Polish poet and essayist Zbigniew Herbert easily stands beside Nobel Prize laureates Milosz and Szymborska as part of a remarkable literary tradition. Though Herbert is very much an Eastern European writer, the urgency, vitality, and relevance of his work extend far beyond the borders of his particular region and his particular time. His fascination with other subjectsfrom painting to all things Dutchenriched the scope and depth of his poetry, and made for compelling explorations in his essays and short prose pieces.
The first collected English edition of his prose work, this outstanding volume consists of four booksLabryinth on the Sea, Still Life with a Bridle, King of the Ants, and Barbarian in the Garden. Brilliant and erudite, dazzling and witty, these essays survey the geography of humanity, its achievements and its foibles. From Western civilization's past, as witnessed through the Greek and Roman landscape, to musings on the artistic that celebrate the author's discriminating eye, poetic sensibility, and gift for irony, humor, and the absurd; from a sage retelling of myths and tales that became twentieth-century philosophical parables of human behavior to thoughts on art, culture, and history inspired by journeys in France, Italy, and the Netherlands, Collected Prose is a rich compendium that celebrates the mastery and wisdom of a remarkable artist.
About the Author
Zbigniew Herbert was born in Lwow, Poland, in 1924. In his late teens he fought in the under-ground resistance against the Nazis. Herbert studied law, economics, and philosophy at the universities of Krakow, Torun, and Warsaw. His books include Selected Poems, Report from the Besieged City and Other Poems, Mr Cogito, Still Life with a Bridle, The King of the Ants, Labyrinth on the Sea, and Collected Poems. He died in 1998.
Alissa Valles is the author of "Orphan Fire" and the editor and cotranslator of Zbigniew Herbert's "Collected Poems: 1956-1998" and "Collected Prose: 1948-1998".
“In a just world Mr. Herbert would have received the Nobel Prize long ago.”
-Stephen Dobyns, The New York Times Book Review
“Zbigniew Herbert is a poet for this place; above all, for this time.”