• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland




                                                           POLISH LITERARY INHERITANCE


       Despite the fact that Polish literature was at the beginnings connected with the traditions of the west more than with Slavonic civilization, it has not been well-known in the international literary ireless. But with the development of the translation movement at the beginning of the twentieth century, especially English Language, world began to know some aspects of this literature.

       It is worth to underline that during the Middle Ages, Polish writers wrote in Latin language and were under the influence of the feudal system, church and kingship. The first writer who wrote in Polish language was Mikołaj Rej in 1505.  The best representative of this age was the poet and writer Jan Kochanowski, who tried to find a link between the old writings and the morale and values that dominated his time.

       During the baroque period (1620-1764), Polish literature divided into two branches. The first dealt with existential and philosophic issues, while the second dealt with the exaltation of life's values. This division can be attributed to the suffering of Polish people during the waves with the Sweden, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. 

       With the beginning of renaissance period, Polish literature had extremely developed, especially during the reign of the King Stanisław August, who had adopted a national program of rebuilding, parliamentary elections and the issuing of the first constitution in Europe. During this period the intellectual movement had greatly advanced and a rational theatre had been built.

       Narrative literature had appeared at the hands of Ignacy Krasicki, who represented the new classical thought in the Polish literature. These achievements were be-grudged by neighboring countries Russia, Austria and Prussia who conspired to divide Poland among them during the Vienna congress in 1815. The romantic movement in Polish literature was represented by the great Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz, who made the deviation of this country his central theme. One of his well-known works is Dziady ("Forefathers' Eve"), in which he attacked the corruption of the regime at that time. The second work of  Mickiewicz  was Pan Tadeusz, in which he described his last journey to his home land Lithuania.

       When it comes to historic narrators, who had been influenced by positivism, it is difficult not to mention Henryk Sienkiewicz, who won the Noble Prize for his novel Quo vadis, in which he embodied spiritual victory of Christianity over the cruelty of the Roman Empire. In addition, he is famous for his trio logy: Ogniem i mieczem, Potop and Pan Wołodyjowski ("With Fire and Sword", "The Deluge", "Colonel Wolodyjowski").

       In the realm of music and opera, it is worth mentioning the great Polish compositors, Fredryk Chopin and Stanislaw Moniuszko, the founder of the vertebral opera (Halka, Straszny Dwór and Hrabina Cosel ) .

       The result of positivism's crisis was the appearance of modernism and realism in the Polish literature. The best representative of this period was Wladyslaw Reymont, who in 1924 won the Noble Prize for his work Chłopi ("The Peasants") in which he described the life in small village in the Carpat Mountains.

       Second World War had badly affected Polish literature. Many of Polish writers were killed by the Nazi and others joined the resistance movement. After the war and during the reign of the communists different treads had appeared, some of them praised the socialist realism and some represented what is called Neutral literature.

       The most important figure in the realm of lyrical poetry in the last years is Wislawa Szymborska, who won the Noble prize in 1998. Her poetry reflects a new trued in moralistic and philosophic contemplation.          


    dr Tawfiq Obeidat*

    *Author is a Jordanian graduate from Warsaw School of Economics

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