“Ondanks alles, mijn Europa, mijn geboortegrond” Beeldvorming over Europa in het werk van Czeslaw Milosz



Although the writings of the Polish poet and essay writer Czeslaw
Milosz (°1911) display a strong “European consciousness”, the representation
of Europe in his literary and publicistic works has a highly
ambiguous character. The recognition of a common European culture
area goes along with a profound consciousness of the fault lines in the
European identity (East vs. West). This historically evolved split between
Eastern and Western Europe is not only perceived in relation to
oppositions such as centre-periphery and universalism-provincialism,
but is also closely linked to important political evolutions (WW II and
the postwar sovietisation of Eastern Europe). Interesting works which
reveal Milosz’s ambiguous perception of Europe are the collection of
essays The Captive Mind (1953), the autobiographical prose works Native
Realm (1959) and Milosz’s ABC's (1997-1998), the text of his Nobel
Lecture (1980) and the series of Harvard lectures The Witness of
Poetry (1981-1982). Apart from that, special attention should be paid to
Milosz’s contribution to the Central Europe debate of the 1980s.