Legends of Modernity
, now available in English for the first time, brings together some of Czeslaw Milosz's early essays and letters, composed in German-occupied Warsaw during the winter of 1942-43.
"Why did the European spirit succumb to such a devastating fiasco?" the young Milosz asks. Half a century later, when Legends of Modernity
saw its first publication in Poland, Milosz said: "If everything inside you is agitation, hatred, and despair, write measured, perfectly calm sentences..." While the essays here reflect a "perfect calm," the accompanying contemporaneous exchange of letters between Milosz and Jerzy Andrzejewski expresses the raw emotions of "agitation, hatred and despair" experienced by these two close friends struggling to understand the proximate causes of this debacle of western civilization, and the relevance, if any, of the teachings of the Catholic church.
Passionate, poignant, and compelling, Legends of Modernity
offers a deeply moving insight into the mind and emotions of one of the greatest writers of our time.Czeslaw Milosz
(1911-2004) was the winner of the 1978 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature. Czeslaw Milosz is the author of numerous works, many of which have been translated into English, including – from Farrar, Straus and Giroux – Beginning with My Streets
(1992), The Year of the Hunter
(1994), Road-side Dog
(1998) Milosz's ABC's
(2001) and his last book, To Begin Where I Am
"These early reflections by Milosz form a remarkable testament to an uncaptive mind consecrated to living in truth." – Jacob Heilbrunn, The New York Times Book Review
"Milosz’s essays adroitly reveal the historical contingency at the heart of modern culture’s most cherished values." – Clare Cavanagh, Bookforum
“For those who hanker for the high seriousness of continental thinkers like Camus, this volume is a welcome beacon from the past.” – Publishers WeeklyPURCHASE