Ryszard Kapuściński

Ryszard Kapuściński (March 4, 1932 – January 23, 2007) was a Polish journalist, photographer, poet and author. He received many awards and was considered a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Kapuściński’s personal journals in book form attracted both controversy and admiration for blurring the conventions of reportage with the allegory and magical realism of literature. He was at the Communist-Polish Press Agency  only correspondent in Africa during decolonization, and also worked in South America and Asia. Between 1956 and 1981 he reported on 27 revolutions and coups, until he was fired because of his support for the pro-democracy Solidarity movement in his native country.

„He approached foreign countries first through literature, spending months reading before each trip.“

Notable works include Cesarz, about the downfall of Ethiopian ruler Haile Selassie, also considered to be a satire of Communist Poland; Wojna futbolowa an account of the 1969 conflict between Honduras and El Salvador; Szachinszach about the downfall of the last Shah of Persia, Imperium about his personal relationship with the Soviet Union and Heban the story of his years in Africa.

From the early 1960s onwards, Kapuściński published books of increasing literary craftsmanship characterized by sophisticated narrative technique, psychological portraits of characters, a wealth of stylization and ,metaphor and unusual imagery that serves as means of interpreting the perceived world. Kapuściński’s best-known book, The Emperor, concerns itself with the decline of Haile Selassie´s anachronistic regime in Ethiopia.

Kapuściński was fascinated by the humanity he found in different worlds and people, as well as the books of these worlds and people: he approached foreign countries first through literature, spending months reading before each trip. He was skilled in listening to the diverse people he met, but he was also capable of „reading“ the hidden sense of the scenes he encountered: the way the Europeans moved out of Angola, a discussion regarding alimony in the Tanganyikan  Parlament.

This tendency to process private experiences into a greater social synthesis made Kapuściński an eminent thinker, and the volumes of the ongoing Lapidarium  series are a record of the shaping of a reporter’s observations into philosophical reflections on the world, its people and their suffering. He had great compassion for the poor, the victimised, and the debased.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryszard_Kapu%C5%9Bci%C5%84ski

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