A Fly Trapped in Amber. On Czesław Miłosz’s America and His Imagination

Tomasz Bilczewski


This article aims to examine selected historical contexts of Miłosz’s
encounters with America. Its purpose is to demonstrate that the poet’s attitude towards
the country where he spent many years of his adulthood and creative life was full of
confl icts, paradoxes and contrasts. Early readings, a boyhood passion for discovering
the laws and secrets of nature, and Romantic and modern literary traditions signifi cantly
infl uenced both Miłosz’s perception of American landscapes and American culture,
shaping new landscapes within him. The transformations of the speaking “I,” which
the reader witnesses through Miłosz’s experiences with the New World, allow for
an understanding of how his unique spatial imagination developed. This article also
attempts to indicate areas where Miłosz searches for a solution to his disintegrated
imagination, particularly in its religious dimension, while tackling the challenges and
crises of modernity.

Słowa kluczowe: Miłosz, America, spatial imagination, religious imagination

Chateaubriand, F.R. de. 1980. Atala. René. Trans. I. Putter. Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

Dudek, J. 1995. Europejskie korzenie poezji Czesława Miłosza [The European Roots of the Poetry of Czesław Miłosz]. Kraków: Księgarnia Akademicka.

Miłosz, C. 1977. Emperor of the Earth: Modes of Eccentric Vision. Berkeley: University of California Press.

––––– 1981. Native Realm. A Search for Self-Defi nition. Trans. C.S. Leach. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

––––– 1982. Visions from San Francisco Bay. Trans. R. Lourie. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

––––– 1984. The Land of Ulro. Trans. L. Iribarne. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

––––– 1986. Unattainable Earth. Trans. C. Miłosz and R. Hass. New York: The Ecco Press.

––––– 1991. Beginning with My Streets. Essays and Recollections. Trans. M.G. Levine. New York, Farrar Strauss and Giroux.

––––– 1999. Kontynenty [Continents]. Kraków: Znak.

––––– 2000. Widzenia nad Zatoką San Francisco. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie.

––––– 2001a. Milosz’s ABC’s. Trans. M. G. Levine. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

––––– 2001b. New and Collected Poems. New York: Ecco.

––––– 2001c. To Begin Where I Am. Selected Essays. Eds. B. Carpenter and M. G. Levine. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

––––– 2011. Wiersze wszystkie [Complete Poems]. Kraków: Znak.

Rybicka, E. 2011. “‘Homo geographicus’. Miłosza topografi e i autobiogeografi e” [“Homo Geographicus.” Czesław Miłosz’s Topographies and Autobiogeographies]. In: Czesława Miłosza „północna strona” [Czesław Miłosz’s “Northern Side”]. Eds. M. Czermińska and K. Szalewska. Gdańsk: Nadbałtyckie Centrum Kultury. 25–37.

van Heuckelom, K. 2011. “Poezja Czesława Miłosza wobec tradycji okulocentryzmu. Rzecz o późnym wierszu ‘Oczy’” [Czesław Miłosz’s Poetry and the Tradition of Occularcentrism. On Miłosz’s Late Poem “Eyes”]. In: Poznawanie Miłosza 3. 1999–2010 [Getting to Know Milosz 3. 1999–2010]. Ed. A. Fiut. Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie. 909–939.

Czasopismo ukazuje się w sposób ciągły on-line.
Pierwotną formą czasopisma jest wersja elektroniczna.