In The Street of Crocodiles, Bruno Schulz delineates a startling vision of his hometown of Drohobycz as a space governed by second-hand cast-offs of metropolitan modernity and posits the artist as a demiurge who reigns over an accumulation of matter. Seeking escape from the shabbiness and tedium of daily life, the narrator plunges into an imaginary zone of his own making, one marked by temporal distortion, spatial instability, and the superabundance of matter, trash in particular. In the province, trash-as well as other “trashy” objects (tandeta and bylejakoŚć)-can be put to novel creative uses. It is thus possible to speak of a poetics of trash, wherein civilizational detritus returns to the foreground as a productive mode of representation and of micropolitical resistance. It is reterritorialized in Schulz as an archive of individual longings and desires and an index of local achievement. Trash, then, both as physical tandeta and as a key component of dream-work, emerges as a unifying sign of Schulz’s provincial poetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-784
Number of pages25
JournalSlavic Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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