Astonishment Essay

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Kukathas is a freelance writer and editor. In this essay, Kukathas suggests that Szymborska's poem has a deeper political message than is immediately apparent.

One of the reasons the world was so surprised by the announcement in 1996 that Szymborska had won the Nobel Prize for literature was that her work is so apolitical. Not that all prize winners in the past have focused on political issues in their writing, but certainly in the latter part of the twentieth century, eastern European writers with international reputations have shown a particularly political bent in their work. The Polish writer before Szymborska to win the prize, and the person most responsible for the visibility of modern Polish poetry, for example, is the poet Czeslaw Milosz, who made his name in the West in the 1950s with his critique of totalitarianism, The Captive Mind. In that work, Milosz observes that:

In Central...

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This section contains 1,782 words
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