In the fact of Polish character.

In his essays” „Private duties” , „Family Europe” , „ The year of hunter” and „Looking for homeland” (author’s own translation) Milosz manifests his prejudice against superficial and ceremonial Polish customs and so called Polish religiousness. „ After all I couldn’t bend my knee in front of this godless whose name is Polish character. (....) In this country religion has been absorbed in it” („The Land of Urlo”) The other object of his prejudice against Polish customs are sentimentalism and cheap patriotism. Milosz’s very important text which describes the poet’s attitude to Poland and Poles is the poem analyzed earlier „My faithful mother tongue” and especially its third stanza:

Now, I confess my doubt.
There are moments when it seems to me I have squandered my life.
For you are a tongue of the debased,
of the unreasonable, hating themselves
even more than they hate other nations,
a tongue of informers,
a tongue of the confused,
ill with their own innocence.

For sure, it is an expression of a critical attitude towards Polish character in general. But it is worth remembering that this poem was written in 1968. Poland was governed then by the communist regime which did a lot of ill. Most of the Polish society had lost the feeling of individual responsibility, had given up to the magic of „anonymous evil.” It felt innocent while approving of the existence of terror, falsehood and hypocrisy.

This page, in its earlier 1997 version (use right mouse to open in new window), was created by Aleksandra Kolodziejczyk, Iwona Kowalska, and Dariusz Plygawko, students of the Fifth General Education Liceum in Bielsko-Biala. Marcin Tomana and Piotr Kowalski of the School's Informatics faculty and Urszula Zajaczek of the Polish Language faculty, acted as advisors. Linguistic editing of current version by Peter K. Gessner.


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