Sensus Historiae, Vol. 32, no. 3 (2018), s. 161-174
The reception of The Captive Mind among Polish emigrants was accompanied by its reception by Western intellectuals, which was quite different. The main target audience of the book were Western readers to whom Miłosz was trying to show the changes which affected the consciousness of Central Europeans.
The article discusses selected accounts on reading provided by Western readers. Karl Jasper’s reflections and Thomas Merton’s letters point out the acuity of the analysis carried out by Miłosz and uncover deep psychological, spiritual and mystical meanings of his book. As opposed to the accounts provided by Polish emigrants, Westerners liberate The Captive Mind from a precise, historically and politically charged context, as well as from systemic boundaries, both philosophical and ideological. Jasper’s and Merton’s commentaries portray Miłosz as a writer who uses the artistic form of his work to dismiss scientific systemness, who surpasses the system and aims at discovering universal rules whose meaning, even though it is rarely unambiguous, gives the world its coherent shape.