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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Bujnicki, Tadeusz
Title: Miłoszas Vilniaus literatūrinėje aplinkoje
Other Title: Miłosz and the “wileńskie“ cultural environment
Is part of: Darbai ir dienos, 2006, nr. 46, p. 153-166
Date: 2006
Abstract: The primary purpose of this portrait of Czesław Miłosz is to show the writer’s relationship to the literary environment of Wilno (Vilnius) during the interwar years. Statements dating from this period, as well as later ones, show a lack of enthusiasm and a tendency to perceive Wilno critically. Wilno is seen as a traditionalistic, provincial city that provoked active opposition in the writer. He searched for values and forms of expression different from those that were obligatory in Wilno. On the other hand, the cultural tradition and atmosphere of the city influenced the young writer, even when his reactions were critical. Lonely Wilno was later transformed into a personal and lasting myth. The more than ten years that Czesław Miłosz stayed in Wilno, from 1921 to 1937, correspond to the period of his poetic growth and initiation. At this time, regionalist writers and advocates of the romantic tradition, such as Czeslaw Jankowski, Helena Romer-Ochenkowska, Wanda Dobaczewska, Eugenia Kobylińska, Jerzy Wyszomirski and others, dominate the literary scene in Wilno. The newspapers, Słowo and Kurier Wileński, also have considerable influence on the cultural image of the city. The “przybysze“ (“immigrants“), such as fellow writer and manager of Wilno’s radio station, Witold Hulewicz, and prose writer and poet, Tadeusz Łopalewski, also exercise some influence on the cultural environment of the city. Despite this, Wilno remains under the strong cultural influence of the romantic tradition and Little Poland. Miłosz, just as other young men of the same age, opposes them, first as a participant in the organization PET, later as a student of the University of Stefan Batory and member of the Academic Club of Tramps in its Original Arts division and, finally, as part of the group gathered around the magazine, Zagary, that included Teodor Bujnocki, Jerzy Zagórski, Aleksander Rymkiewicz and Józef Maśliński. Both as a journalist (in an article on regionalism) and as a poet, with his colleagues represents the trend of the Wilno vanguard and expresses leftist opinions close to those of the group called Henryka Dembińskiego. His reluctance to accept the traditionalism of Wilno’s literature and his liking of ethnic minorities and their creative work found expression in his activities with Wilno radio, which Miłosz was forced to leave in 1937. However, as the years passed, Miłosz perceived his Wilno period from a different perspective, more spatial than literary or cultural. He wrote in Europe in the Family that the most important part of his life elapsed in Wilno; consciousness returns, “leading one’s own cities from nonentity.“ The poet’s account of the city of his youth grows more complicated over the years. Thus, turning to Tomas Venclova, Miłosz absolutely affirms, “Wilno will not consent to eliminate Polish culture from its history.“ But is this the Wilno of Mickiewicz and the Filomates, of freemasons and rogues? Is this the Wilno of “Żagary“ rather than the conservative, post romantic literatures and cultures of the regionalists?“
Appears in Collections:Darbai ir dienos / Deeds and Days 2006, nr. 46

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