Milosz's ABC's

Czeslaw Milosz; Translated by Madeline G. Levine

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374527954

9780374527952

Trade Paperback

320 Pages

$26.00

Request Exam Copy Request Desk Copy
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, Cézanne, 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.

REVIEWS

Praise for Milosz's ABC's

"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 . . . 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

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Czeslaw Milosz is the winner of 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. His most recent publications are Striving Towards Being: The Letters of Czeslaw Milosz and Thomas Merton (FSG, 1997)and Road-side Dog (FSG, 1998). He lives in Berkeley, California and Krakow, Poland.
Read the full excerpt
BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Czeslaw Milosz; Translated by Madeline G. Levine

  • 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.
  • Czeslaw Milosz © Jerry Bauer
BACK