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Lesman, K.

Lesman, K.

Karol Lesman, born in Breda, the Netherlands, in 1951. M.Sc. from the University of Amsterdam. Translator in Amsterdam.

Translator-in-Residence (1 September 2008 – 31 January 2009)


During my stay at NIAS I will be working on the Dutch translation of the extraordinary novel, Traktat ołuskaniu fasoli (“A Treatise on Shelling Beans”) by the Polish author Wiesław Myśliwski, published in 2006. The novel is the monologue of an ordinary man in the autumn of his life, as he talks to a stranger one summer evening while shelling beans. Through stories from his childhood and youth, the old man reveals his personal history, with frequent digressions on topics from the mundane to the philosophical, and reflections on people and life. The resulting narrative is vivid and engaging, providing entertaining tales as well as food for reflection about the big questions of human existence. No place names or personal names are specified, but the narrator clearly experienced the Second World War in Poland as a child, then trained and worked there as an electrician – helping to build ‘a new, better world’. He moved to Western Europe and worked as a saxophone player for some years before returning to the Polish village of his childhood.

(Translator) Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz Onverzadigbaarheid (Nienasycenie/Insatiability), a novel. Published by J.M. Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 1993

(Translator) Heb medelijden, tijd. Poolse poëzie van de twintigste eeuw. Anthology of Twentieth Century Polish Poetry. Published by Plantage, Leiden, 2003

(Translator) Wisława Szymborska Dubbele punt (Dwukropek/Colon), latest collection of her poems. Published by De Geus, Breda, 2007