Jerzy Szacki: LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI (1927–2009): REMEMBRANCES AND SOME COMMENTS
Jerzy Szacki LESZEK KOŁAKOWSKI (1927–2009): REMEMBRANCES AND SOME COMMENTS ABSTRACT Author tells the story of his close and very long-lasting acquaintance with Leszek Kołakowski as well as commentates on his intellectual biography and achievements as political and literary essayist, philosopher, historian of ideas, and public figure. In particular, he describes in details the first half of Kołakowski’s life, namely the period when he made his long journey from being communist in his student years to becoming as a young scholar the leading figure of Marxist revisionism in the late fifties and, after a time, a principled critic of Marxism itself and a fer- vent anti-communist. In many respects, Kołakowski’s itinerary was not exceptional but it had at least two note- worthy characteristics. First, in opposition to quite a few other cases, his way away from com- munism turned out to be scholarly fruitful as it resulted in an uniquely in-depth historical re- search, covering the founders, the golden age and the breakdown of so called “scientific social- ism” (his voluminous work Main Currents of Marxism remains one of the best and the most comprehensive monographs of the topic). Second, Kołakowski’s abandoning of his former Weltanschauung was followed by his discovery of religion as an extremely important part of human experience and sine qua non condition of the survival of civilization, permanently menaced by barbarians. However, it is to be doubt whether he may be considered as a convert or a religious thinker in the...
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