Considered a “Christian Socrates” by one critic and a “hieroglyph stylist” by another, Cyprian Norwid was more unanimously recognized, however, as one of the most vital figures in Polish letters whose verse is as idiosyncratic as it is profound. Traveling against the currents of the philosophy of his day, Norwid was a historicist with deep insight into the codes and ripples in the society around him. This engaging collection, selected and translated by Danuta Borchardt, includes many of Norwids revered poems, including Vade-mecum. True to its Latin summons, “go with me”, the epic poem invites the reader to accompany Norwid on a journey though many lands and timeless question, seeking truth. We witness Norwid decrying the tight-fisted city folk of London, befriending Frédéric Chopin – whom he meets during his travels, and lamenting the death of a friend. Lyrical, moving and often biting, this collection gives an evocative glimpse into the world of an extraordinary poet.
One of Europe's greatest poets and thinkers. We are all deeply indebted to him. . . . Norwid left an opus from which shines the light that lets us more deeply penetrate the truth of our being as human persons. . . . He insistently reminds us that without heroism humanity ceases to be itself. Cyprian Norwid was the man of hope.
— Pope John Paul II
One of the greatest world poets of the nineteenth century.
— Roman Jakobson
Poignant. . . . flows onto the page with a melodic rush, conveyed in Borchardt’s nuanced rhymes and assonances. . . . Off the page leaps surprise after surprise.
— The Arts Fuse
Danuta Borchardt's new translations of selected works by late-Romantic poet Cyprian Norwid (1821-1883) make a welcome addition to the library of Polish classics in English...Her translations of "Chopin's Grand Piano," "Obscurity" and "Larva" are particularly fine, rendering Norwid's distinctive mix of pathos, historicism and irony with sensitive precision...the clarity and semantic faithfulness of Borchardt's translations offer a significant new contribution to the image of Norwid's work available to the English-language reader.
— Stanley Bill, Slavic and East European Journal