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 express 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 is a deeply moving insight into the mind and emotions of one of the greatest writers of our time.