Amorous Initiation: A Novel of Sacred and Profane Love

Excerpts & Samples

By O. V. De L. Milosz

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

Amorous Initiation: A Novel of Sacred and Profane Love

ABOUT O. V. De L. Milosz

O. V. de L. Milosz
Poet, writer, and philosopher, O.V. de L. Milosz (1877-1939) was born in Belarus (formerly the Grand Duchy of Lithuania) but spent most of his life in France. He has been referred to as the French Goethe, and his work belongs to the great stream of European esoteric literature along with t More...



First published in French in 1910, Amorous Initiation has been called one of the great novels of the first half of this century. And yet until now, this work has been virtually unknown in the English language. The story begins in Naples with the accidental meeting of the narrator--a Danish nobleman--and the mysterious Count Pinamonte, who invites the Dane to his crumbling palace, where, almost without preamble, he proceeds to tell his spellbinding story of a doomed love affair. In relentlessly seeking to know and understand love, the enigmatic count has destroyed it. But through his passion, he is initiated into a state of all-embracing love for the Creator and creation.

A tour de force of the search for love and the search for God and a ferociously dedicated attempt to understand both. The superb translation by Belle N. Burke captures the humor and brilliance of a turbulent monologue that moves between tortured self-recrimination and lucid rapture.
" of the great love stories of French literature....The influence {of O.V. de L. Milosz} has always been present in my own literary work....He taught me respect for all beings and things of this earth."
From the foreword by Czeslaw Milosz, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

"In 18th-century Naples, the Danish narrator recalls one evening spent with the aristocratic Sassolo Sinibaldo, who regales his guest with the story of the great love that came to him in Venice at the age of 45 after a dissolute and disillusioned youth. The object was Annalena, a young prostitute whom Sinibaldo may or may not know was also beloved by the narrator. . . .His affair consists of often brutal sex, nasty fits of jealousy, pathetic whimperings and wild self-hatred; but, although clearly imperfect, his infatuation is still his one portal into a greater, ancient love. Milosz ( Les Sept Solitudes ) dots his tale with evidences of his learning, most of which are happily elucidated in the endnotes."
Publisher's Weekly (Monday , October 25, 1993)

"First published in 1910 in French, this novel has been brought to the attention of English-reading audiences by the author's nephew, Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz, who provides a foreword praising his uncle as a literary influence on his own work. Like many contemporary Eastern European novels, Amorous Initiation has a nebulous plot that provides a loosely woven structure from which the author can spin his thoughts about passion, love, and, ultimately, the search for God and the meaning of life. Fictional characters and a minimal plot exist only to enliven the reader's interest in what is really an extended philosophical essay. Erudite, and boasting many well-turned paragraphs, the novel nevertheless rambles a bit, and some readers will tire of its verbosity. Recommended with the above caveats to specialized collections."
Library Journal (Monday , November 15, 1993) Olivia Opello, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, N.Y.

"A splendid edition. They don't write 'em like that any more."
Washington Post