Book publications of “The Adventures of Peddy Bottom”

First Edition “Ten Adventures of Peddy Bottom”, Edition Poetry, London 1950

There are many indications that the first book edition of the philosophical fairy tale “Przygody Pędrek Wyrzutka” could be published in Polish! The text was ready, however, the outbreak of the war thwarted not only the publishing plans, but most of all the Themersons’ life plans. When Stefan and Franciszka moved to London, Stefan Themerson himself translated his book into English to make it more universal. Eventually, Edition Petra from London published “Pędkka” with illustrations by Franciszka Themerson in 1950.

On left: second edition in English (Gaberbocchus, 1954). On right: first edition in Polish (“Nasza Księgarnia”, 1957)

The Themersons, known for their creative approach to language, developed a new concept for books that are valuable, not because people buy them, but because they are well-published. In their publishing house “Gaberbocchus”, existing since 1947, they did not deal with the production of “bestsellers”, but the preparation of “bestlookers” for printing. But let’s look at the first English edition of “Pędrek”. Despite the large number of subtle drawings by Franciszka Themerson, it would be difficult to classify this children’s book as “best-lookers”. The second English edition of “Pędrka Wyrzutka” (Gaberbocchus Press, London 1954) looks much better and is identical to the first Polish edition (Nasza Księgarnia, Warsaw 1957) and the third English edition published by the Dutch sister Gaberbocchus Press / De Harmonie (Amsterdam 2003)

Third edition in English (Gaberbocchus Press, De Harmonie, Amsterdam 2003)

Themerson wrote in three languages. While living in France, he wrote in French and even published a book of his own poems there! Why then did he not take up the translation of “Peddy Bottom” into French? And, of course, it is puzzling that the basis for the translation into French was the English edition of The Adventurs of Peddy Bottom. “Why not Polish?
It should be assumed that it was a conscious procedure. Themerson believed that the next translation clears the meaning of the words and helps to achieve greater clarity and clarity of the message. When speaking in a foreign language, we increase the power of expression, because we use words with a much greater distance than in the mother tongue. One of the heroes of his novel “Beyamus” says about the meaning of translation:
“And I assure everyone here that I prefer to read Russian literature in English translations, English literature in French, French in Spanish, Spanish in German, German in Italian, Italian in Norwegian, Norwegian in Portuguese, Portuguese in Polish, Polish in Jewish, Jewish in Hebrew, Hebrew in Romanian, Romanian in Swedish, Swedish in Turkish. When I read the translation, not the original, I have the feeling that the author cannot deceive me so easily. He cannot seduce with the sound of his words or deceive with provincial associations “

First edition i French, transl. from English Jean-Marc Mandosio (Editions Allia, Paris 2000)

Second Polish edition, increased by chapter 9 “written especially for Marek Waruszynski and sent to him on November 5, 1974”. (Publishing House “Iskry”, Warsaw 2002)