Stanislaw Lem: Selected Letters to Michael Kandel

BookStanislaw Lem: Selected Letters to Michael Kandel

Stanislaw Lem: Selected Letters to Michael Kandel

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 46

2014

July 31st, 2014

£80.00

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Stanislaw Lem died on 26 March, 2006 but in this book his voice can be heard afresh for the benefit of all those who believe that, with his passing, a quintessential element of twentieth-century artistic and intellectual heritage has come to an end. Peter Swirski’s edited and annotated translation of Lem’s fifteen-year correspondence with his principal American translator offers an unparalleled testimony to the raw intellectual powers, smouldering literary passions, and abiding personal concerns from the central period of the writer’s life and career. Even as they reposition Lem as a consummate litterateur and an intellectual oracle, the letters reveal tantalizing glimpses of the man behind the giant. Fighting depression, at times hitting the bottle, plagued by ill health, obsessed by his legacy, driven to distraction by lack of appreciation in the United States, Lem the arch-rationalist emerges here at his most human, vulnerable, and... likeable.

Reviews

'Utterly absorbing, absolutely first-rate Lem and first-rate Swirski.'
Nicholas Ruddick

'Lem emerges from Peter Swirski’s mastery of his subject in both the stunning breadth of his genius and a humanity forged by the nightmare of modern Polish history.'
Ken Krabbenhoft, New York University

In those moments when Lem pauses and steps away from his career as author and critic, he reveals himself as a man continually haunted by the Holocaust, as an irascible elder aware of his foibles, and an imaginative philosophe.
SFRA Review

'An absolute delight ... Swirski’s translation reads lucidly, and follows Lem’s own stylistic quirks ... the letters offer a needed glimpse into Lem’s own artistic self-presentation as he sought to negotiate how he was read outside of Poland.'
Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction

'Utterly absorbing… absolutely first-rate Lem and first-rate Swirski.'
Nicholas Ruddick, author of Fire in the Stone: Parehistoric Fiction from Charles Darwin to Jean M. Auel

'Lem emerges from Peter Swirski’s mastery of his subject in both the stunning breadth of his genius and a humanity forged by the nightmare of modern Polish history. Swirski’s writing is graceful, engaging, and unmarred by jargon or pretense.'
Ken Krabbenhoft, New York University

'The world’s leading Lem critic Peter Swirski competes with Lem in erudition and style—and the winner is the reader.'
Bo Pettersson, University of Helsinki

'Short, dense, valuable.'
SFRA

'I recommend this volume highly to anyone wishing to follow the complex workings of a profound thinker's mind and to sample his ironic perspective on society, literature, politics, and the foreseeable future.'
Slavic and East European Journal

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Author Information

Stanislaw Lem was the internationally acclaimed author of many books, and has been cited as the most widely read science fiction writer in the world. Peter Swirski is Professor of American Literature and American Studies at the University of Bahrain and Honorary Professor in China.