Zagajewski, Adam A Defense of Ardor

ISBN 13: 9780374529888

A Defense of Ardor

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9780374529888: A Defense of Ardor
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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 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.

From Publishers Weekly:

The 14 essays that make up poet Zagajewski’s "defense" are an engagingly warm and witty blend of literary comment and memoir, passionate about aesthetic matters but refreshingly free of personal rancor. Zagajewski was born in Poland at the end of WWII; his career is inexorably bound up with the fate of his homeland, and his essays are full of the critical but fierce patriotism common to the country often wryly called "God’s playground." Zagajewski’s combination of the personal, literary and political is canny and well judged, as in the excellent "Nietzsche in Krakow," which begins as partly nostalgic reminiscence, tracing the author’s furtive discovery, as an adolescent living under communism, of the officially proscribed "mustachioed philosopher" and his delight in "the scorn with which this philologist and philosopher treated the state." But this remembrance of youthful enthusiasm underlies a more skeptical view, in which Nietzsche’s disdain for objective truth and worship of irrationality are seen to underlie not only fascism but, through Lenin, the state socialism of postwar Poland. Though the essays are written in a casually intimate style, such names as Mann and Musil are invoked without undue strain. In other essays, the careers of such friends and luminaries as Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert are contextualized with both intelligence and affection, as are cities in which Zagajewski has lived, written and taught.
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9780374136307: A Defense of Ardor: Essays

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ISBN 10:  0374136300 ISBN 13:  9780374136307
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004
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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, United States, 2005. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. 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. Seller Inventory # BZE9780374529888

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