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Kompot profesora Miłosza (Czesław Miłosz jako historyk literatury staropolskiej)

Jacek Głażewski

Compote by Professor Miłosz (Czesław Miłosz as Old Polish Literature Historian)

The American university career of Czesław Miłosz is generally believed to be a casual episode in the life of this outstanding poet and essayist, although it spread over many years.However, on the basis of correspondence which the future winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature kept with his friend, and in a way the most faithful and the most important reader, Konstanty Jeleński, it can be clearly concluded that Miłosz consciously chose his professional path; moreover, the idea of lecturing on Polish literature in the United States emerged relatively early, i.e. still during his diplomatic service. Due to this fact, History of Polish Literature and the vision of culture history of the former Polish Commonwealth presented in this textbook may be regarded as a significant part of the poet’s intellectual biography – Czesław Miłosz was an expert in literature of the Polish Commonwealth and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, thus it seems that thorough studies on the old-Polish heritage, which the poet had to make as a result of rigors of academic courses, also had an impact on the poetic texts he wrote. The draft features the writer’s passion for history and literature, which culminated in still underestimated academic textbook, written with a huge intuition and based on knowledge used earlier during preparation of fundamental anthology of Polish poetry in French.