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Introduction & Overview of Self-Portrait

This Study Guide consists of approximately 14 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Self-Portrait.
This section contains 222 words
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Self-Portrait Summary & Study Guide Description

Self-Portrait Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains For Further Reading on Self-Portrait by Adam Zagajewski.

Adam Zagajewski came to prominence in his native Poland during the 1960s as his country was suffering under the oppression of the Communist-controlled government. He and other Polish poets spoke out against the totalitarian system through their work, which was eventually censored, forcing many of them to emigrate to the West. As he and other Polish artists worked at a distance to free their country from political oppression, Zagajewski declared that art should focus on social realities rather than lyrical abstractions. Poetry then would be an informative vehicle that could engender change. After Zagajewski immigrated to the West in the late 1970s, however, his artistic attitudes shifted. He no longer believed that poetry should be subordinated to a political agenda and argued that it should instead reflect the individuality of the poet. The finely crafted poem “Self-Portrait,” which appears in Mysticism for Beginners (1997), reveals the poet's shift in aesthetics in its focus on artistic expression at odds with historical experience. One of the most personal poems in the 1997 collection, “Self-Portrait” shows the difficulties inherent in the struggle to find a clear sense of individuality separate from the external world of experience. As he details the objects in his world and his response to them, the speaker presents a moving portrait of loss and a stubborn insistence on his own distinct voice.

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This section contains 222 words
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