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Synopsis: In 1461, Jan enthusiastically participates in the persecution of the Jews and witches blamed for an outbreak of plague and famine, but the burgeoning violence threatens Jan himself as he faces choices that have allegorical links to contemporary issues.
From the Inside Flap: "In the spring of 1458, the town of Arras was visited by the disasters of plague and hunger. In the course of a month, nearly a fifth of the citizens lost their lives.
"For reasons that remain unclear, the famous Vauderie d'Arras took place in October of 1461. Jews and witches were subjected to cruel persecution; there were trials for supposed heresies, as well as an outbreak of looting and crime. It was three weeks before calm returned...."
With this historical tragedy at its core, A Mass for Arras explores the personal and political consequences of fear, fanaticism, and fascism in the story of Jan, a young member of the intelligentsia. Arrogantly pious and full of revolutionary zeal, Jan wholeheartedly participates in the torments inflicted on the "outsiders" in the name of moral and political righteousness. Yet when faced with escalating violence and, ultimately, his own downfall, he must choose between sincere commitment to the isolated village that adopted him and horror at a society gone mad.
A Mass for Arras addresses themes of freedom and responsibility, individualism and conformity, and memory and loss. It is a moving account of a young man's coming-of-age in a time of disease and death, a profound political allegory of life in an emergent totalitarian state, a chilling indictment of government-sponsored repression and societal complicity, and a cautionary tale about the tendency of history to repeat itself, whether in fifteenth-century France, postwar Poland, or somewhere still closer to our own time and place.
"Gripping and persuasive.... About the forces now raging in the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union, Mr. Szczypiorski seems to have shown uncanny prescience."--The New York Times Book Review
"Haunting, direct, and technically masterful."--New York Newsday
"The novel's philosophical sophistication and historical verisimilitude makes it far greater than mere allegory."--Boston Sunday Globe
"[Szczypiorski's] breadth of experience, and of suffering, is distilled into this remarkable book which, although it is allegorical in form and brimming with abstract ideas, pulsates with a very human vitality."--Sunday Telegraph (London)
"A thought-provoking meditation on the human tendency to find meaning in suffering by blaming others and to pervert ideals to base means.... Simply, elegantly, and yet with great power, Szczypiorski lays out the dangers of a worldview clearly reminiscent of Eastern Europe before the fall of communism."--Library Journal
"[Szczypiorski's] resonant story is a timely meditation on crimes committed in the name of religion and on the misplaced faith the ruled place in their rulers. The translation preserves the pungent medieval atmosphere, evoking a mindset that, the author implies, is very much alive today."--Publishers Weekly
"A fascinating and well-written parable about the horrors of totalitarianism and the combination of hysteria and indifference that allow it to metastasize."--Booklist
Andrzej Szczypiorski was born in Warsaw in 1924, where he lived at the time of his death in May 2000. He fought in the Resistance Movement during the German Occupation of Poland, took part in the Warsaw uprising of 1944, and survived time in a concentration camp. Under the postwar regime, he published many novels, plays, and essays in the underground press, joined the opposition movement, was interned during the government crackdown, and helped found the Solidarity Congress of Polish culture. He was the author of The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman and the recipient of the PEN Club award for A Mass for Arras, which has been published to great international acclaim.
Richard Lourie is the translator of Andrei Sakharov's Memoirs and Czeslaw Milosz's Visions from San Francisco Bay. His own works include the novels The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin, First Loyalty, Zero Gravity and the true-crime account of a Russian serial killer, Hunting the Devil. He has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The Nation.
Title: A Mass for Arras
Publisher: Grove Pr
Publication Date: 1993
Book Condition: Used: Good
Book Description Grove/Atlantic, Incorporated. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0802111734I5N00
Book Description Grove Pr. Hardcover. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. little to no wear, pages are clean. The cover and binding are crisp with next no creases. Bookseller Inventory # 2782942853
Book Description Grove Press, New York, USA, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First American Edition. Clean and firmly bound with no writing inside, the jacket is not price-clipped. Copyright 1993, this is the first English language edition, the first printing of the first United States edition with full number line inside 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2. Bookseller Inventory # 028371
Book Description Grove Press, Inc, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. First Thus. Translated from the Polish. A moving account of a young man's coming of age in a time of disease and death in 1461. Bookseller Inventory # 001931
Book Description Grove Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0802111734
Book Description Grove Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. Szczypiorski, Andrzej. A MASS FOR ARRAS. Translated from the Polish by Richard Lourie. NY: Grove Press, c1993. first printing. 188pp. 8vo. fine hardcover in d/w. Bookseller Inventory # 49507
Book Description Grove Press, New York, 1993. Softcover. Book Condition: Fair. 188 pages. Softcover. Fair condition. Cover has slight chips and scratches. LITERATURE. A tale based on the events of the spring 1458 in the town of Arras was visited by the disaster of plague and hunger. (Key Words: Andrzej Szczypiorski, Literature, Arras, Plague, Hunger, Witchcraft). First North American Edition; Uncorreced advance p. book. Bookseller Inventory # 26821X1
Book Description Grove Press 1993 New York, 1993. Very good in edgeworn dustjacket First Edition hardbound octavoe 188 pp. Bookseller Inventory # BOOKS028663
Book Description Grove Press, New York, 1993. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. Bound in maroon boards with gold lettering to spine, is in near-fine conditon; as is the dustwrapper. 188 pgs. Bookseller Inventory # 6000499
Book Description Grove Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st English-language ed. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0802111734