Nihilism and a poem by Milosz


Milosz writes from the abyss of the human self, confronting the voice of nihilism that calls into question ‘the calling of men.’ The phrase is double: the meaning of the human being AND the expressions of ‘men’ in light of the mystery of being.

Thinking in the between honors the differences; nihilism is a form of reductive rationalism. The poem as an expression of the between remains true to the question in its plurivocity. For Milosz the metaxical style expresses the central mystery of apophatic theism. ‘For Christ’s sake’ reorients the reader in the abyss of the question towards the religious horizon without crossing the line into idolatrous certainties. Finitude circumscribes faith.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

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