This essay analyzes Adam Zagajewski's recent memoir W cudzym pieknie (Another beauty), in which he reflects particularly on the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, when he was a student and young poet in Kraków. The essay addresses Zagajewski's perspective on the city of Kraków, his reflections on communism in Wladyslaw Gomulka's Poland, his sense of the relations between older and younger Polish generations, and his efforts to negotiate a personal balance between poetry and politics. Zagajewski's memoir is discussed in the context of his own poetry, of Polish intellectual life, and of Kraków's cultural history from the 1890s to the 1980s. Intellectual points of reference and comparison range from Tadeusz "Boy" Żeleński and Stanisław Wyspiański in fin-de-siècle Krakow, to Witold Gombrowicz, Czesław Miłosz, and Adam Michnik in later twentieth-century Polish letters and politics. The essay, finally, attempts to assess the significance and implications of communism for Polish poetry, literature, and intellectual life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)