So Much Cash! So Much Cash!
Collage by Magda Chmielewska. Source: Gabinet Numizmatyczny Damian Marciniak (CC BY-SA 4.0)

So Much Cash!

The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma
Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz
time 10 minutes

Written in 1932 by Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz, The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma is a classic Polish novel of the 20th century and one of Polish readers’ all time favourites. It depicts the rather fortunate rise to power of a man from nowhere (the titular Nicodemus Dyzma), who by sheer luck and opportunism reaches the top tiers of public administration. The novel’s lasting grip on the imagination of the reading public can be seen in the way that the protagonist’s name has since become a proverbial way to refer in Polish to the type of crude opportunist who has a tendency to fall upwards through society with the help of trickery, public acquiescence and a handful of good luck.

Published now for the first time in English, the book admittedly gained some wider notoriety in the English-speaking world as early as the 1970s, when some critics pointed to the strange similarities between its plot and that of Jerzy Kosiński’s novel Being There. Some even went so far as to accuse Kosiński’s novel of plagiarism. While the book is certainly a brilliant and poignant satire on the political life of interwar Poland (with its omnipresent corruption and nepotism), its focus on an unskilled and ill-equipped parvenue’s ascendancy to the


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The Art of Translation with Ewa Małachowska-Pasek and Megan Thomas The Art of Translation with Ewa Małachowska-Pasek and Megan Thomas
Illustration by Marcel Olczyński

The Art of Translation with Ewa Małachowska-Pasek and Megan Thomas

The Valdemar Questionnaire
Ernest Valdemar

In the Valdemar Questionnaire, we give voice to translators who reflect on their work and role as intermediaries between languages and cultures. In this instalment of our series, Valdemar takes on Megan Thomas and Ewa Małachowska-Pasek, two translators of Polish and the authors of the featured translation from the book The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma by Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz.

You can read Megan and Ewa’s translation of the excerpt from Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz’s “The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma” here.

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