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Why The Classics Summary
Zbigniew Herbert

Everything you need to understand or teach Why The Classics by Zbigniew Herbert.

  • Why The Classics Summary & Study Guide

Why The Classics Summary


"Why the Classics" appeared in Zbigniew Herbert's first English translation of his poetry, Selected Poems, published in 1968. As is often the case with poetry, it is not clear exactly when the poem was written, only when it was finally published. Herbert began writing as a teenager, but he was 44 years old when Selected Poems was published; therefore, this poem might have been written at any point during those years. The primary themes of the poem—honor, responsibility, artistic authority, and experiences of the exile—are topical to the post World War II era but might also echo some of the realities of life in an oppressive communist state. Accordingly, this poem reflects many of the concerns that Herbert felt about society, especially a society in which his own culture had been destroyed by invading armies. Herbert has often used classical references and ideals in his work. His reliance upon...

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Why The Classics Study Guide

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