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A Defense of Ardor: Essays

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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 to considerations of artistic friends past and present; to intellectual and psychological portraits of cities he has known, east and west; to a dazzling thumbnail sketch of postwar Polish poetry. Recipient of the 2004 Neustadt International Prizze for Literature.

Editorial Reviews

In this collection of essays, Zagajewski, a well-known Polish poet, novelist, and essayist who won the 2004 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, writes about ardor, inspiration, the soul, and the sublime. The essays vocalize his meditations on a variety of topics, including history, society, religious fundamentalism, and autobiography; thinkers such as Nietzsche, Aristotle, Todorov, and Thomas Mann; postwar Polish poetry; and his travel experiences, cities he has visited, and performances he has seen. Moreover, Zagajewski reflects on such significant questions of our time as the place of art and the question of aesthetics in modern life, the nature of poetry, the state of literature today, and the relationship between art and life, without losing his light sense of humor and humane outlook. Lucid, engaging, and stimulating, these essays are at once enjoyable and thought-provoking. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Aparna Zambare, Central Michigan Univ. Libs., Mount Pleasant, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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