The book is published by Northwestern University Press in Chicago in Anita Shelton and Andrew Wrobel's translation. Publishers describe Tyrmand's diary as an account of daily life in Communist Poland. and a description of the absurdities of Soviet-backed regimes.
Tyrmand exposes the lies—big and small—that the regimes employed to stay in power. Witty and insightful, Tyrmand’s diary is the chronicle of a man who uses seemingly minor modes of resistance—as a provocative journalist, a Warsaw intellectual, the "spiritual father" of Polish hipsters, and a promoter of jazz in Poland—to maintain his freedom of thought.
The writer 's lack of servitude towards the communist regime led to an interdiction to publish. The frustration associated with this forced inactivity is evident in the pages of Diary 1954. In the second half of the seventies, he edited and published a new version of the Diary.
His son Matthew Tyrmand, who lives in New York, commented on the publication of the Diary:
The translation is great and I was recently able to read it for the first time thanks to the translators Andrzej Wróbel and Anita Shelton. This was a very gratifying experience for me, being able to read his thoughts put on to paper at a stage in his life when he was roughly where I am now. It was powerful seeing his experience that much more deeply.
The authors of the translation are Anita Shelton, history professor specializing in Eastern Europe at Eastern Illinois University, and economist Andrew Wrobel . During their work, they took particular interest in the 1980 version of Diary 1954. Wrobel commented that from a literary perspective, it was superior to the version released in the nineties, which is more of a "raw manuscript" .
Leopold Tyrmand (1920-1985) was born in Warsaw. He is the author of The Man With White Eyes, Thoughts and Journeys of Lieutenant Stukułka and a collection of short stories: The Bitter Taste of Lucullus Chocolate. The writer left Poland in 1965. In America, he regularly published in periodicals such as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Commentary and the The American Scholar. He died of a heart attack in Florida.
Source: PAP; edited by LB, April 2014