OVERRIDE

Milosz's ABC's

Czeslaw Milosz; Translated by Madeline G. Levine

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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

"Fascinating and charming--The web woven here, in the wisest and most charming of styles, is intricate indeed."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Lyrically poetic . . . The tone is intimate but the content - which includes politics, history, art, poetry, and religion - is impressively broad and rich."
--Dana Gioia, San Francisco Magazine

"Splendid . . . 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--Milosz [is] arguably the greatest living poet."
--Edward Hirsch, The New York Times Book Review

"Eloquent . . . A remarkable fusion of passion and balance."
--Richard Eder, The New York Times

"The book captures what is perhaps most characteristic and attractive in Milosz's entire literary output. His writing can be simultaneously a protest against the disappearance of people, objects and images from the physical world, and a celebration of time's unstoppable forward motion . . . Few writers in our time can rival Milosz's ability to render justice to the strange spectacle of the world. We should be grateful for the wisdom of his extraordinary life."
--Jaroslaw Anders, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A remarkable testament to the place of memory in the definition of a conscious self . . . As the two brief entries 'truth' and 'time' eloquently suggest, a life shaped by the terror of political instability and institutionalized brutality relentlessly goes on seeking that order which is the natural desire of every human mind."
--Harold Isbell, Commonweal

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Czeslaw Milosz; Translated by Madeline G. Levine

  • 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.
  • Czeslaw Milosz © Jerry Bauer
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Milosz's ABC's

Czeslaw Milosz; Translated by Madeline G. Levine

  • Trade Paperback

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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