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Alexander Wat

My Century

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Acantilado

October 2009

1072 pages

Biographies and memoirs

Original Title: Mi siglo

Occasionally, a life story is also the story of an epoch. After playing an important role as a Communist under the authoritarian regime of Pilsudski, fighting in the Second World War and getting to know, first-hand, the jails and gulags of the Soviet Union, Aleksander Wat managed to return to his native Poland in 1947, emigrating to France in 1958, when he was already seriously ill, as well as smothered by the stifling and oppressive atmosphere of lack of freedom. However, his illness prevented him from writing. It was Czesław Miłosz, who knew his story intimately, who suggested to him the idea of taking part in a series of interviews which would then be transcribed in order to make up a book of memoirs that would be fundamental for an understanding of the 20th century. My Century, which finally saw the light of day in London in 1977, nearly ten years after Wat’s death, caused a sensation in the Poland of the time, where that clandestine work was passed from hand to hand. Wat’s story, which demands to be read as a spiritual autobiography, is, in the words of Adam Zagajewski, the author of the prologue to this edition, “an unusual poetical and philosophical treatise.” As such, it is absolutely atemporal and indispensable.

Praises

«A prodigious personal story. A fresh monument to such a convulsive epoch».
Lluís Foix, La Vanguardia

«An enlightening account of intellectual life and Communist militancy in Poland before 1939, as well as a witness to lucid and anguished personal survival in a world whose reconstruction is exciting to read».
Antonio Elorza, El País

«A splendid book. Marvellous Aleksander Wat!».
Hermann Terstch, ABC

«A monumental and magnificent great classic».
Mercedes Monmany, ABC

Details

Acantilado

October 2009

1 pages

Biographies and memoirs