THE CHARLES ELIOT NORTON LECTURES
Cover: The Witness of Poetry, from Harvard University PressCover: The Witness of Poetry in PAPERBACK

The Witness of Poetry

Add to Cart

Product Details

PAPERBACK

$24.50 • £19.95 • €22.00

ISBN 9780674953833

Publication Date: 01/01/1984

Academic Trade

128 pages

6 x 9 inches

The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures

World

Czeslaw Milosz, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature, reflects upon poetry’s testimony to the events of our tumultuous time. From the special perspectives of “my corner of Europe,” a classical and Catholic education, a serious encounter with Marxism, and a life marked by journeys and exiles, Milosz has developed a sensibility at once warm and detached, flooded with specific memory yet never hermetic or provincial.

Milosz addresses many of the major problems of contemporary poetry, beginning with the pessimism and negativism prompted by reductionist interpretations of man’s animal origins. He examines the tendency of poets since Mallarmé to isolate themselves from society, and stresses the need for the poet to make himself part of the great human family. One chapter is devoted to the tension between classicism and realism; Milosz believes poetry should be “a passionate pursuit of the real.” In “Ruins and Poetry” he looks at poems constructed from the wreckage of a civilization, specifically that of Poland after the horrors of World War II. Finally, he expresses optimism for the world, based on a hoped-for better understanding of the lessons of modern science, on the emerging recognition of humanity’s oneness, and on mankind’s growing awareness of its own history.

Awards & Accolades

  • Czeslaw Milosz Is a 1989 National Medal of Arts Winner
  • Czeslaw Milosz Is Winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature
The Fairest of Them All: Snow White and 21 Tales of Mothers and Daughters, by Maria Tatar, from Harvard University Press

From Our Blog

9780674238084

Who We Might Have Been, and Who We Will Become

Who among us hasn’t considered what our lives would be like if we had taken alternate paths, made different decisions? Storytellers of every stripe write of the lives we didn’t have, says Andrew H. Miller, author of On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives. As we live through a worldwide pandemic, the ideas of what might have been are even more appealing. Much like the adolescents on the verge of adulthood in Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, Miller tells us, we wait to see what comes next.