Emperor of the Earth: Modes of Eccentric Vision by Czesław Miłosz

By Czesław Miłosz

A great assortment, and an outstanding creation to Milosz's nonfiction writing.

This stimulating selection of essays, quite often keen on matters taken from Slavic literatures, is immediately scholarly and reflective. the amount opens with a real tale, "Brognart," that is a confession of the author's regret in accordance with clash with French intellectuals. "Science Fiction and the arrival of the Antichrist" issues Vladimir Solovyov. "Krasinski's Retreat" is one other go back to the author's pupil readings, which makes an attempt to figure out how a Polish romantic poet may well write in 1833 a drama at the impending international revolution. "Joseph Conrad's Father" sketches the biography of a poet and innovative and in addition throws a few mild upon the destiny of the hero of the final bankruptcy.

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The state of European and American philosophy, as he observed it, strengthened his historical pessimism. Philoso­ phers, behaving like the fox who pronounced the grapes sour because they were too high, were engaged in explaining away metaphysics as a semantic misunderstanding. Wasn't this a sign foreboding the end of the search for "unattainable absolute truth"? " The fable of the fox applied not only to the neo-positivists. Wit­ kiewicz raged against Bergson: "intuition" was indeed a meager substitute for striving toward clear cognition.

He fought as an infantry officer in an elite tsarist regiment, was 32 Stanisiaw Ignacy W itkiew icz: A W riter fo r Today? 33 decorated for bravery with the highest Russian distinction (the order of St. Anne) and probably was loved by his soldiers, for at the outbreak of the Revolution they elected him a commissar. We know little, however, of this or of any other wartime inci­ dents. He did not like to talk about them except for a casual re­ mark in a conversation with a friend, for example that counting the minutes before an attack is one of the most dire experiences in the life of man.

In Pansopheus's manuscript the twentieth century belongs to Asia. Japan not only takes over technology from Europe but also the ideas known as Pan-Slavism and Pan-Germanism, elaborating its own idea of Pan-Mongolism. Thus armed it undertakes the conquest of China and establishes a Japanese dynasty there, effectively convincing the Chinese that they should modernize themselves and, together with the Japanese, turn against the white race. The Chinese army and navy, trained by Japanese instructors, quickly makes use of the huge human reserves of Manchuria, China, Mongolia, and Tibet.

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