A translator, literary critic and historian, and essayist, born in Warsaw in 1929, died in 2004. Kubiak is the author of excellent essays on Old Polish and English Romantic praise, but is known best for his studies of the classical tradition, both pagan and Christian.
Declaring himself to be half-pagan and half-Christian, he wrote both about St. Augustine and about Homer, Aristotle and Virgil. One of the leading Polish experts on literary antiquity, he could combine the Christian and pagan perspectives. He always chooses perspective of cultural continuity that emphasizes the present relevance of works written centuries ago. He shows the links between Polish culture and antiquity, demonstrating how, in the symbolic dimension, Poland lies on the Mediterranean Sea, "within the realm of the eternal works". The crown of many years of work is the monumental, recently completed Mythology of the Greeks and Romans, a new Polish attempt at an approach to the mythic material. Reading the myths through the experience of a late-twentieth-century inhabitant of Central Europe, Kubiak consciously juxtaposes the classical heritage with the present. He presents myth in its most profound dimension, as "history that never happened, and yet is happening always," as a record of universal human experience. From the pages of his works, ancient literature offers us a lesson in clarity of vision, in perceiving without illusion the bitterness and pain of human existence. Kubiak has won the Kościelski (1963), Jurzykowski (1980) and Polish PEN Club (1990) Prizes.
Source: www.polska2000.pl; copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza.
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