Spår av autism i Czeslaw Milosz Issadalen - Traces of Autism in Czeslaw Milosz Valley of Issa

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Polska

Sammanfattning: The partly autobiographical book Valley of Issa, written by Czeslaw Milosz describes (among other things) the childhood of a boy, Tomasz who is the main character, and his interactions with his relatives. In this essay I will claim that these characters possess startlingly obvious autistic traits, and in relation with this I raise and discuss another question: Does the author Milosz himself express autistic traits? My essay could hardly constitute a complete analysis with definite answers, (the bachelor format of the essay and the fact that Milosz is dead limits more extensive investigations) and I do not mean to claim that Milosz was a sick person, even though I may suspect it. Let this essay be an eye-opener and a visionary foundation for new approaches to Milosz authorship. The value of it lies in its approach. The average literary researcher has neither a medical background nor equivalent qualifications, wherefore these types of analyses are very seldom produced. I am analysing material of autobiographical type. By studying relevant literature I also enter more deeply into the theory of autism. Furthermore I am using a questionnaire, commonly applied in the Swedish psychiatric medical care for identification of school children with Asperger syndrome (a type of high-functioning autism). In this case Tomasz constitutes the subject. I ultimately let Lena Nylander, a senior physician at Lund University Hospital with many years of experience in autism diagnostics, make an own assessment of the character Tomasz, his relatives and to some extent Milosz, the author. The answers point unambiguously towards autism but when analysing partly fictive literary characters I find myself situated in the borderland of relevancy. Tomasz and many of his relatives do radiate what can be called autism, but what does this say about the author? Valley of Issa could very well be a natural development of a pondering mind, which would normalise Milosz to some extent. It is therefore impossible to draw any reliable conclusions on the mere basis of literature. Luckily there is an abundance of factors (not to forget in interviews and autobiographical material) pointing towards a certain tendency that is too obvious to be ignored. My results strongly suggests that it is possible, on the basis of the autistic traces in Valley of Issa, to draw a parallel to Milosz, who according to my research, did express certain traits that are found among autistic individuals. The world of literature will have to start looking at him from a new angle.

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