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The critical reception of Czesław Miłosz and Josif Brodsky in English-speaking countries Karwowska, Bozena M.


The study describes and analyses the process of critical reception of Czeslaw Milosz and Joseph Brodsky in English-speaking countries. The approach of the first five chapters, while theoretically informed, is primarily narrative and descriptive. The first two chapters present the reception processes in their chronological development, focusing on the evolution of critical interest, categories of description and contextual factors and show that the reception of the two poets has been substantial and of considerable intrinsic interest. While contextual elements played a crucial role in the early stages of the reception, the text gradually became the main focus of critical interest. This development was, however, complicated by the problem of translation described in the fourth chapter. The study also shows that using a variety of techniques, examined in the third chapter, Milosz and Brodsky influenced the reception of their works. Outlined in the fifth chapter growing interest in the East European poetry, and connected with it descriptive formulas based on the experience of the poet, provided a significant literary context for the reception of Milosz and Brodsky and allowed to examine the rising interest in the text of their literary works. The analytical part examines the mediating role of translators and critics, treating them as an interpretive community. The analysis shows that the aesthetic response to literary works was based for years on the contexts. However, in the later stages artistic features of the text came more frequently to the critical attention and the literary text began to play a controlling role over the critical descriptions. Finally, in the conclusion, Fish’s concept of interpretive community and Jauss’s concept of horizon of expectations, the notions of the reader-response and reception theories used in the course of the study, are examined from the point of view of their heuristic value for the description and analysis of the actual process of reception. The conclusion also outlines some indication of combining them with the notions of aesthetics object (Mukarovsky), common memory (Lotman), semiotics of culture (Lotman and Uspensky) and Tomashevsky’ s view of the role of “the legend of the author”.

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