By Czeslaw Milosz

This stimulating selection of essays, as a rule curious about topics taken from Slavic literatures, is instantaneously scholarly and reflective. the quantity opens with a real tale, "Brognart," that's a confession of the author's regret in keeping with clash with French intellectuals. "Science Fiction and the arrival of the Antichrist" matters Vladimir Solovyov. "Krasinski's Retreat" is one other go back to the author's pupil readings, which makes an attempt to figure out how a Polish romantic poet may possibly write in 1833 a drama at the impending international revolution. "Joseph Conrad's Father" sketches the biography of a poet and progressive and likewise throws a few mild upon the destiny of the hero of the final bankruptcy.

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Additional resources for Emperor of the Earth: Modes of Eccentric Vision

Example text

He didn't, moreover, even understand the language in which he was being spoken to. If they showed him on their fingers how many he got, eight, he didn't get the sense of it right away: that they meant eight years. And if he despaired then here, too, he was wrong. Whether five or eight, it was all the same since the goal was to maintain the same number of working hands in the concentration camps as the weaker prisoners died out. He was transported to one such camp near Archangelsk. This descendant of generations of thrifty and industrious peasants was resistant.

They are still divided into Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox, but mutual hostility and distrust have disappeared. The non-Christian majority also devotes itself to fervent religious quests. It is an age of syncretism, a blending of beliefs from the West and the East, of neo-Bud-dhism and Satanic sects. It is now that the Antichrist appears. In creating this character, Solovyov drew both upon the New Testament and the copious Christian writings stemming from it, as well as upon his own meditations about his contemporaries.

There is something of the chronicler in him—he is preoccupied with facts and the sequence of events—and that compulsion brings his fantasies close to the models of classical narration. Science fiction is particularly useful for assessing the scope of the human imagination. For that purpose it is enough to take any story from a few decades back—for instance something by H. G. Wells or Aldous Huxley—concerning either new machines or the presumable forms of a future technological civilization, and to compare it with what we know today.

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