Witold Gombrowicz is the author of many other texts, published throughout his life but never gathered into one volume by his own hand.
These are the various writings, ranging from short fiction to commentaries and to the prefaces of his own works, assembled together in the volumes of the Varia, along with polemical essays and interviews.
“The ‘scattered writings’ of Gombrowicz are not a mere complement or annex to his creations. Neither are they ephemeral texts written on the fringes of his masterpieces. They are transcriptions of essential thoughts from the writer in forms other than those strictly literary. From the very first writings of Gombrowicz to his very last texts that he could only dictate, these pieces which might appear disparate have proved to be surprisingly substantial and strikingly coherent.
—Włodzimierz Bolecki, “Secondary texts of the first order,” preface to the 2004 edition of the Varia [Trans. Dubowski]
In 1973, Jerzy Giedroyc, the director of the Literary Institute of the journal Kultura and the first Polish editor of Witold Gombrowicz’s post-war work, brought together some of these texts into a volume titled Varia.
This publication was to serve as the eleventh volume of Witold Gombrowicz’s complete works published in Polish by Jerzy Giedroyc after the writer’s death in 1969.
The most complete edition of the assortment of texts making up the Varia consists of three volumes in chronological order in the Complete Works, published by Wydawnictwo Literackie of Kraków. Jan Błoński and Jerzy Jarzębski assured its critical direction.
- Vol. XII Varia: Prose, Reportage, Criticism, 1933-1939 (Ed. Barbara Górska, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1995)
- Vol. XIII Varia: Articles, Interviews, Various Texts, 1939-1963 (Ed. Barbara Górska, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1996)
- Vol. XIII Varia: Articles, Interviews, Various Texts 1963-1969 (Ed. Maria Rola, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1997)
To clebrate the centennial of Witold Gombrowicz’s birth in 2004, Wydawnictwo Literackie edited a definitive version of these three volumes for the general public.
- Varia 2. Debates and Discussions:
The writings of Witold Gombrowicz which stirred the hottest debates, accompanied by responses from his critics and opponents.
- Varia 3. Letter to the Ferdydurkists:
Interviews, program notes, letters, and Gombrowicz’s declarations to the press.
There are still other short texts of Gombrowicz’s more recently discovered, which are not part of the volumes above. They do, however, appear in the volume Varia: Others.
While mining through the richness of the Varia, foreign editors used their discretion as to whether to regroup certain texts together or publish them as a separate smaller volume (for instance, Our Erotic Drama).
In 1978, Christian Bourgois published a first selection of these texts translated by Allan Kosko, under the title Varia I. In 1989, the same editor published Varia 2 with a selection by Christophe Jezewski.