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Czeslaw Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz

(June 30, 1911 – August 14, 2004)

 It needs to be understood that Czesław Miłosz`s origin had been very debatable for a certain period of time and only Miłosz himself could put an end to it; here is what he thought of himself:
“My family in the sixteenth century already spoke Polish, just as many families in Finland spoke Swedish and in Ireland English, so I am a Polish not a Lithuanian poet. But the landscapes and perhaps the spirits of Lithuania have never abandoned me”.

• Polish poet, prose writer and tanslator,
• 1961 – 1998 he was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley,
• awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1980).

More facts about Miłosz:
- born in 1911 in the village of Szetejnie,
- parents Aleksander and Weronika Miłosz, brother Andrzej Miłosz (Polish journalist, translator of literature and of film subtitles into Polish, he was the one to make Polish documentaries about Czesław,
- Czesław Miłosz was confident in speaking Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, English and French,
- he graduated from Sigismund Augustus Gymnasium in Vilnus and studied law at Stefan Batory University,
- travelled to Paris (1931) where he was introduced to poetry by his cousin Oscar Miłosz (a French poet of Lithuanian origin),
- first publication of his poetry took place in 1934,
- all his works (poetry, fiction and essays) were written in Polish; he also translated the Old Testament Psalms into Polish,
- Czesław Miłosz took part in underground lectures by Polish philosopher, historian of philosophy, historian of art, esthetician, and ethicist; as a committed Socialist Czeslaw took part in activities of the resistance, engaged in fighting the Nazi occupation of Poland,
- he obtained political asylum in France (1951),
- he received the European Literary Prize (1953),
- Miłosz emigrated to the United States (1960) and 10 years later he became a U.S. citizen,
- it was in 1961 when he started lecturing at the University of California, Berkeley in Polish literature in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures,
- the poet received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature award in 1978,
- he carried on a professorship at the University of California after his retirement (1978),
- Miłosz received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980; that was a decisive moment for him and his poetry to become recognised in Poland after being forbidden by the communist government,
- his right to live in Poland was given back to him after the Iron Curtain was demolished; nevertheless his work was proscribed by government-censored media; he then decided to travel between his homes in Berkley and Krakow,
- Czesław Miłosz received the U.S. National Medal of Arts and an honorary doctorate from Harvard University (1989),
- his works have been read by amateurs and poetry lovers in Poland and internationally; one of the fans of Miłosz was Karol Józef Wojtyla, known as Pope John Paul II.

Source: www.biographyonline.net/poets/czeslaw-milosz.html, an article by R.Pettinger 28/11/06

 Poetry works:
• 1936: Trzy zimy (Three Winters)
• 1945: Ocalenie (Rescue)
• 1954: Światło dzienne (The Light of Day)
• 1957: Traktat poetycki (A Poetical Treatise)
• 1962: Król Popiel i inne wiersze (King Popiel and Other Poems)
• 1965: Gucio zaczarowany (Gucio Enchanted)
• 1969: Miasto bez imienia (City Without a Name)
• 1974: Gdzie słońce wschodzi i kedy zapada (Where the Sun Rises and Where it Sets) 1982: Hymn o Perle (The Poem of the Pearl)
• 1984: Nieobjęta ziemia (The Unencompassed Earth)
• 1989: Kroniki (Chronicles)
• 1991: Dalsze okolice (Farther Surroundings)
• 1994: Na brzegu rzeki (Facing the River)
• 2000: To (It)
• 2002: Druga przestrzeń (The Second Space)
• 2003: Orfeusz i Eurydyka (Orpheus and Eurydice)
• 2006: Wiersze ostatnie (Last Poems)

Prose works:
• 1953: Zniewolony umysł (The Captive Mind)
• 1955: Zdobycie władzy (The Seizure of Power)
• 1955: Dolina Issy (The Issa Valley)
• 1959: Rodzinna Europa (Native Realm)
• 1969: The History of Polish Literature
• 1969: Widzenia nad Zatoką San Francisco (A View of San Francisco Bay)
• 1974: Prywatne obowiązki (Private Obligations)
• 1976: Emperor of the Earth
• 1977: Ziemia Ulro (The Land of Ulro)
• 1979: Ogród Nauk (The Garden of Science)
• 1981: Nobel Lecture
• 1983: The Witness of Poetry
• 1985: Zaczynając od moich ulic (Starting from My Streets)
• 1986: A mi Európánkról (About our Europe)
• 1992: Szukanie ojczyzny (In Search of a Homeland)
• 1995: Metafizyczna pauza (The Metaphysical Pause)
• 1996: Legendy nowoczesności (Modern Legends, War Essays)
• 1997: Zycie na wyspach (Life on Islands)
• 1997: Piesek przydrożny (Roadside Dog)
• 1997: Abecadło Milosza (Milosz’s Alphabet)
• 1988: Inne Abecadło (A Further Alphabet)
• 1999: Wyprawa w dwudziestolecie (An Excursion through the Twenties and Thirties)
• 2004: Spiżarnia literacka (A Literary Larder)
• 2004: Przygody młodego umysłu
• 2004: O podróżach w czasie; (On time travel)