The Captive Mind Social realism

Social realism – can one write well outside that one real stream whose vitality springs from its harmony with historical laws and the dynamics of reality? Rilke’s poems may be very good, but if they are, that means there must have been some reason for them in his day. Contemplative poems, such as his, could never appear in a people’s democracy, not only because it would be difficult to publish them, but because the writer’s impulse to write them would be destroyed at its very root.

KBP
Nobel Prize Czeslaw Milosz (30 June 1911-14 August 2004)

Paris, Janvier 25, 2022

About social-realisme in people’s democracy, contemplative poems…

Contemplative poems, such Rilke’s poems, could never appear in a people’s democracy, not only because it would be difficult to publish them, but because the writer’s impulse to write them would be destroyed at its very root.

“We are not concerned with the question of how one finds the courage to oppose the majority. In­ stead we are concerned with a much more poignant question: can one write well outside that one real stream whose vitality springs from its harmony with historical laws and the dynamics of reality? Rilke’s poems may be very good, but if they are, that means there must have been some reason for them in his day. Contemplative poems, such as his, could never appear in a people’s democracy, not only because it would be difficult to publish them, but because the writer’s impulse to write them would be destroyed at its very root.”

Czesław Miłosz was a Polish-American poet, prose writer, translator, and diplomat. Regarded as one of the great poets of the 20th century, he won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature. In its citation, the Swedish Academy called Miłosz a writer who “voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts”. CM, p 24. The Captive Mind.

The Captive Mind was written soon after the author’s defection from Stalinist Poland in 1951.