Konrad Wallenrod

Konrad Wallenrod is an 1828 narrative poem, in Polish, by Adam Mickiewicz, set in the 14th-century Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Mickiewicz wrote it, while living in St. Petersburg, Russia, in protest against the late-18th-century partitioning of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth by the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, and Austria.

Mickiewicz had been exiled to St. Petersburg for his participation in the Philomaths organization at Wilno University.[1]

The poem helped inspire the Polish November 1830 Uprising against Russian rule.[2] Though its subversive theme was apparent to most readers, the poem escaped censorship due to conflicts among the censors and, in the second edition, a prefatory homage to Tsar Nicholas I.[3] Though Mickiewicz later disparaged the work, its cultural influence in Poland persists.

Majeranowski Konrad Wallenrod
Konrad Wallenrod, a painting by Władysław Majeranowski (1844), National Museum in Warsaw.


In a preface, Mickiewicz briefly outlines the history of the region, describing the interactions among the Lithuanians, Prussians, Poles, and Russians.[1] The following six cantos tell the story of Wallenrod, a fictional Lithuanian pagan captured and reared as a Christian by his people's long-standing enemies, the Order of Teutonic Knights. He rises to the position of Grand Master, but is awakened to his heritage by a mysterious minstrel singing at an entertainment.[3] He then seeks vengeance by deliberately leading the Knights into a major military defeat.[3] It transpires that Wallenrod has a wife, Aldona, who has been living in seclusion. The Knights discover his treason and sentence him to death; Aldona refuses to flee with him. He then commits suicide.

Cultural influences

The concept of "Wallenrodism" (Polish: Wallenrodyzm) — the striking of a treacherous, possibly suicidal, blow against an enemy — and certain powerful fragments of the poem have become an enduring part of the Polish psyche and found resonance in the Polish uprisings of the 19th and 20th centuries. The poem included a reference to Machiavelli's dictum that a leader must be both a lion and a fox.[2][3] Its encouragement of what would later be called "patriotic treason" created controversy, since its elements of deception and conspiracy were thought incompatible with Christian and chivalric values.[4] Mickiewicz was taken aback by the strength of the public response to his poem and regretted its publication; before his death, he expressed frustration at his financial inability to buy back and burn every copy of what he described as a mere "political pamphlet."[2][4]

Konrad Wallenrod has twice been turned into an opera: as I Lituani (The Lithuanians), by Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli (1874); and as Konrad Wallenrod, by Polish composer Władysław Żeleński (1885). The Polish composer Frédéric Chopin may have based on this poem his Ballade No.1 in G minor.[1]

The Polish-born author Joseph Conrad, who had been christened Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, may have selected the second part of his pen name as an hommage to the poem's protagonist.[5] Mickiewicz's poem influenced Conrad's frequent explorations of the conflict between publicly attested loyalty and a hidden affiliation with a national cause.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Jonathan Bellman (2009). Chopin's Polish Ballade Op. 38 as Narrative of National Martyrdom. Oxford University Press US. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-19-533886-7.
  2. ^ a b c Christopher John Murray (2004). Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850, volume 2. Taylor & Francis. p. 740. ISBN 978-1-57958-422-1.
  3. ^ a b c d Czeslaw Milosz (1984). History of Polish Literature. University of California Press. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-520-04477-7.
  4. ^ a b Richard Andrew Cardwell (2004). The Reception of Byron in Europe, volume 1. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-8264-6844-4.
  5. ^ Jean M. Szczypien (1998). "Echoes from Konrad Wallenrod in Almayer's Folly and A Personal Record". 53. University of California Press: 91–110. JSTOR 2902971.
  6. ^ George E. Marcus (1993). Perilous States: Conversations on Culture, Politics, and Nation. University of Chicago Press. pp. 204, 205. ISBN 978-0-226-50447-6.

External links

1828 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1828.

1828 in poetry

Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature (for instance, Irish or France).

Adam Mickiewicz

Adam Bernard Mickiewicz ([mit͡sˈkʲɛvit͡ʂ] (listen); 24 December 1798 – 26 November 1855) was a Polish poet, dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator, professor of Slavic literature, and political activist. He is regarded as national poet in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. A principal figure in Polish Romanticism, he is counted as one of Poland's "Three Bards" ("Trzej Wieszcze") and is widely regarded as Poland's greatest poet. He is also considered one of the greatest Slavic and European poets and has been dubbed a "Slavic bard". A leading Romantic dramatist, he has been compared in Poland and Europe to Byron and Goethe.He is known chiefly for the poetic drama Dziady (Forefathers' Eve) and the national epic poem Pan Tadeusz. His other influential works include Konrad Wallenrod and Grażyna. All these served as inspiration for uprisings against the three imperial powers that had partitioned the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth out of existence.

Mickiewicz was born in the Russian-partitioned territories of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had been part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and was active in the struggle to win independence for his home region. After, as a consequence, spending five years exiled to central Russia, in 1829 he succeeded in leaving the Russian Empire and, like many of his compatriots, lived out the rest of his life abroad. He settled first in Rome, then in Paris, where for a little over three years he lectured on Slavic literature at the Collège de France. He died, probably of cholera, at Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire, where he had gone to help organize Polish and Jewish forces to fight Russia in the Crimean War.

In 1890, his remains were repatriated from Montmorency, Val-d'Oise, in France, to Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, Poland.

Dziady (poem)

Dziady (Polish pronunciation: [ˈdʑadɨ], Forefathers' Eve) is a poetic drama by the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. It is considered one of the greatest works of both Polish and European Romanticism. To George Sand and Georg Brandes, Dziady was a supreme realization of Romantic drama theory, to be ranked with such works as Goethe's Faust and Byron's Manfred.The drama's title refers to Dziady, an ancient Slavic and Lithuanian feast commemorating the dead (the "forefathers"). The drama has four parts, the first of which was never finished. Parts I, II and IV were influenced by Gothic fiction and Byron's poetry. Part III joins historiosophical and individual visions of pain and annexation, especially under the 18th-century partitions of Poland. Part III was written ten years after the others and differs greatly from them. The first to have been composed is "Dziady, Part II," dedicated chiefly to the Dziady Slavic feast of commemoration of the dead which laid the foundations of the poem and is celebrated in what is now Belarus.A ban on the performance of the play was an aspect of the 1968 Polish political crisis.

Grażyna (poem)

Grażyna is an 1823 narrative poem by Adam Mickiewicz, written in the summer of 1822 during a year-long sabbatical in Vilnius, while away from his teaching duties in Kaunas. Probably his first notable work.

The poem describes the exploits of a mythical Lithuanian chieftainess Grażyna (Lithuanian: Gražina) against the forces of the medieval Order of the Teutonic Knights. The woman character is believed to have been based on Mickiewicz's own sweetheart from Kaunas, Karolina Kowalska. The name was originally conceived by Mickiewicz himself, having used the root of the Lithuanian adjective graži, meaning "beautiful".It was said by Polish writer Christien Ostrowski to have inspired Emilia Plater, a military heroine of the November 1830 Uprising.

I Lituani

I Lituani (in English, The Lithuanians) is an opera consisting of a prologue and three acts by Amilcare Ponchielli to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni, based on the historical poem Konrad Wallenrod written by Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. It premiered at La Scala in Milan on 7 March 1874.

Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński

Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński (15 February 1807 – 9 October 1867) was a Polish pianist and composer. He was the son of Ignacy Dobrzyński, the brother of Edward Dobrzyński, and the father of Bronisław Dobrzyński.

Juliusz Kleiner

Juliusz Kleiner (April 24, 1886, Lwów – March 23, 1957, Kraków) was a Polish historian and literary theorist.

Kaunas Castle

Kaunas Castle is a medieval castle in Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania. Archeological evidence suggests that it was originally built during the mid-14th century, in the Gothic style. Its site is strategic – a rise on the banks of the Nemunas River near its confluence with the Neris River. At the beginning of the 21st century, about one-third of the castle was still standing.

Konrad von Wallenrode

Konrad von Wallenrode (c. 1330s – 23 July 1393) was the 24th Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1391 to 1393. Modern sources are friendly towards Konrad, although they claim he was hot-blooded, proud, and had tendencies to be cruel.

Konrad was the inspiration for Adam Mickiewicz's poem Konrad Wallenrod.

List of poems

This is a list of poems, individual poems (not poetry collections or anthologies), of any length, often published in book form if long enough, or, if a short poem, as a tract or broadside.

Maria Janion

Maria Janion (born 24 December 1926, in Mońki) is a Polish scholar, critic and theoretician of literature as well as a renowned feminist. She is a Professor at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, specialising in literary Romanticism.Janion is also a member of the Polish Academy of Learning. She has an honorary degree of the Gdańsk University. Between the years 1948-1978 she was an active member of Polish United Workers' Party.

Michał Elwiro Andriolli

Michał Elwiro Andriolli (Lithuanian: Mykolas Elvyras Andriolis, Italian: Elviro Michele Andriolli; 2 November 1836, in Vilnius – 23 August 1893, in Nałęczów) was a Polish painter and architect of Italian descent. He is notable for his illustrations to Mickiewicz's Pan Tadeusz, as well as a distinctive style of villas built outside Warsaw. He was probably most well known for his architecture — Świdermajer. This was a regional architectural style common in the Otwock, Poland region. These structures were wooden in construction and were popularized from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Its creator was Michał Elwiro Andriolli. It is characterized by gazebos and decorations above the windows, some of the houses also had turrets. Pine trees were planted together with the buildings as part of the composition.

Otakar Zich

Otakar Zich (25 March 1879, Městec Králové – 9 July 1934 Ouběnice u Benešova) was a distinguished Czech composer and aesthetician.

Teutonic Knights in popular culture

This article is about depictions of the Teutonic Knights in popular culture.

The Seasons (poem)

The Seasons (Lithuanian: Metai) is the first Lithuanian poem written by Kristijonas Donelaitis around 1765–1775. It is in quantitative dactylic hexameters as often used for Latin and Ancient Greek poetry. It was published as "Das Jahr" in Königsberg, 1818 by Ludwig Rhesa, who also named the poem and selected the arrangement of the parts. The German translation was included in the first edition of the poem. The book was dedicated to Wilhelm von Humboldt. The poem is considered a masterpiece of early Lithuanian literature.

Wincenty Smokowski

Wincenty Smokowski (19 February 1797, Vilnius — 13 February 1876, Krikonys, Ignalina Raion) was a Polish-Lithuanian painter and illustrator in the Academic and Classical styles. He created portraits, historical scenes, landscapes and genre works; notably realistic, unprejudiced portrayals of Jews and Gypsies.

Witold Friemann

Witold Friemann (August 20, 1889 in Konin – March 22, 1977 in Laski) was a Polish composer, pianist, conductor and pedagogue. He was very prolific and composed more than 350 Opuses, most of which remain inedited.

Władysław Żeleński (composer)

Władysław Marcjan Mikołaj Żeleński (6 July 1837 – 23 January 1921) was a Polish composer, pianist and organist.

Żeleński was born in Grodkowice. He was a representative of neoromanticism in Polish music. Since early days Żeleński showed interest in chamber music. While in secondary school, he wrote two quartets and a trio that, however, have not survived to our times. Later chamber pieces: Sextet in C major, Op. 9 and Wariacje na temat własny (Variations on an Original Theme) for string quartet, Op. 29 Żeleński composed while studying first in Prague and later in Paris. He died in Kraków.

Władysław was the father of physician and writer Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński.

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