Shakespeare and Company

😱On Witold Gombrowicz’s The Possessed, with Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Adam Thirlwell😱

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Episode notes

This episode we’re discussing The Possessed, the great, almost-lost novel by Witold Gombrowicz, arguably Poland’s greatest modernist writer. The Possessed is a Gothic-infused romp set in the roaring twenties, centred around an uncanny love story between Maja, an upper class tennis player, and her coach Leszczuk, but also featuring a haunted castle, lost treasure, and a mad prince…as every good Gothic novel should.

It has been published by Fitzcarraldo in a lively and highly-readable translation by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and with a sharp-witted and insightful introduction by Adam Thirlwell, who join us to discuss it. 

Buy The Possessed:


Antonia Lloyd-Jones has translated works by many of Poland's leading contemporary novelists and reportage authors, as well as crime fiction, poetry and children's books. Her translation of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Olga Tokarczuk was shortlisted for the 2019 International Booker Prize.

Adam Thirlwell is the author of four novels. His work has been translated into thirty languages, while his awards include a Somerset Maugham Award and the EM Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in 2018 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Adam Biles is Literary Director at Shakespeare and Company. His latest novel, Beasts of England, a sequel of sorts to Animal Farm, is available now. Buy a signed copy here:

Listen to Alex Freiman’s latest EP, In The Beginning:

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