Miłosz: On Circuit

Jacek Gutorow


This paper undertakes a critical examination of Czesław Miłosz’s negative
responses to contemporary art in general, and American modernist poetry in particular.
It focuses on Miłosz’s interpretations of Cézanne’s statements and Wallace Stevens’s
poems, and concludes that the Polish poet’s inability and unwillingness to appreciate
contemporary art results from his recognition and approval of mimetic representation
as the only strategy which guarantees rationality, certainty, a sense of metaphysical
hierarchy and which is informed by them. Quoted are Miłosz’s somewhat angry
reactions to the concepts of abstract, non-fi gurative art as well as his words of
admiration for the representational moment apparently inherent in both poetry and
painting. Parenthetically, the paper points to Miłosz’s repressed feelings of existential
and epistemological ambivalence, arguably the most valuable aspect of his work.

Słowa kluczowe: ambivalence, modernity, abstraction, reality

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