Someone will read as moralthat the people of Rome or Warsawhaggle, laugh, make loveas they pass by the martyrs’ pyres.Someone else will readof the passing of things human,of the oblivionborn before the flames have died. (from “Campo dei Fiori“)
His biographer notes his depression, even at least one moment of despair.
Half a deadpan paragraph treats as more or less normal the moment when Miłosz swallowed a quantity of vodka, loaded a revolver with a single bullet, and played Russian roulette. Graham Greene, a not-so-dissimilar character, also gave way to this particular form of nihilism—or is it vanity? . . .
The Sovietization of Poland was bound to be fraught with moral choices that would lead either to reward or to punishment, possibly a concentration camp and death. . . . Once he was in the West, Miłosz himself was to observe, “All I wanted was to get out, and see what would happen next,” accepting that this amounted to making “a pact with the devil.”