Czeslaw Milosz is born on June 30 in Szetejnie (or Seteiniai, in Kedainiai
District, Lithuania), to Weronika nee Kunat and Aleksander Milosz, a highway
Aleksander Milosz is drafted into the Tzar's army after the outbreak of
World War I. As a combat engineer officer, he builds bridges and fortifications
in front-line areas. His wife and son accompany him in his constant travels
about Russia. The Milosz family returns to Lithuania in 1918.
Czeslaw Milosz enters the Zygmunt August High School in Wilno (Vilnius
[Lituanian], Vilna [Russian]).
After graduation, Milosz matriculates in the law department of Stefan
Batory University in Wilno; he is active in the Polish Studies Literary
Milosz publishes his first poems in "Alma Mater Vilnensis",
a university periodical.
Milosz becomes a co-founder and member of the literary group Zagary. He
is also active in the Vagabonds Club and participates in summer travels
to Western Europe with other students. This is his first time in Paris,
where he meets his cousin Oskar Milosz, the French poet.
The Polish Studies Club of Stefan Batory University publishes "Poem
on Frozen Time", Milosz's first volume of poetry. With Zbigniew Folejewski,
he co-edits "Anthology of Social Poetry", also published in
Milosz receives his Master of Law degree. The Union of Polish Writers
gives his poetry the first Philomath Literary Award in Wilno. A grant
from the National Cultural Fund allows him to spend a year in France,
for which he leaves in the fall.
In Paris, Milosz studies at the Alliance Francaise and audits lectures
on Thomism at L'Institut Catholique. Among other poems, he writes "Hymn"
and "Gates of the Arsenal."
After returning from France, Milosz begins work as a literary programmer
at Polish Radio in Wilno. The Union of Polish Writers helps him to publish
his second volume of poetry, "Three Winters".
After being dismissed from Radio Wilno for his leftist views, Milosz travels
to Italy. On his return he takes a job in the planning office of Polish
Radio in Warsaw. He publishes poems and articles in literary periodicals.
Oskar Milosz's translation of "A Song" ("Un Chant")
appears in the French journal "Cahiers du Sud", the first trans-
lation of a poem by Czeslaw Milosz. His short story "Reckoning"
wins a prize in a competition sponsored by the journal "Pion".
Milosz escapes from Soviet-occupied Wilno to Nazi-occupied Warsaw, where
he joins the socialist resistance. In Warsaw he publishes a volume of
poetry, "Poems," in mimeograph form under the pen name of Jan
He is given a job as a janitor at the Warsaw University Library.
Milosz's anthology of anti-Nazi poetry, "The Invincible Song",
and his translation of Jacques Maritain's pro- de Gaulle "A travers
le desastre" are published by underground presses in occupied Warsaw.
He writes "The World: A Naive Poem"(Rescuing Poetry, Triumphal
Poems) and the cycle "The Voices of Poor People" (Rescuing Poetry,
Triumphal Poems), and translates Shakespeare's "As You Like It"
on commission from the Underground Theatre Council. He also takes part
in clandestine poetry readings.
After the destruction of Warsaw, he spends a few months in Goszyce, near
Cracow, in the family home of his friend Jerzy Turowicz. He writes a number
of poems there.
Milosz moves to Cracow. He publishes poems and articles in the literary
press ("Tworczosc"). The state publishing house "Czytelnik"
brings out his collected poems in a volume entitled "Rescue"(Rescuing
Poetry, Campo Di Fiori, Triumphal Poems) (it consists of two cycles which
was written during The II World War in 1943). He leaves for the United
States in December to assume a diplomatic post.
Milosz works in the Polish consulate in New York. His poems of this period
include "Child of Europe."
Milosz is transferred to Washington as a cultural attache. He writes "Treatise
on Morals", published the following year in the journal "Tworczosc".
He is a correspondent for the literary press in Poland and translates
poetry into Polish.
Milosz makes a brief trip to Poland in the summer. He is shocked at the
full dimension of the system's totalitarianism.
Milosz is transferred to the post of first secretary of the Polish embassy
in Paris. He travels to Warsaw at the end of the year, and his passport
is taken away.
The passport is returned. Milosz goes back to Paris, where on February
1 he asks the French government for political asylum. He moves to Maisons-Laffitte
and publishes his first article as an emigre'. Entitled "No,"
it appears in the May issue of "Kultura". He begins work on
"The Captive Mind".
"The Captive Mind" is Milosz's first book published by the Polish-language
Instytut Literacki in Paris. There are concurrent translations in English
and French. His novel "The Seizure of Power" ("La Prise
du pouvoir") is awarded the Swiss book guilds' prize, the Prix Litteraire
Europeen. The Instytut Literacki publishes "The Daylight", Milosz's
first volume of poetry as an emigre.
Instytut Literacki publishes "The Seizure of Power"; Milosz's
second novel, "The Issa Valley", and his translation of Jeanne
Hersch's philosophical essays "Politics and Reality".
Instytut Literacki publishes "A Treatise on Poetry" in book
form. Milosz is awarded "Kultura"'s annual literary prize.
Milosz publishes his autobiography "Native Realm", a volume
of his essays and his translations of poetry, "Continents",
and his translation of Simone Weil's "Selected Writings". He
receives the award of the Union of Polish Emigre' Writers.
Milosz publishes "Family Europe" ("Rodzinna Europa")
Milosz moves to the United States to assume the position of lecturer in
the department of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of
California at Berkeley. Soon thereafter he accepts a professorship and
for the next twenty years combines his writing with teaching at the universitv.
Milosz publishes "King Popiel and Other Poems" (Ars Poetica,
Milosz - the Moralist) and his study of Stanislaw Brzozowski, "Man
Among Scorpions" (Instytut Literacki).
His seventh volume of poetry, "Bobo's Metamorphosis", is published
by Instytut Literacki. He also publishes poems he has selected and translated
into English, "Post-War Polish Poetry: An Anthology".
Oficyna Poet6w i Malarzy ("The Poets' and Painters' Press) in London
publishes an extensive selection of Milosz's poems in a volume entitled
"Poems". He receives the Marian Kister Literary Award in New
"Native Realm: A Search for Self-Definition" is published in
the United States. Milosz receives the Jurzykowski Award.
His next volume of poetry, "City Without a Name" (Avantgarde
& Classicism, Ars Poetica, About Emigration), and a collection of
essays, "Visions from San Francisco Bay", are published in Polish
by Instytut Literacki. His textbook, "The History of Polish Literature",
is published in the United States.
Instytut Literacki publishes "Private Obligations", a collection
of literary essays.
The Seabury Press in New York publishes the first volume of Milosz's poetry
in English, "Selected Poems", reis- sued in a revised version
by The Ecco Press in 1982.
Milosz publishes the volume of poetry "From the Rising of the Sun"
(Ars Poetica, Milosz - the Moralist) (Instytut Literacki). The Polish
P.E.N. Club awards him its prize for his translations of Polish poetry
Milosz receives a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue work on his own poetry
and his translations.
The University of Michigan Slavic Publications publishes an extensive
selection of his poems in Polish under the title: "Utwory poetyckie:
Poems". The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor confers an honorary
doctorate on Milosz. Instytut Literacki publishes "The Land of Ulro".
A collection of essays entitled "The Emperor of the Earth: Modes
of Eccentric Vision" and Milosz's English translation of Aleksander
Wat's "Mediterranean Poems" are published in the United States.
My Century, Wat's memoirs as taped in conversation with Milosz, is published
Milosz receives the Neustadt International Literary Prize, presented under
the auspices of Oklahoma State University. For his literary and academic
merits, the University of California presents Milosz with the Berkeley
Citation. The second volume of his poetry in English translation, "Bells
in Winter", is published in the United States.
Editions du Dialogue in Paris publishes Milosz's translation of the Book
of Psalms from Hebrew to Polish, for which he receives the Zygmunt Hertz
Award. "The Garden of Knowledge", a collection of essays and
translations of foreign poetry into Polish, is published by Instytut Literacki.
Editions du Dialogue publishes Milosz's translation from Hebrew to Polish
of the "Book of Job". Milosz is awarded the Nobel Prize. Books
of his poetry are published in Poland for the first time since 1945. lnstytut
Literacki begins publishing a multivolume edition of "Milosz's Collected
On June Milosz visits Poland for the first time in thirty years. He receives
an honorary doctorate from Lublin Catholic University; he meets with Lech
Walesa and other Solidarity leaders in Gdansk. An exhibit devoted to his
life and work opens at the Literary Museum in Warsaw. A bilingual, Polish-English
edition of the Nobel lecture Milosz delivers to the Swedish Academy in
December 1980 is published. Milosz holds the Eliot Norton chair at Harvard
and gives six public lectures on poetry. He is awarded an honorary doctorate
by New York University.
Instytut Literacki publishes his tenth volume of poetry, "Hymn to
a Pearl". Editions du Dialogue publishes his translation of "The
Books of Five Megiloth" (that is, Lamentations, Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes,
and Song of Songs).
Milosz receives an honorary doctorate from Brandeis University. His lectures
at Harvard appear under the title "The Witness of Poetry".
A new volume of translated poems, "The Separate Notebooks",
is published in a bilingual, Polish-English edi- tion. "Unattainable
Earth" is published in Polish by Instytut Literacki. Editions du
Dialogue publishes his translations, from the Greek, of the Gospel According
to Mark and the Apocalypse.
"Starting with My Streets", a new volume of essays, is published
in Polish by Instytut Literacki.
"Unattainable Earth" is published in English.
Milosz writes the next volume of poems "Chronicles"
Milosz writes the new volume of poems "Provinces"
Features of his literary output -turn towards the receiver, not the sender;
the receiver who is of wide reading, who thinks; -intellectualisatin of
views, disgrace of feelings, philosophication of poetry -tending to clearness-he
does not want to amaze by the concept -periphrasis and metaphor - the
most often used means -deseriptive style -topics Anemes are detained
from art and life -he leads constant dialogue with culture