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CREES Noon Lecture. Someone Else’s Problems: The Dissident Author Post-Dissidence

Benjamin Paloff, associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures and of comparative literature, U-M
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
12:00-1:20 PM
Off Campus Location
Postwar literature in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly as it has been framed in Western Europe and North America, has been shaped by strong personalities whose exile from their respective homelands helped enshroud their critiques of authoritarianism in so-called “moral authority.” But in quitting the Soviet Union, Poland, or Czechoslovakia for new lives in countries like the United States and France, these writers often found themselves in the midst of sociopolitical upheavals whose terms they scarcely understood and to whose contexts their own struggles offered no clear analogy. This talk reevaluates the Western careers of four of the most prominent authors to whom such “moral authority” has been generally ascribed—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Joseph Brodsky, Czesław Miłosz, and Milan Kundera—against the backdrop of the struggle for civil rights and racial justice in their adopted countries.

Benjamin Paloff is the author of Lost in the Shadow of the Word (Space, Time, and Freedom in Interwar Eastern Europe)—named the 2018 Best Book in Literary Studies by AATSEEL—and of the poetry collections And His Orchestra (2015) and The Politics (2011). He has translated nearly a dozen books, most recently Dorota Masłowska’s Honey, I Killed the Cats, and has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (twice, in poetry and in translation), the US Fulbright Programs, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the PEN/Heim Translation Fund, among others. He is associate professor of Slavic languages and literatures and of comparative literature at the University of Michigan, where he also serves as acting director of the Copernicus Center for Polish Studies.

Registration is required for this Zoom webinar at

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Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: European, International, Literature, Poetry, Writing
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, International Institute, Copernicus Center for Polish Studies, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia