To Kosciusko

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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To Kosciusko

Postby Cybele » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:13 pm

A thousand years ago, when I first read "To Kosciusko" something rang a bell. Then I remembered that the town where I grew up had a park named Kosciusko Park. I wanted to learn more about the man.

I read what I could, I pumped a Polish friend for information, who not only indulged me but took pictures of some Kosciusko-related sites for me went he traveled to Poland to visit family. (He also tried unsuccessfully to get me to pronounce the Polish hero's name correctly, to the great amusement of onlookers. :lol: But hint: the name is pronounced not at all like the Australian mountain named for the celebrated champion of liberty.)

I was tickled when I heard an NPR interview with the author of a new biography about Thaddeus Kosciuszko (Yes, the spelling is different. The author points out that George Washington never spelled the guy's name the same way twice. :) ) The book is "The Peasant Prince," and it's by Alex Storozynski.

While I'm usually bored by narratives of battles, much preferring hearing more personal stores of what people were thinking at that time, I really enjoyed this book. I found the first part of the book less interesting than the latter parts. (I had no idea about all that was going on in Eastern Europe.) I was most impressed by Kosciusko's tireless efforts to free American slaves and serfs in Russia and Poland. I came away feeling that the man deserves to be far more famous than he is today. I also no longer wonder what it was about this guy who inspired not only Keats, but Hunt and Coleridge as well. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Kosciusko)

Has anyone else read this book? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it.
"The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence."
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Re: To Kosciusko

Postby chris » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:53 pm

i didn't know anything about the real kosciuszko. as an australian, i only knew the name from mt. kosciusko. looking at his wikipedia page, this was a man who did some things in his life to say the least.
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Re: To Kosciusko

Postby Cybele » Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:45 am

chris wrote:i didn't know anything about the real kosciuszko. as an australian, i only knew the name from mt. kosciusko. looking at his wikipedia page, this was a man who did some things in his life to say the least.


Koscuisko was certainly one cool guy!

The poem? It's definitely a minor one and --for Keats -- a bit trite and predictable. And our guy knew this, knew his own potential, knew (I think) that this was an almost academic exercise. "Learning
by Doing."

Says J.K.:
"The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted: thence proceeds mawkishness. . ."

But Koscuisko, the man?
Wow.
"The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence."
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