The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedCzeslaw Milosz
Title QuotedSeizure of Power
Date (Year/Month/Day)1959/05/21
Imprint[S.l.] : [s.n.]. 1955
QuotationNow about your own books. I suppose it is not strange that your younger earthy and cosmic self should be so sharply divided from the later political self. Sur les bords de l'Issa is admirably alive, rich in all kinds of archetypal material, with a deep vegetative substratum that gives it a great fertility of meanings. Your lyrical poem falls into the same category "¦ this element in your being is very essential to you "¦ you will not produce your greatest work without it. Its absence from The Seizure of Power is one of the things that makes the latter simply a routine job. Of course it is hard to see how ancient pagan naturalistic remnants from archaic Lithuanian peasant culture could be fitted into the tragic story of Warsaw. The fact is that The Seizure of Power, though very impressive in patches, did not seem to [hold] together well. You do not seem sure of yourself in it and your statement that you do not like the novel as a literary form by no means surprises me. Yet I think perhaps one day you may go over the same material and write a great novel. I think The Seizure of Power suffers from a lack of perspective, and from a natural inability to assimilate all the awful elements that had to go into it. One day when you have come to see it all in a unified way, it may turn out quite differently.
Quotation SourceThe Courage for Truth: Letters of Thomas Merton to Writers.; Selected and edited by Christine M. Bochen. / New York : Farrar Straus Giroux. 1993, p. 59
Letter toCzeslaw Milosz
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