“A loving, sensuous, but also gently ironic reconstruction of a lost city” — LA Review of Books
A timely reissue of the classic portrayal of the Ukrainian city of Lviv by 2 authors in 2 acts, separated by time and circumstance
With an illuminating preface by Eva Hoffman and stunning new photographs by Diana Matar, City of Lions is a powerful and melancholy evocation of Ukraine in the twentieth century, with a special resonance for today.
Lviv, Lwów, Lvov, Lemberg. Known by a variety of names, the City of Lions is now in western Ukraine. Situated in different countries during its history, it is a city located along the fault-lines of Europe's history.
City of Lions presents two essays, written more than half a century apart - but united by one city.
Józef Wittlin's lyrical paean to his Lwów, written in exile, is a deep cry of love and pain for his city, where most people he knew have fled or been killed.
Philippe Sands' finely honed exploration of what has been lost and what remains interweaves a lawyer's love of evidence with the emotional heft of a descendant of Lviv.
About the Author
Józef Wittlin (born 1896) was a major Polish poet, novelist, essayist, and translator. He studied in Vienna, where he met Joseph Roth and Rainer Maria Rilke, before serving in the Austro-Hungarian army in the First World War. He published one novel and numerous collections of poetry, many of which were characterised by their strong pacifist sentiments. With the outbreak of WWII he fled to France and then to New York, where he died in 1976.
Philippe Sands is a professor of Law at University College London. He specialises in International Law and International disputes. He has also published many books, including East West Street and The Ratline.
Antonia Lloyd-Jones translates from Polish, and is the 2018 winner of the Transatlantyk Award for the most outstanding promoter of Polish literature abroad. She has translated works by several of Poland’s leading contemporary authors.
"[Wittlin's essay My Lwów is] for many Poles the definitive evocation of one of their great lost cities. . . a loving, sensuous, but also gently ironic reconstruction. . . Sands’s perspective is closer to that of the contemporary reader, who struggles with the juxtaposition between beauty, faded grandeur, and whimsical visions of a cosmopolitan past on the one hand, and savage mass murder on the other." —Los Angeles Review of Books
"Congratulations to Pushkin Press for bringing lovely, haunted Lviv to a new audience." — Times Literary Supplement
"A walk down memory lane, a meditation on time, politics and remembrance." — Dublin Review of Books
"Wittlin takes us on a detailed tour of the city... well-illustrated." — East-West Review
"Beautiful and disturbing songs in prose." - Kazimierz Wierzyński