Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Ryszard Kapuscinski died yesterday. He was a very talented Polish journalist who wrote some amazing accounts of events in some pretty far-out places. He was more than just a journalist, however. His writerly techniques have made him famous throughout the world.

As part of both subjects that I studied last semester, we read pieces by Kapuscinski. In Literary Journalism, we read his 'Herodotus and the Art of Noticing'. For Advanced Writing for the Media we read a passage from The Soccer Wars.

In the former piece, he called what he did 'literary reportage'. He thinks that travel writing was the first exponent of reportage: "Not in the sense of a tourist trip or a relaxing outing: rather, travel as a hard, painstaking expedition of discovery requiring substantial preparation, careful planning and research to supplement the traveller's own observations and experiences on the spot."

Herodotus, however, besides being the first reporter, was also the first "globalist". Fully aware of how many cultures there were on Earth, he was eager to become acquainted with all of them. Why? He believed that the best way to learn about your own culture is by familiarizing yourself with others.

There are wise words, and demonstrate Kapuscinski's deep humanism. He went beyond books, however, into global hot-spots. There, he discovered new aspects of himself as well.

Thanks to The Literary Saloon for the heads-up.


gfrawfwe said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. "The best way to learn about your own culture is by familiarizing yourself with others." How true, how true.