladen Urem’s book ‘Janko Polić Kamov, Dora Maar i hrvatska avangarda‘ (Janko Polić Kamov, Dora Maar and the Croatian Avant-garde) (ISBN 953-6700-06-9) (2006) one chapter is dedicated to the relationship between Antun Gustav Matoš – a leading Croatian modernist writer and contemporary of Kamov’s – and the architect Josip Marković (1873–1969), the father of Dora Maar – born as Teodora Marković (1907-1997), the painter, photographer and Pablo Picasso’s muse and lover.
For more than 10 years he researched the genealogy of the Marković family; Dora Maar and her father the architect Josip Marković who was the illegitimate son of Kamov’s father Ante Polić and Barbara Marković. The long time friendship between Antun Gustav Matoš and Josip Marković, plus links with the Croatian politician Stjepan Radić reveal a deeper link between Matoš and Janko Polić Kamov. It is most likely that Josip told Matoš the story of his own origins and of his true father, although this would never be acknowledged publicly, various events and correspondence signify the links. From the entire study it can be assumed that in 1903, whilst the young Janko Polić Kamov was demonstrating in Zagreb against the Khuen government he spent several months in prison, where he became acquainted with Stjepan Radić and from him he learnt that he had a half-brother the architect Josip Marković. Janko’s brother Nikola Polić in ‘Iskopinama’ (‘Excavations’)(1953) describes how the young Janko was searching for when and where his father’s martial infidelity took place by correspondence with his parents. Many of the family’s documents and correspondence have been lost, and so it is difficult to reconstruct the actual events which acted formatively on Kamov and his literary work. Nevertheless, everything that is available to us to shows the obvious connections and contact between these people.
Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar (born Teodora Marković) by Man Ray
From this recent research connections between Janko Polić Kamov and Picasso’s lover Dora Maar have been uncovered and the new information has prompted a new analysis of Kamov’s life and works (many of which are semi-autobiographical) clarifying many details from which can be seen that he was one of the most significant writers of his time, about whom, unfortunately, the international audience has had little opportunity to discover.
Between the two world wars the works of Janko Polić Kamov were rarely printed. Initially these were his Sabrana djela – Collected Works (including his novel ‘Isušena kaljuža’ – ‘The Dried Out Mire’, written from 1906-1909) and printed for the first time in 1956-1958.
Only in the last 20 years has he gained international recognition and his works have been translated into other languages: English, German, Italian, Spanish, Catalonian and French. The novel ‘Isušena kaljuža’ – ‘The Dried Out Mire’ has been translated and published into Italian and should soon be published in German but has never been translated into English.
More about Kamov and Dora Maar here (in Croatian).
‘Zwischen Fluch und Toleranz’ – German translation, 2009. ISBN 978-953-6700-21-9. Translation by Igor Šimonić.
‘Southerly Thoughts and Other Stories’ – an anthology of short stories by prominient Croatia authors featuring Kamov’s ‘Sorrow’. Published in Rijeka 2005.
‘La Palude Disseccata’ (‘Isušena kaljuža’ – ‘The Dried Out Mire’) Campanotto Editore, Italy 2009. Italian translation by Rosalba Asino.
Grand Street (New York) literary magazine no.58, 1996. Featured Kamov’s short story ‘Freedom’ and intro by Mladen Urem
‘Blasfemia’- by Edicions ‘96, Valencia, 2011 Catalonian translation.
‘Akzente’ influential German (Munich)literary magazine no.4 from 2007 featured ‘Sorrow’ (‘Trauer’)
‘Selection of Short Stories and Poems’ – Intro by Mladen Urem. Published in Rijeka/Zagreb 1997. ISSN 0351-0611
‘Partisan Review’ American (Boston) literary magazine. Issue 1/1998 featured Kamov’s ‘Freedom’.
Issue 2/1999 featured ‘Sorrow’.
‘La Fiumanella’ literary magazine published in Rijeka in 1921 featured ‘Pjesma nad pjesmama’ – ‘La Canzone delle Canzoni’
‘Schreibheft’ – German literary magazine no. 64 – 2005 featured Kamov’s Freedom’ (‘Freiheit’)
‘La Bestemmia’ /’Psovka’ – dual Italian/Croatian language edition published by Campanotto Editore in 2005.
Pablo Picasso and Dora Maar (born Teodora Marković) by Man Ray
Dora Maar (born Teodora Marković) by Man Ray
Janko Polić Kamov – Članci i feljtoni pisma 1958. Sabrana djela IV, with original dust jacket.
‘Misaonost Janka Polića Kamova’ – Mariaj Brida 1993 ISBN 953-6066-04-1
An original collection of Kamov’s novellas and essays. Published in 1938 by Hrvatske Književne Naklade Neovisnih Književnika, Zagreb. Editor Ljubo Wiesner.
The City of Rijeka erected a statue of its famous pavement writer – Janko Polić Kamov.
In 2010 the Croatian post office (Hrvatska pošta) issued a series stamps featuring eminent Croatian writers, composers etc. The 3 kuna 10 lipa stamp commemorated the 100th anniversary of Kamov’s death.
U potrazi sam za sponzorstvom ili drugim oblikom financijske potpore kao i prikladnog izdavača (za tisak knjige ili e-book verzije) kako bih završio svoj prijevod svih djela Janka Polića Kamova. Na prijevodu sam njegovih djela s hrvatskog na engleski jezik radim od 2012. godine. Tijekom tog procesa stvaram jedinstveni rječnik fraza i arhaičnih riječi koje Kamov koristi u svojim djelima, kao odraz i osobnog autorskog stila ali i vremena u kojem je pisao. Taj bi se rječnik mogao koristiti od strane budućih prevoditelja zainteresiranih za ovo značajno razdoblje hrvatske književnosti.
Molim vas, kontaktirajte me ako ste zainteresirani.
I am looking for sponsorship or funding and a suitable publisher (printed or online) in order to complete my translations of all of Kamov’s work. I have been working on translating his works into English since 2012. During this process I am compiling a unique glossary which could be used by future translators interested in this important period of Croatian literature.