Angry Apollo and Defiant Marsyas
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This essay explores the relations between Julian Przybos and Tadeusz Rózewicz, two Polish poets who belonged to two different generations. When they first met after World War II, their generational experience could not have been more different. Przybos rejoiced at Poland's regained independence as a result of a military victory in which he had a personal stake (he had joined the ranks as a volunteer). Meanwhile Rózewicz was shattered by the horrors of the war. He, too, served as a volunteer in the partisan formations of the Home Army, but his view of the war, articulated in his work, is marked by a radical disillusionment. The war, he believes, destroys all ethical and aesthetic values. Przybos took the younger poet, who had just made his debut, under his wing, but his genuine admiration for Rózewicz''s poems in the volume 'Anxiety' (1947) slowly turned sour. His dislike found vent in harsh critique and eventually scurrilous lampoons, of which the most remarkable was 'The Ode to the Turpists' published in 1962. Rózewicz's obsessive displays of ugliness, his lack of faith in poetic excellence, and his proclamations of 'the death of poetry' proved too much for the elder poet. Their parting was final.
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