Being There (novel)

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Being There
First edition cover
AuthorJerzy Kosinski
PublisherHarcourt Brace
Publication date
Preceded bySteps 
Followed byThe Devil Tree 

Being There is a satirical novel by the Polish-born writer Jerzy Kosinski, published in 1970.[1] Set in America, the story concerns Chance, a simple gardener who unwittingly becomes a much sought-after political pundit and commentator on the vagaries of the modern world. It has been suggested that Kosinski modeled the character of Chance after a former greenhouse manager named Jerry Jarvis who became the national leader of the transcendental meditation movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s,[2] whom Kosinski had met at the local TM Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and who embodied the calm and simple manner of Chauncy Gardiner.[3] The Cambridge TM Center was for many years located at the corner of Chauncy and Garden Streets.

A film based on the book was made in 1979; Kosinski co-wrote the film's screenplay with Robert C. Jones.


When Kosinski published Being There, wrote historian Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, "most Polish critics immediately recognized [his book] as a version of Kariera Nikodema Dyzmy (Nikodem Dyzma's Career) by Tadeusz Dolega-Mostowicz, a novel from the interwar period, and Kosinski was accused of plagiarism",[4] as he was with his first novel.

With his first novel, The Painted Bird, published in 1965, Kosinski was accused of plagiarizing a book published in the Second Polish Republic by the Polish ethnographer Henryk Biegeleisen.[4]


  1. ^, copy-paste excerpts from: 1971 and 1973 periodicals including Times Supplement (1971), Chicago Review (1973), Harper's (1973), Critique (1973), Hudson Review (1973), and Books and Bookmen (1973). Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  2. ^ "Jerry's Slideshow of Maharishi and Guru Dev".
  3. ^ "Jerry Jarvis on Jan 12 2009". YouTube.
  4. ^ a b Adamczyk-Grabowska, Monika (2001). "The Role of Polish Language and Literature". In Wolitz, Seth L. (ed.). The Hidden Isaac Bashevis Singer. University of Texas Press. p. 137. ISBN 029279147X.

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