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Adam Zagajewski Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005 Strony / Pages: 198, hard cover ISBN: 0-374-13630-0
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Ardor, inspiration, the soul, the sublime: Such terms have long since fallen from favor among critics and artists alike. In his new collection of essays, Adam Zagajewski continues his efforts to reclaim for art not just the terms but the scanted spiritual dimension of modern human existence that they stake out.

Bringing gravity and grace to his meditations on art, society, and history, Zagajewski wears his erudition lightly, with a disarming blend of modesty and humor. His topics range from autobiography (his first visit to a post-Soviet Lvov after childhood exile; his illicit readings of Nietzsche in Communist Poland); to considerations of artist friends past and present (Zbigniew Herbert, Czeslaw Milosz); to intellectual and psychological portraits of cities he has known, east and west; to a dazzling thumbnail sketch of postwar Polish poetry.

Zagajewski gives an account of the place of art in the modern age that distinguishes his self-proclaimed liberal vision from the "right-wing radicalism" of such modernist precursors as Eliot or Yeats. The same mixture of ardor and compassion that marks Zagajewski’s distinctive contribution to modern poetry runs throughout this eloquent, engaging collection.


"The 14 essays that make up poet Zagajewski's 'defense' are an engagingly warm and witty blend of literary comment and memoir, passionate about aesthetic matters but refreshingly free of personal rancor. Zagajewski was born in Poland at the end of WWII; his career is inexorably bound up with the fate of his homeland, and his essays are full of the critical but fierce patriotism common to the country often wryly called 'God's playground.' Zagajewski's combination of the personal, literary and political is canny and well judged, as in the excellent 'Nietzsche in Krakow,' which begins as partly nostalgic reminiscence, tracing the author's furtive discovery, as an adolescent living under communism, of the officially proscribed 'mustachioed philosopher' and his delight in 'the scorn with which this philologist and philosopher treated the state.' But this remembrance of youthful enthusiasm underlies a more skeptical view, in which Nietzsche's disdain for objective truth and worship of irrationality are seen to underlie not only fascism but, through Lenin, the state socialism of postwar Poland. Though the essays are written in a casually intimate style, such names as Mann and Musil are invoked without undue strain. In other essays, the careers of such friends and luminaries as Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert are contextualized with both intelligence and affection, as are cities in which Zagajewski has lived, written and taught."

About the Author:

Adam Zagajewski was born in Lvov, Poland, in 1945. He lives in Krakow and spends part of the year teaching at the University of Houston. He was awarded the 2004 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.
Inne tytuly / Other titles
PRAWDZIWE ZYCIE Adam Zagajewski A5, 2019 Strony / Pages: 76, miekka oprawa ISBN: 978-83-65614-254
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Poezja dla poczatkujacych Adam Zagajewski Fundacja Zeszytów Literackich 2017 Strony / Pages: 206, twarda oprawa ISBN: 978-83-64648-57-1
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Domowy wyrob alkoholi Adam Zagajewski Arystoteles, 2015 Strony / Pages: 152, miekka oprawa ISBN: 978-83-8038-172-8
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Unseen Hand Adam Zagajewski Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011 Strony / Pages: 128, twarda oprawa ISBN: 978-0-374-28089-5
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W OBCYCH MIASTACH IN FREMDEN STADTEN Adam Zagajewski Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2007 Strony / Pages: 148, twarda oprawa ISBN: 978-83-08-04109-3
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POWROT Adam Zagajewski Wydawnictwo Znak, 2003 Strony / Pages: 43, miękka oprawa ISBN: 83-240-0339-8
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SOLIDARITY, SOLITUDE - ESSAYS Adam Zagajewski Published by: Ecco Press, 1990 Strony / Pages: 176, hard cover ISBN: 0-88001-186-6
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TWO CITIES: ON EXILE, HISTORY, AND THE IMAGINATION Adam Zagajewski The University of Georgia Press, 2002 Strony / Pages: 264, soft cover ISBN: 0-8203-2409-4
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MYSTICISM FOR BEGINNERS Adam Zagajewski Published by: FSG Strony / Pages: 70, soft cover ISBN: 0-374-52687-7
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WITHOUT END Adam Zagajewski Published by FSG Strony / Pages: 285, hard cover ISBN: 0-374-22096-4
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CANVAS Adam Zagajewski Published by: FSG Strony / Pages: 80, soft cover ISBN: 0-374-52398-3
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TWO CITIES Adam Zagajewski Published by: FSG Strony / Pages: 264, soft cover ISBN: 0-374-52765-2
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ANOTHER BEAUTY Adam Zagajewski Published by: FSG Strony / Pages: 215, hard cover ISBN: 0-374-17652-3
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