This cultural-literary-social critique examines why, when a society moves from a repressive system of government wrought with censorship and oppression to a free state representing unlimited possibilities, the art once created and treasured by that population is taken for granted. Taking into account his own exile from Stalinist Romania, as well as the plights of such greats as Garcia Marquez, Breton, the Dadaists, Kundera, and Milosz, Codrescu issues a call for those living in a free society to reach beyond a benign reality founded in technology and commercialism by tapping into their imaginations and striving for a better, evolutionary existence.
";One day I had a revelation. There had been hints for some time that certain books had better not be discussed. Our next-door neighbor had a German Bible hidden at the bottom of an old sea chest. Her son Peter, who was a year older than me, showed it to me in secret one afternoon after making me swear that I would never reveal its existence to anyone. . . . It emitted a dark, pungent odor of darkness, monks, time, Gutenberg, sea journeys, incense, and last rites. Peter told me there were other books like this, some old, some new, all of them containing secrets so awesome we would be put in prison for merely mentioning them."; From this point in his Romanian childhood, Codrescu became acutely attuned to the meaning of literature in the progress and movement of societies, both free and oppressed. ";The police have arrived everywhere: in [Eastern Europe] they are uniformed police. In the West they are the invisible police of image manipulation."
Andrei Codrescu, an essayist, poet, All Things Considered commentator, and MSNBC columnist, has published numerous books, including Road Scholar and The Devil Never Sleeps. Born in Romania, he came to the U.S. in 1966, and currently teaches at Louisana State University.
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Essayist, poet, All Things Considered commentator, and MSNBC columnist Codrescu has published numerous books, including Selected Poems: 1970-1980, Road Scholar, and A Craving for Swan, a collection of his NPR commentaries. Born in Romania, he came to the U.S. in '66, and currently resides in New Orleans and teaches at Louisana State Univ.From Library Journal:
"I am writing this literally in the ruins of the Communist world, in my hometown of Sibiu, Romania," writes Codrescu at the beginning of his 21st book, a long, uneven essay of at times pontifical statements by a minor poet whose contributions to his adopted country, while often interesting, are usually unexceptional. Like some emigres from Central or Eastern Europe, especially those who lack the talent or the reputation of, say, a Solzhenitsyn or a Kundera, Codrescu takes America to task for its superficiality, its lack of some quality seemingly found only where a lack of personal freedom ensures the primacy of the word over the image. Readers who feel the need to read Codrescu will be better served by his poems.
- Vincent D. Balitas, Allentown Coll., Center Valley, Pa.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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