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A Defense of Ardor: Essays by Adam…
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A Defense of Ardor: Essays

by Adam Zagajewski

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Written like poems at places. Light and delicate. ( )
  porian | Dec 1, 2005 |
While Zagajewski differentiates between the irony used by, say, Mann in the struggle to vitiate fascism, and the low irony of advertisements or the glib irony of the university student, he spots a common threat skulking behind each of these forms: paralysis. If you’re scanning for symptoms of this malady, look for the following: an aversion to high style, an avant-garde perpetually in revolt, a recoil from generosity and sincerity.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374529884, Paperback)

Ardor, inspiration, the soul, the sublime: Such terms have long since fallen from favor among critics and artists alike. In his new collection of essays, Adam Zagajewski continues his efforts to reclaim for art not just the terms but the scanted spiritual dimension of modern human existence that they stake out.

Bringing gravity and grace to his meditations on art, society, and history, Zagajewski wears his erudition lightly, with a disarming blend of modesty and humor. His topics range from autobiography (his first visit to a post-Soviet Lvov after childhood exile; his illicit readings of Nietzsche in Communist Poland); to considerations of artist friends past and present (Zbigniew Herbert, Czeslaw Milosz); to intellectual and psychological portraits of cities he has known, east and west; to a dazzling thumbnail sketch of postwar Polish poetry.

Zagajewski gives an account of the place of art in the modern age that distinguishes his self-proclaimed liberal vision from the “right-wing radicalism” of such modernist precursors as Eliot or Yeats. The same mixture of ardor and compassion that marks Zagajewski’s distinctive contribution to modern poetry runs throughout this eloquent, engaging collection.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:46 -0400)

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