Poet (and Nobel Prize winner) Czeslaw Milosz makes the bold and ingenious attempt at writing his autobiography as a social history. It works. This is history at its best -- personal (as it always must be) but concerned with the encompassing narrative of humanity. Born near the beginning of the twentieth century into the tumultuous region of Lithuania, Milosz hints at the source of his vocation: ''If it were any different, if that chaotic richness, in the presence of which our faculties are like a circle of lantern light in the darkness, did not exist, we would not constantly be aspiring to form, achieved by a process of elimination, and probably the art of writing would disappear.'' By focusing his attention on the background of his life, Milosz can see himself as ''a sociological phenomenon.'' He traces his path through ancestry, war, and an early Catholic education. He is shaped by Marxism and Russia, Nazi Germany and the tentative world ''peace'' leading into the Cold War. Not surprisingly, it is his own poetry which best describes the life of this man born into remarkable times: ''Growing small, I disappear in the immense, more and more free.'' Covers show almost no wear, contents unmarked but age-toned.
An Eighth Day View:
The autobiography of the Nobel laureate
Before he emigrated to the United States, Czeslaw Milosz lived through many of the social upheavals that defined the first half of the twentieth century. Here, in this compelling account of his early life, the author sketches his moral and intellectual history from childhood to the early fifties, providing the reader with a glimpse into a way of life that was radically different from anything an American or even a Western European could know.
Using the events of his life as a starting point, "Native Realm" sets out to explore the consciousness of a writer and a man, examining the possibility of finding glimmers of meaning in the midst of chaos while remaining true to oneself.
In this beautifully written and elegantly translated work, Milosz is at his very best.