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Czesław Miłosz – Polish Samizdat

Four samizdat editions of works by the Polish-American poet, novelist, and Nobel laureate, Czesław Miłosz (1911–2004), produced by various Polish underground publishers in 1980–1981.

1. Miłosz, Czesław. Miłosz. [n.a.]: KMT, [1980]. Octavo (21 × 15 cm). Original staple-stitched printed wrappers; [8] pp. Very good. Includes: Ars Poetica (1968), Moja wierna mowo (1968), Nie więcej (1962), Który skrzywadziłeś (1950). As of April 2022, not in KVK, OCLC.

2. Miłosz, Czesław. Gucio zaczarowany [Gucio Enchanted]. Warsaw: NOWA, [1980]. Octavo (20 × 14.5 cm). Original staple-stitched decorative wrappers; 36 pp. Very good. Originally published in Paris in 1965, with this unofficial edition much less common. As of April 2022, KVK and OCLC show one copy in North America.

3. Miłosz, Czesław. Mowy miane w stockholmie; Był raz; Śmierć Józefa Sadzika; Osobny zeszyt (fragmenty) [Speeches made in Stockholm; There was once…; Death of Józef Sadzik; A separate notebook (fragments)]. Lublin: ack chatką żaka, 1981. Octavo (20.5 × 15 cm). Original staple-stitched printed wrappers; 31, [1] pp. Very good.
A publication of UMCS (Marie Curie University in Lublin) a small University publisher. As of April 2022, KVK and OCLC show no copies in North America.

4. Miłosz, Czesław. Wiersze [Poems]. Szczecin: Komisja Kultury NZS PS, 1981. Octavo (21 × 15 cm). Original decorative wrappers; 41pp. Very good. First collection under this title was clandestinely published in Warsaw in 1940. This later collection includes poems dated 1936–1969. Judging by the introduction, this collection was published on the occasion of Miłosz’s receipt of the Nobel prize in literature. As of April 2022, not in KVK and OCLC.

Four volumes by the Polish-American poet, novelist and Nobel laureate, Czesław Miłosz (1911–2004), produced by various Polish underground publishers in 1980–1981. Officially banned in his native Poland for thirty years 1950–1980, Miłosz’s works were enormously popular in underground publications. The leading independent publisher NOWa began their book publishing activity with a volume of Miłosz’s poetry. NOWa continued to be his primary publisher in Poland until he was awarded the Nobel prize in literature in 1980, at which point official censorship of his works relaxed, with the exception of The Captive Mind, which was directly critical of Soviet-style communism. The volumes in this group were published in this transitional period by a variety of independent publishers in Szczecin, Lublin and Warsaw. The volumes contain poems written by Miłosz in Vilnius where he studied Law in the 1930s, during WWII in Warsaw where he lived under fake papers for most of German occupation, as well as works published in Paris where he sought political asylum in the 1950s. Excerpts from his Nobel speech, his translations of Walt Whitman and Robinson Jeffers, as well as poems written in Berkeley in the 1960s are also included.

The activities of independent publishers like those of most non-governmental organizations in Poland took place in a legal grey zone. Publishers faced harassment and unpredictable short-term arrests but were not persecuted as harshly as similar operations in other Soviet bloc nations. Many of the publishers had open editorial boards, but printers and distributors typically remained anonymous. By the late 1970s, larger publishing operations such as NOWa employed close to 200 workers and were able to compete with state publishers in quality and to attract famous contemporary Polish authors. During the Martial Law announced in Poland in 1980, many of the editors of independent publishing houses were arrested. Despite this crackdown on the opposition, underground publishing ventures continued operations throughout the 1980s, providing an alternative voice to that of the state. The popularity of authors such as Miłosz contributed to the commercial success of the independent publishers which allowed for their continued operation. See Siobahn Doucette, Books Are Weapons: The Polish Oppositional Press, and the Overthrow of Communism, pp.99–100.

Book ID: 51873

Price: $950.00