A Defense of Ardor: Essays
Written by Adam Zagajewski
Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh
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 Lwow after childhood exile; his illicit readings of Friedrich 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 meditation on the nature of vacations taken at home and abroad; to a dazzling thumbnail sketch of postwar Polish poetry. The same mixture of ardor and compassion that marks Zagajewski's distinctive contribution to modern poetry runs throughout this eloquent, engaging collection.
"Written with his characteristic delicacy, gravity and wit, [A Defense of Ardor] is notable for the acute, thoughtful way that the Polish poet frames and examines literary and intellectual issues."
JOHN PALATTELLA, The Nation
"[Zagajewski is] one of the most appealing and deeply civilized poets of our time."
ADAM KIRSCH, The New York Sun
ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI was born in Lwow, Poland, in 1945. His books of poetry in English include Tremor, Canvas, Mysticism for Beginners and Without End. He is also the author of a memoir, Another Beauty, and the prose collections Two Cities and Solitude and Solidarity. Among his honors and awards are a fellowship from the Berliner Kunstlerprogramm, the Kurt Tucholsky Prize, a Prix de la Liberte, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Neustadt Literary Prize. He is a professor of literature at the University of Chicago. He lives in Krakow and Chicago.
Publishing House: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York 2005
SoftCover book measuring 5.5" x 8.25"
English Language Version
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