First Edition of Wislawa Szymborska's Nonrequired Reading; Signed by Her
Nonrequired Reading: Prose Pieces.
Item Number: 60096
New York: Harcourt , 2002.
First edition of this retrospective collection of essays by the Nobel Prize-winning author. Octavo, original half cloth. Signed by Wislawa Szymborska on the title page. Fine in a fine dust jacket. Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh. Jacket design by Vaughn Andrews.
"Unknown to most Americans until she won the 1996 Nobel Prize in literature, Polish writer Szymborska is primarily a poet. This collection of short prose pieces features book reviews she wrote while working as a columnist. Addressing a wide range of subjects, from the ancient Romans to the modern-day handyman, the reviews reflect her eclectic tastes and poetic sensibility. Unafraid to take an unpopular position, she, as a smoker, complains about the American penchant for demonizing anyone who cannot break the habit. In another piece, she reviews a book on early medical practices, pointing out that Louis XIV must have had an unusually resilient constitution to withstand the 2000 enemas and numerous bloodlettings to which he was subjected. On a weightier note, she tackles the question of why some civilizations succeed while others do not, given that humanity started out more or less the same. The skillful simplicity and lyric quality of these essays make them distinctive. With her poet's gift for compression, Szymborska captures large concepts and brilliantly reduces them to pithy, two-page essays" (Nancy R. Ives).