Two Cities: On Exile, History, and the Imagination

Overview


In this varied collection of deeply personal, lyrical essays and short literary sketches, leading contemporary Polish poet Adam Zagajewski contends with the effects of coming of age, both artistically and intellectually, in a totalitarian regime. No matter their subject, Zagajewski's essays have the subtlety and resonance of poetry; his is one of the most intriguing voices in today's Europe.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Paperback
$15.27
BN.com price
(Save 27%)$20.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $2.00   
  • New (4) from $16.50   
  • Used (7) from $2.00   
Sending request ...

Overview


In this varied collection of deeply personal, lyrical essays and short literary sketches, leading contemporary Polish poet Adam Zagajewski contends with the effects of coming of age, both artistically and intellectually, in a totalitarian regime. No matter their subject, Zagajewski's essays have the subtlety and resonance of poetry; his is one of the most intriguing voices in today's Europe.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A compelling and thought-provoking group of essays . . . As the parts of [Zagajewski's] life story begin to fall into place, an ironic and sad tapestry unrolls itself. Yet he's not all gloom and doom: he's often funny, and his humility is a strong virtue.”--Booklist

"Zagajewski . . . infuses these haunting autobiographical sketches, lyrical reflections, fables, fantasies, and aphoristic brief essays with a sense of traumatic loss and uprootedness."--Publishers Weekly

"While the absence of apocalypse suggests that Zagajewski has moved beyond the avant-garde, the incredible variety and intricacy of his prose make clear that he is still in the midst of his own quiet revolution."--John Palattella, Dissent

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Polish essayist and poet Zagajewski, residing in Paris since 1982, infuses these haunting autobiographical sketches, lyrical reflections, fables, fantasies and aphoristic brief essays with a sense of traumatic loss and uprootedness. The title piece relates how, in October 1945, when he was four months old, his whole family was expelled from the formerly Polish city of Lvov, which had been incorporated into the U.S.S.R. as a direct result of Yalta Conference deal-making, and deported by cattle car to Gliwice, a Silesian industrial city acquired by Poland from Germany at war's end, where he spent his childhood and adolescence longing for his idealized birthplace. In ``Open Archives,'' through what purports to be a secret-police official's memo, Zagajewski exposes and mocks the brutality and cynicism of communist rule. Along with random thoughts on William Blake, the historical imagination, nihilism and poetry, this collection includes interesting profiles of poet Gottfried Benn, ``a German Mallarm''; obsessive French diarist Paul Lautaud; and Polish Jewish story writer Bruno Schulz, gunned down by a Nazi in 1942. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Zagajewski's title essay meanders through time, moving from 1945, when as an infant he was moved from his family's beloved home city of Lvov to Giwice (Poland), back farther to an idyllic past through his homesick relatives, and then to his present life in Paris. Zagajewski, who has written essays (Solidarity, Solitude, LJ 6/15/90) and poetry (Canvas, LJ 12/91), writes movingly of his divided loyalties-represented by the two cities-to a past he did not inhabit and a future he longs to claim for his own. Unfortunately, the rest of this collection is not so successful. While Zagajewski's observations of politics, literature, and the postwar cynicism that fostered his own creativity show a lively imagination, they simply are not very interesting. His staccato, image-laden sentences, though well crafted, border on hyperbole. Best suited to larger Eastern European collections.-Diane Gardner Premo, SILS, Buffalo Univ., N.Y.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820324098
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Pages: 272

Meet the Author


Adam Zagajewski is the author of several books of poetry, including Tremor and Mysticism for Beginners. He divides his time between Paris and Houston, where he is on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Two Cities 1
Open Archives 69
Instructions for the Secret Police: Introduction 71
Betrayal 81
A Small Nation Writes a Letter to God 115
Spring Thunderstorm 124
The Chairman's Secret Speech 149
The New Little Larousse 159
Two Books 161
Cracow 166
In the Library 172
The Untold Cynicism of Poetry 175
Essentialist in Paris 177
The Doorman 185
The Two Defects of Literature 186
Lecture on Mystery 187
Zeal 188
Existentialism 189
The World Is Torn 190
Central Europe 191
I Killed Hitler 193
Evil 195
Drohobycz and the World 196
Murder 205
The Active Voice 207
Fraternity Indeed 208
Ecstasy and Irony 209
Baczynski 210
Changes in the East 220
Stendhal 224
Three Histories 226
Reading for Bad Days 227
Saint Peter's Report 240
Historical Imagination 242
From Another World 245
Egoism 247
Karl Marx 248
Emptiness 249
The Inspired Dermatologist 251
In Defense of Adjectives 263
Innocence and Experience 265
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)