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Native Realm: A Search for Self-Definition

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  246 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The autobiography of the Nobel laureate

Before he emigrated to the United States, Czeslaw Milosz lived through many of the social upheavals that defined the first half of the twentieth century. Here, in this compelling account of his early life, the author sketches his moral and intellectual history from childhood to the early fifties, providing the reader with a glimpse in
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 27th 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1959)
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(showing 1-30 of 598)
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Caro M.
I'm very glad that I got back to this book and reread it after so many years. It's still very up to date and prophetic in many ways.
Sep 18, 2007 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In one of the more inane projects of library school, I had to prepare an index for an index-less book. For some reason I didn't do Nabokov's Strong Opinions, an index to which I actually need. I was reading this at the time and figured why not. After starting the assignment I found myself in the very deep waters of cental european historical geography, drowning in Polish and Lithuanian place names. The assignment didn't blight my budding affection for the book. Milosz, like Brodsky, has become a ...more
Visa kas tikrai svarbu, jiems buvo per sunku. Jais nusikračiau labai lengvai: tegul numirėliai laidoja savo numirėlius.

Biurokrato profesija gal ir labai reikalinga, tačiau netrukus susiklostė šiokios tokios vėliau pasitvirtinusios išvados. Tai profesija parazito, kuriam užmoka ne už tai, ką jis veikia, bet už tai, kad nuo ryto iki vakaro sėdi viename ar kitame kambaryje, už vieno ar kito stalo. Kas mėnesį gauna atlyginimą, kuris niekaip neatitinka jo veiklos rezultatų, o tik vietą hierarchijoje.
Nancy Burns
This is not your typical autobiography
....more about ideas and less about feelings.
Time to read one of his books...
#NobelPrize winner 1980, C. Milosz

May 11, 2010 Adam rated it it was amazing
A brilliant man who lived an incredible life. His poetic writing makes you believe every word and makes you feel like you're with him every step of the way.

"In a certain sense I can consider myself a typical Eastern European. It seems to be true that this differentia specifica can be boiled down to a lack of from-both inner and outer. His good qualities-intellectual avidity, fervor in discussion, a sense of irony, freshness of feeling, spatial (or geographical) fantasy- derive from a basic weak
Brian Gatz
Dec 23, 2011 Brian Gatz rated it really liked it
A terse history of Northeastern Europe--told as if philosophy and poetry mattered, were not just additions to real life, but life itself. I see nothing wrong with that. I should add that the contempt for the soft sciences (or any liberal art) necessarily elevates the hard--so we're stuck in the maths as a principle. Nature may obey the sovereignty of logic--culture clearly does not. Milosz's nuance and breadth of learning demand a great deal of attention from the reader. It's easy to glance at l ...more
Aug 30, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
For me this was a five star reading experience. Although he might have preferred a less interesting life, he experienced first-hand some of the momentous events of the 20th century. Perhaps it was the influence of the dialectic, but for much of his life he seemed to be looking for a middle ground (a synthesis?) that perhaps didn't exist. Politically, he aligned himself with Marxism but philosophically he had reservations.

Although eventually defected from Communist Poland, he didn't wax nostalgi
Nov 27, 2007 John rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone. immediately.
I never wanted this book to end. It is a memoir told as social history, written by one of the greatest poets of our time. You get the feeling that Milosz has witnessed everything, that he has absorbed it all, and what he has chosen to tell us has had to pass through the dry flame of his intellect. Considering the time and place that this book comes from (Eastern Europe, World War II) it could be full of melodrama and sentimentality--but it is lacking in either. You get the feeling that Milosz ha ...more
Ruta Buciunaite
Dec 17, 2014 Ruta Buciunaite rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Puiki knyga! Nenuostabu kad XXa. ją rekomendavo perskaityti vakariečiams diplomatams, vykstantiem į Rytų Europos šalis (o gal čia PRas haha). Įdomu, kad Česlovas įpina XX-to amžiaus Europos istorinį kontekstą į savo labai asmeniniškų patirčių pasakojimus (pvz. kaip leidosi Reino upe ir nuskandino kuprinę su dviejų draugų pasais ir pinigais). Puikiai subalansuota.

Akis labiausiai džiaugėsi užkliuvusi už tam tikrų momentų:

APIE FORMOS NEBUVIMĄ kaip neatskiriamą rytų europiečio identiteto dalį esu pa
I got this book when it was first published, but did not finish it. Last spring I picked it up once again, this time in anticipation of an upcoming first visit to the native realm of my paternal grandparents, Lithuania. I found it good preparation for my visit.

Milosz's memoir is a moving, poetical window into the lost world he and my ancestors once inhabited. He well captures the cultural turmoil and political violence that ravaged that region in the first part of the 20th century--in a very pe
Mirjam Laurisaar
As an Eastern-European myself, this book touched me deeply. Czeslaw Milosz describes the destruction of this part of Europe, it's cities, it's people, it's intelligence and moreover - it's dignity. He does not describe so much the events themselves as he does the characters. He thus opens up the Polish-Lithuanian conflict, the Jewish concern, the everlasting confrontation with the big brother from the East, and the pre and war time attitude of Germans towards Poles through the stories and faith ...more
Soobie's heartbroken
WOW!! Sono riuscita a finirlo. Mi faccio pat-pat sulla spalla da sola...

Allora. Come sono arrivata a Czesław Miłosz? Beh, tanti, tanti anni fa frequentai un corso di Storia dei Paesi dell'Europa Orientale all'uni di UD tenuto dal mitico prof. Gianluca Volpi. Tra i libri per l'esame si poteva scegliere tra tre tomi: Danubio, Czesław Miłosz e un altro che non mi sovviene al momento. Andai dal mio librario di fiducia che sa che - sotto sotto - io e i classici non andiamo tanto d'accordo, e gli chie
Jun 28, 2013 Travelin rated it it was amazing
This man is absolutely an old-world intellectual of the highest order. He claims to be mysterious at times, but never enough to defend himself when it comes to that, and his experiences and insights have all the clarity of being fully lived.

As a man he was likely more passive than active in person, a bit proud, a little ridiculous and utterly, even self-destructively dedicated to his art.

It makes little difference, but I wonder in passing if he remained somehow a communist after a decade of work
Gijs Grob
Meer een essayistische verhandeling over hoe het is om in Polen/Litouwen te zijn geboren en te hebben geleefd in de eerste helft van de twintigste eeuw dan een echte autobiografie. De toon is analytisch, de schrijver behandelt veel achtergronden en er is relatief weinig sprake van (uitgebreide) herinneringen.

Milosz' punt is vooral dat Westerlingen zich niet kunnen voorstellen hoe het in Oost-Europa écht is en hij houdt een vurig pleidooi voor de diepte van de Oost-Europese intellectueel. Droog m
Roxana Afrasiloaia
Jan 11, 2016 Roxana Afrasiloaia marked it as to-read
it looks interesting
Feb 15, 2015 Sasha rated it it was amazing
Though laced with politics and philosophy that at times went over my head, this translation read smoothly. An overall interesting account of a man in-tune with his surroundings and armed with a gifted ability to engagingly communicate its impact on himself and others.
Dzimtā Eiropa
Mar 31, 2015 Makomai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorite, reviews
lo trovo uno dei libri piú intelligenti del XX secolo (scusate l'iperbole). Tra Lituania e Polonia Milosz traccia una storia che è allo stesso tempo personalissima ed universale
Feb 06, 2010 Gina rated it it was amazing
Milosz is one of my all-time favorite Polish writers and rarely, if ever, disappoints.
Dec 02, 2009 Tom rated it it was amazing
Interesting bit of auto-biography. There's a reason this guy won the Nobel prize.
Feb 04, 2008 Yvonne rated it liked it
His poetry is beautiful, wonderful, essential. This memoir is not.
Feb 10, 2012 Pawel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engaging journey to our roots as Europeans.
Apr 18, 2007 Catie rated it really liked it
Love, love, love him.
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Did he condemn all Litvaks? 1 3 Apr 23, 2014 11:40AM  
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Czesław Miłosz memorialised his Lithuanian childhood in a 1955 novel, The Issa Valley , and in the 1959 memoir Native Realm . After graduating from Sigismund Augustus Gymnasium in Vilnius, he studied law at Stefan Batory University and in 1931 he travelled to Paris, where he was influenced by his distant cousin Oscar Milosz, a French poet of Lithuanian descent and a Swedenborgian. His first volu ...more
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“The creative act of the artist lifts him above himself by demanding full surrender. No one puts words on paper or paint on canvas, doubting. If one doubts, one does so five minutes later...” 7 likes
“No, non imiterò mai coloro che cancellano le proprie tracce, ripudiano il proprio passato e sono morti, anche se con equilibrismi intellettuali fanno finta di essere vivi. Le mie radici sono laggiù, all’Est, su questo non v’è alcun dubbio. Anche se trovo difficile e spiacevole spiegare chi sono, bisogna pur tentare di farlo.” 1 likes
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