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Native Realm: A Search for Self-Definition

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  199 ratings  ·  18 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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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
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
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
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 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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
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
Milosz is one of my all-time favorite Polish writers and rarely, if ever, disappoints.
Interesting bit of auto-biography. There's a reason this guy won the Nobel prize.
His poetry is beautiful, wonderful, essential. This memoir is not.
An engaging journey to our roots as Europeans.
Love, love, love him.
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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...” 6 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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