Español Deutsch Nerlandese Française Русский Português

Polish Language

Polish literature. Moreover, you will find other useful resources about Polish like words, schools, Polish literature and more

Polish literature

In Polish literature, historical issues have been dominant. But at the same time we can see trends that either attempt to distance themselves from those central interests or else reject an over-spontaneous attitude to reality which is devoid of a metaphysical perspective. Polish literature is torn between its social duties and its literary obligations.

The Renaissance Period

Although the Renaissance reached Poland comparatively late, it was the golden age of Polish literature. External security, constitutional consolidation, and the Reformation contributed to this flowering. The first generation of writers that were influenced by the Italian humanists wrote in Latin. Included among this group were Jan Dantyszek (Johannes Dantiscus), author of incidental verse, love poetry, and panegyric; Andrzej Krzycki (Cricius), an archbishop who wrote witty epigrams, political verse, and religious poems; and Klemens Janicki (Janicius), a peasant who studied in Italy, won there the title of poet laureate, and was the most original Polish poet of the age. Mikolaj Rej of Naglowice was notable for combining medieval and Renaissance aspects. Self-educated, he was the first idiomatically Polish talent and widely read writer of his time, being known as "the father of Polish literature." He wrote satirical epigrams, but of more importance were his prose works, especially Swietych slsw a spraw Panskich kronika albo Postilla (1557; "Chronicle or Comments on the Holy Words and Matters of the Lord"), a collection of Calvinist sermons, and the Zywot czlowieka poczciwego (1568; "Life of an Honest Man"), a description of an ideal nobleman.

The Baroque Period

The Baroque period began very early in Poland. In 1564 Poland invited the Jesuits to settle in the country, and from about 1570 Protestant influence began to wane. The Baroque style and outlook were congenial to the Polish spirit; the period was one of considerable literary output, in spite of almost incessant wars. Indeed, perhaps it mirrored, in its stylistic tension, the external strife characteristic of the 17th century.

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment Close contact with Western Europe, especially France and England, characterized literature of the Enlightenment period in Poland, whose writers were imbued with a desire to save the national culture from effects of partition and foreign rule. Literary developments included the rise of drama; introduction of the periodical and the novel; publication of the first Polish dictionary; and, in poetry, the introduction of dumy (ballads).

The romantic Period

The Romantic period began later in Poland than in England or Germany, and it lasted longer. It has been regarded as the greatest period in Polish literature. The rise of Romanticism coincided with the loss of independence, and great writers found in it an expression of their own mood. A need to interpret their country's destiny gave the work of the three great Romantic poets--Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, and Zygmunt Krasinski--visionary power and moral authority. Writing in exile, they kept faith in the restoration of Polish independence alive, and their concern gave the literature of the Polish Romantic movement its strength and passion. Mickiewicz was the greatest Polish poet and leader of the Romantic period. His Poezye (2 vol., 1822-23; "Poetry") was the first major literary event of the period. In its second volume were included parts two and four of Dziady (Forefathers' Eve), in which he combined folklore and mystic atmosphere to create a new kind of Romantic drama. Mickiewicz' greatest works were written after 1824, when he was deported to Russia for revolutionary activities as a student; they included Sonety krymskie (1826; Sonnets from the Crimea); a visionary third part of Dziady (1832); a messianic interpretation of Poland's past and future destiny, Ksiegi narodu polskiego i pielgrzymstwa polskiego (1832; The Books of the Polish Nation and of the Polish Pilgrimage), written in biblical prose; and a great epic, Pan Tadeusz (1834; Master Thaddeus). The suppression of the insurrection of 1830-31 drove the cultural elite into exile in France; among poets whom Mickiewicz joined there were Slowacki, Krasinski, and Cyprian Kamil Norwid. Zygmunt Krasinski, when 23, published (anonymously, as with all his works) Nieboska komedia (1835; The Undivine Comedy), which presented, for the first time in Europe, a struggle between opposed worlds of aristocracy and disinherited masses. Irydion (1836; Iridion), his second play, was an allegory of Poland's fate. In Przedswit (1843; "Daybreak") he developed a messianic interpretation of Polish history, and this conception of Poland as "the Christ among the nations" was also expounded in Psalmy przyszlosci (1845; "Psalms of the Future").

The 20th century

The young Poland Movement

The "Young Poland" movement describes several different groups and tendencies united by opposition to positivism, and the desire to return to imagination in literature; hence its other name, Neoromanticism. Among its pioneers were Antoni Lange, a poet, and Zenon Przesmycki (pseudonym Miriam), editor of a Symbolist review, Chimera. Both made translations from a number of other languages and expressed aesthetic theories in critical essays. Przesmycki's most influential contribution to a development of modern literature was his discovery of Cyprian Norwid.

top ^