The meaning of freedom during the Cold War in the light of Andrzej Bobkowski's Guatemalan prose

Anna Szczepan-Wojnarska
2021 Ars & Humanitas  
The Polish writer Andrzej Bobkowski (1913-1961), who defined himself as "the hooligan of freedom", achieved posthumous fame and recognition from Polish readers, however, in Guatemala, his adopted home, he is known mainly as "Querido Bob" who founded the "Guatemala Hobby Shop". Bobkowski chose Guatemala as his home to defend his own sense of individualism and dignity which had been shaken by his disillusionment with Europe in the face of both Nazism and communism. From Bobkowski's perspective,
more » ... s escape from Europe in general, and from the Polish Second Republic in particular was a way to remain free from the ossified pseudo-values of the old continent, which had failed the test of the Second World War. Bobkowski, especially in his essays "Na tyłach" ["Behind the front"] (1949) and "Pytania dzikich ludzi" ["Savages' questions"] (1951), contrasted Europe with Guatemala or indeed with all of Central America. Andrzej Bobkowski described his life in Guatemala, providing also a rich commentary about the world in the 1950s, particularly in "Notatnik modelarza" ["From a Diary of a Model Maker"] and in his letters to his mother. This paper aims to reconstruct and discuss how Querido Bob as a European understood the meaning of freedom and how he confronted his inherited paradigm of ideas with the reality of Guatemala and its society, which was facing its own challenges.
doi:10.4312/ars.15.2.31-47 fatcat:6pzpjerde5cdhgf3hlrjqyoxa4