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«Miłosz Like the World»

Poet in the Eyes of Polish Literary Critics


Edited By Zdzislaw Lapinski

Czesław Miłosz, poet, literary critic, essayist and Nobel Laureate, is a familiar person to the Anglophone literary community. But American and British critics in the main are not very competent in the intimate features of Polish literary culture and have no access to the Polish language. This volume presents some of the most penetrating commentaries on Miłosz’s œuvre by Polish critics. They illuminate both intrinsic poetic matters, such as the verse structure or the genre tradition, and the specific historic background of his poems, such as life under Nazi occupation. This comprehensive outline will be indispensable to anyone wanting to understand the real meaning of the often enigmatic writer and his, as Helen Vendler called it, Shakespearean breadth.
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Songs of Innocence and Experience: Marek Zaleski


Songs of Innocence and Experience

Marek Zaleski

A simple song yet with a good thought!Adam Mickiewicz, Forefathers’ Eve (Part II)

A devoted reader of Miłosz will not fail to notice that a significant number of his poetic works refer – by way of their form, i.e. versification, prosody and style – to the genre of song, which is frequently emphasised by the very title of the poem. If we supplement this category with poems which also foreground their relation to musical forms, it will become apparent that there are in fact quite a number of them. So as to dispel all doubts, I shall enumerate them in the chronological order of composition. There are poems written before the Second World War: “The Song,” “Hymn,” “Lullaby” [“Kołysanka”], “Ballad of Levallois,” “Waltz” [“Walc”] and “Song on a Single String” [“Piosenka na jedną strunę”]. Then there are poems from the period of occupation: “Shepherd’s Song” [“Piosenka pasterska”], “A Song on the End of the World,” “Carol” [“Kolęda”], “Song of a Citizen” and Songs of Adrian Zieliński. After the war Miłosz composed “Song on Porcelain” and a handful of untitled songs gathered in A Treatise on Poetry (1955), with the following first lines: “When they put a rope around my neck,” “Inside the rose / Are houses of gold.” Moreover, we find “Ballad” [“Ballada”], the song-like poems from the book City Without a Name (1969) – with first lines such as “When I got rid...

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