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Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Exhibition from the Milosz Papers
With Conference November 4-5, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011 - Saturday, December 17, 2011

Yale University
New Haven, CT

In celebration of the centenary of the birth of Czeslaw Milosz, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, which holds the Milosz archive, is hosting a major exhibition from the Milosz papers entitled, Exile as Destiny: Czeslaw Milosz and America, and a conference of poets, scholars, and translators to consider Milosz's American legacy, and the ways in which he served as a cultural mediator between Poland and the US and more broadly between Europe and America, becoming an icon in his adopted country. The conference will offer opportunities to see rarely screened films including two documentaries and Tadeusz Konwicki's film The Issa Valley based on Milosz's novel about his childhood in Lithuania where Konwicki also had his roots.

Poets Tomas Venclova and Adam Zagajewski will reflect on Milosz's work in light of their own acquaintance with the poet himself. Andrzej Franaszek, author of a monumental biography of Milosz recently published in Poland will present some conclusions to be drawn from his comprehensive survey of the poet's life. Scholars from Poland and the US, many of whom knew Milosz, including Bogdana Carpenter (U of Michigan), Krzysztof Czyzewski (Borderlands Foundation), Irena Grudzinska Gross (Princeton), Jerzy Jarzebski (Jagiellonian U), Marek Zaleski (Institute for Literary Research, Polish Academy of Sciences), Mark Danner (UC Berkeley), and others will consider Milosz's intellectual legacy as the author of the penetrating critique of the accommodations that intellectuals make to survive under totalitarianism, The Captive Mind, as well as his reflections on topics ranging from history and politics to literature and theology.

Bozena Shallcross (U of Chicago) and young activist, researcher, and publisher, Slawomir Sierakowski (Ed. Krytyka Polityczna, "Political Critique") will present their research from the Milosz archive at the Beinecke Library, and some of the original documents they are discussing will be on display in the exhibition.

Milosz was passionate about the subject of translation, and not only of his own poetry and prose. He realized that in translation he was shaping his ideas, his art, and his image for different audiences and even as this was always an intensely collaborative project, he saw himself as the ultimate translator of his own work. Translators who worked closely with Milosz on his own texts including Madeline G. Levine and Lillian Vallee, will relate their experiences in working with the poet and will examine his practice as a dedicated translator of poetry from other languages into Polish.

Milosz and America is organized by the Polish Cultural Institute New York in collaboration with the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University, and the Polish Book Institute.

Conference Website

Conference Registration (free)

Download Conference Program (PDF)

Download Exhibition Pamphlet (PDF)

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