|Abstract: ||Despite their belonging to two separate literary generations, namely, those
born around 1910 and 1920, Gustaw Herling-Grudziński, Konstanty A.
Jeleński, and Czesław Miłosz represent the very same cultural formation.
They were all Polish humanists moulded by the common paradigm of
values founded upon the basis of shared reading list.
In consecutive parts of her work, the author shows the ways in which
Herling-Grudziński, Jeleński, and Miłosz, at subsequent stages of their
lives, were entangled in history. Part One describes them as grappling
with totalitarianism and the artist’s moral dilemmas, providing historical
and political backdrop to the fates of future émigrés and indicating the
ramifications of their choice to emigrate for their artistic work. The chapter
entitled Wobec historii i polityki [Towards History and Politics] is a particularly
close account of Herling-Grudziński’s discussion with the diagnosis
contained in The Captive Mind over the course of nearly fifty years.
Part Two of the book is devoted to the involvement of the said writers
into Europe’s literary life. In the chapter Wobec wspólnoty [Towards Community]
the author discusses their relationships with the Congress for
Cultural Freedom. She gives the account of Jeleński’s output in both the
field of literature and opinion journalism as the editor-in-chief of Parisbased
monthly Preuves, as well as Herling-Grudziński’s contributions to
a Rome-based magazine Tempo Presente.
The book’s final part, entitled Wobec powinności artysty [Towards
Artist’s Duty] is devoted to metaphysical and axiological problematics
present in writings by Herling-Grudziński, Jeleński, and Miłosz. What was conspicuous in all they put their minds to – the literary art, the commentaries
they worded, explanations they addressed to Western public opinion,
and finally, in their endeavour to most adequately express their views on
metaphysical foundations of art and existence – was their personal stigma
and personal involvement. Thereby, the History, along with their histories,
gained an individual human dimension.|