“God hath denied me that angelic measure / Without which no man sees in me the poet,” writes Zygmunt Krasiński in one of his most recognisable lyrics. Yet while it may be true that his lyric output cannot rival in quality the verses of the other two great Polish Romantics, Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Słowacki, Krasiński’s dramatic muse gives no ground to any other.
The Glagoslav edition of the Dramatic Works of Zygmunt Krasiński provides the English reader, for the first time, with all of Krasiński’s plays in the translation of Charles S. Kraszewski. These include the sweeping costume drama Irydion, in which the author sets forth the grievances of his occupied nation through the fable of an uprising of Greeks and barbarians against the dissipated emperor Heliogabalus, and, of course, the monumental drama on which his international fame rests: the Undivine Comedy.
A cosmic play, which defies simple description, the Undivine Comedy is both a de-masking of the Byronic ideal of the poet, whose nefarious, and selfish devotion to the ideal has evil consequences for real human beings, and a prophetic warning of the fratricidal class warfare that was to roil the first decades of the twentieth century. The Undivine Comedy is intriguing in the way that the author presents both sides of this question — the republican and that of the ancien régime — with sympathy and understanding. It is also striking how — in 1830 — the author foresaw the problems of the 1930s.
As Czesław Miłosz once put it, Krasiński was insightfully commenting on Marxism while Karl Marx was still in high school. The Dramatic Works of Zygmunt Krasiński also include the unfinished play 1846, which hints at how the author would have handled a work meant for the traditional stage, and the Unfinished Poem — the Dantean “prequel” to the Undivine Comedy, on which Krasiński was working at his death.
This book was published with the support of the Hanna and Zdzislaw Broncel Charitable Trust.
climbing back up out of the ooze, out ofthe thick black tar,rising up again, a modernLazarus.you're amazed at your goodfortune.somehow you've had morethan your share of secondchances.hell, accept it.what you have, you have.you walk and look in the bathroommirrorat an idiot's smile. you know your luck.some go down and never climb back up.something is being kind to you.you turn from the mirror and walk into theworld.you find a chair, sit down, light a cigar.back from a thousand warsyou look out from an open door into the silentnight.Sibelius plays on the radio.nothing has been lost or destroyed.you blow smoke into the night,tug at your rightear.baby, right now, you've got itall.
There is not a wasted word in Dangling in the Tournefortia, a selection of poems full of wit, struggles, perception, and simplicity. Charles Bukowski writes of women, gambling and booze while his words remain honest and pure.
This collection of previously unpublished poems offers the author's take on squabbling neighbours, off-kilter lovers, would-be hangers-on, and the loneliness of a man afflicted with acute powers of observation. The tone is gritty and amusing, spiralling out towards a cock-eyed wisdom.
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