Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel Prize for literature.
Czeslaw Milosz, who just received the Nobel Prize for literature, discusses his award, the role of poets, the importance of love, the spiritual transformation of the world, and Poland.
Czeslaw Milosz was born in Seteniai (Lithuania) in 1911, and died in Krakow in 2004. Born into a family of the old Polish nobility, he started studying law at a Vilnius university. From 1933 on, he started publishing poetry collections and receiving literary prizes.
A member of the avant-garde movement, he founded the Zagary literary circle, a leftist group with apocalyptic tendencies. In 1940, after the Red Army's invasion of Lithuania, he found refuge in Warsaw, where he helped Jews escape from the Nazis, which earned him the "Righteous amongst the Nations" title after the war. A diplomat in post-war Poland, he continued publishing poems, novels and essays. He stood out from the commemoration ideology, which was dominant in Poland at the time, and pleaded for writers' absolute freedom. Similarly, he refused the socialist realism imposed by Stalin on countries under Soviet domination and exiled himself in France in 1951, where he obtained political asylum.
In 1953, he published La Pensée Captive and Essai sur les Logocraties Populaires, which were analyses on the place and role of intellectuals in a dictatorship. In 1961, he went to the United States and taught Slavic literature at a Berkeley university. Having obtained American citizenship in 1970, he returned to Poland after the fall of communism and spent the remainder of his life in Krakow. In 1953, Czeslaw Milosz was awarded the Prix Littéraire Européen, and in 1980 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature.