A Defense of Ardor

Essays

Adam Zagajewski; Translated by Clare Cavanagh

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks

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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.

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About the Author

Adam Zagajewski; Translated by Clare Cavanagh

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.

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A Defense of Ardor
Essays
Adam Zagajewski; Translated by Clare Cavanagh

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
October 2005
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374529888
ISBN10: 0374529884
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 208 pages
$15.00
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