Нобелистът Милош и „несполучливият кандидат“Конрад в огледалото на подобията
Нобеловата награда за литература – мост между културите, Ред. М. Григорова, Велико Търново: Ивис, 2013, 151-163, ISBN 978-954-2968-48-1 COBISS.BG-ID 1263599844
Captain Nemo’s Polish Identity:
Miłosz, Conrad, the Nobel Prize and Questions of Identity
In his essay “On Peregrinations in Time” Czesław Miłosz argues that Nemo is the most favourably treated figure of a Polish intellectual in world literature. His observation reflects the fact that initially Captain Nemo’s nationality was Polish, but Jules Verne changed it for political reasons. Miłosz believes that the protagonist nevertheless retained his Polish identity and is closest in his characterological traits to Joseph Conrad. The Polish Nobel Prize winner transforms Captain Nemo’s figure into a metaphor for the Polish émigré, his destiny, outlook and actions.
This article takes the above metaphor as a point of departure and explores the relationships between personality, identity and migration in Miłosz’s and Conrad’s autobiographical works, casting reflections on the implications of the Nobel Prize, which both writers awaited but only Miłosz received. Both of them were born in Polish borderline regions of historical significance (areas that are in present-day Ukraine and Lithuania) in the fairly obscure Eastern Europe that Miłosz attempted to make visible to the world. The prize came as one of the many opportunities for Miłosz to legitimize his self-quest and provide an answer to the question “Who am I?”.
Czesław Miłosz, Joseph Conrad, Jules Verne, Captain Nemo, metaphor, Polish identity, borderline regions, the Nobel Prize in Literature