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Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz selects and introduces 300 of his favorite poems in this "magnificent collection" that ranges "widely across time and continents, from eighth century China to contemporary americanca" (San Francisco Chronicle).
THIS SYNOPSIS IS TAKEN FROM THE BACK COVER OF THE BOOK "Written in the early 1950s, when Eastern Europe was in the midst of Stalinism and many intellectuals placed their hopes in the new order of the East, this classic work reveals in fascinating detail the often beguiling allure of totalitarian rule to people of all political beliefs and its frightening effects on the minds of those who embrace it."
Memories, dreams and reflections from the Nobel Laureate The ABC book is a polish genre--a loose form related to a hypertext novel-composed of short, alphabetically arranged entries. In Milosz's conception, the ABC book becomes a sort of autobiographical reference book, combining entries concerning characters from his earlier work with references to some of his memory poems. He also writes of real, historical figures like Camus who were particularly influential during his formative years, and of broader topics such as "The City," "Unhappiness," and "Money. " Another fascinating entry in Milosz's bold opus, Milosz's ABCs is an engaging tribute to a brilliant mind. Czeslaw Milosz was awarded the 1978 Neustadt International Prize in Literature and the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature. Since 1962 he has been a professor, now emeritus, of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. Among his recent publications are To Begin Where I Am,Striving Towards Being: The Letters of Czeslaw Milosz and Thomas Merton,and Road-side Dog. He lives in Berkeley, California, and Krakow, Poland. The ABC book is a Polish genre, a somewhat loose literary form composed of short, alphabetical entries. In Czeslaw Milosz's conception, the ABC book becomes a cross between autobiographical exposition and reference-book writing, combining citations of characters from his earlier prose works and poems with references to real, historical figures--such as Camus, Cezanne, Edward Hopper, Arthur Koestler, and Mark Edelman; the Polish writers Gombrowicz and Herbert; and the poets Baudelaire and Frost--who were particularly influential during his formative years. Throughout, the book investigates the times, towns, and terrains that have led this poet to think and write as he does. Milosz also looks to broader topics like "Unhappiness" and "Money" and "Churches. " Another outspoken and fascinating travelogue from Milosz's bold and crucial journey, Milosz's ABCs is an engaging tribute to a brilliant mind--the memories, dreams, and reflections of a literary master. "It is a source of wonderment and pleasure that at the age of 89, Czeslaw Milosz, arguably the greatest living poet, continues to publish exploratory works of self-definition and commemoration. Milosz's ABC's, expertly translated from the Polish by Madeline G. Levine, remakes the relatively recent Polish genre of the ABC book--a kind of subgenre of memoir--so that it becomes a flexible hybrid form, a probing and quirky reference book. "--Edward Hirsch,The New York Times Book Review. "It is a source of wonderment and pleasure that at the age of 89, Czeslaw Milosz, arguably the greatest living poet, continues to publish exploratory works of self-definition and commemoration. Milosz's ABC's, expertly translated from the Polish by Madeline G. Levine, remakes the relatively recent Polish genre of the ABC book--a kind of sub genre of memoir--so that it becomes a flexible hybrid form, a probing and quirky reference book ... In the end, Milosz's ABC's is a benedictory text, an alphabetical rescue operation, a testimonial to those who have suffered and gone before us, a hymn to the everlasting marvel and mystery of human existence. "--Edward Hirsch, The New York Times Book Review. "Milosz's greatness as a writer has something to do with his gift for going straight to the heart of a question--be it moral, artistic, political, autobiographical-- and answering it directly ... He is among those members of humankind who have had the ambiguous privilege of knowing and standing up to far more reality than the rest of us."--Seamus Heaney.
In My Century the great Polish poet Aleksander Wat provides a spellbinding account of life in Eastern Europe in the midst of the terrible twentieth century. Based on interviews with Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, My Century describes the artistic, sexual, and political experimentation--in which Wat was a major participant--that followed the end of World War I: an explosion of talent and ideas which, he argues, in some ways helped to open the door to the destruction that the Nazis and Bolsheviks soon visited upon the world. But Wat's book is at heart a story of spiritual struggle and conversion. He tells of his separation during World War II from his wife and young son, of his confinement in the Soviet prison system, of the night when the sound of far-off laughter brought on a vision of "the devil in history." "It was then," Wat writes, "that I began to be a believer."
Novel by the Nobel Prize winner for Literature about the month in 1944 when Nazi rule over Europe was crumbling and the Red Army pushed into Poland to meet the Western Allies on the Elbe.
Milosz writes poems about the inadequacy and despondency of modern life interjected with hope for the future.
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