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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 11Focusing on Aspects and Experiences of Religion$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774051

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774051.001.0001

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Tomas Venclova Aleksander Wat: Life and Art of an Iconoclast

Tomas Venclova Aleksander Wat: Life and Art of an Iconoclast

(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996); pp. 369

Tomas Venclova Aleksander Wat: Life and Art of an Iconoclast
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 11

Gwido Zlatkes

Liverpool University Press

This chapter describes Tomas Venclova's Aleksander Wat: Life and Art of an Iconoclast. Aleksander Wat was much more than a prominent Polish poet of Jewish origin; he was a paradigmatic twentieth-century intellectual who claimed an illustrious cultural lineage that included King David, Rashi, and Isaac Luria. A ‘born futurist’, he was also a communist fellow traveller in inter-war Poland, one who later became a Soviet prisoner, and on his return to Poland was an open anti-communist. Both his background and experiences placed him at the centre of major artistic currents and historical trends. Thus, in his writings one can find a reflection of virtually everything important that occurred in Europe between 1914 and his death in 1967 and even after.

Keywords:   Tomas Venclova, Aleksander Wat, Polish poet, Jewish poet, communist, Poland, Soviet prisoner, anti-communist

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