Nonino Prize “To a Master of our Time” 1997

Leszek Kolakowski

The deep originality of thought, which has marked the life and the work of Leszek Kolakowski, has manifested itself through an opposition against all forms of dogmatism and totalitarianism, as well as through the solidarity towards those who suffer materially and morally.

His constant attempt to make clear the fundamental rights and his research of a political order worth of the human being, have led him from the Marxism of his youth  to a fundamental criticism of the same that has caused his leaving Poland in 1968, when he was  Professor of History of Philosophy in Warsaw.

Peripatetic pedagogue, he thought in Canada, in the United States and in Oxford where he finally settled.

Deeply religious but refractory towards all forms of orthodoxy – the title of one of his best known works is “Chrétiens sans Eglise” – he has studies the main points of the history of Christianity, as for example the controversy between the Jansenists and the Jesuits in his recent “Dio non ci deve niente”, he has investigated the great problems of metaphysics, in particular in “Orrore metafisico” (Ed. Il Mulino) and analyzed the myths rooted in human aspirations in “Presenza del mito” (Ed. Il Mulino).

His capital work on the birth, development and dissolution of Marxism and the opening of his researches have stigmatized the most concrete forms of the tensions of our time.