Romanticism in Poland

Romanticism in Poland, a literary, artistic and intellectual period in the evolution of Polish culture, began around 1820, coinciding with the publication of Adam Mickiewicz's first poems in 1822. It ended with the suppression of the Polish-Lithuanian January 1863 Uprising against the Russian Empire in 1864. The latter event ushered in a new era in Polish culture known as Positivism.[1]

Polish Romanticism, unlike Romanticism in some other parts of Europe, was not limited to literary and artistic concerns. Due to specific Polish historical circumstances, notably the partitions of Poland, it was also an ideological, philosophical and political movement that expressed the ideals and way of life of a large portion of Polish society subjected to foreign rule as well as to ethnic and religious discrimination.


Polish Romanticism had two distinct periods in terms of its literary forms: 1820–1832, and 1832–1864. In the first period, Polish Romantics were strongly influenced by other European Romantics. Their art featured emotionalism and irrationality, fantasy and imagination, personality cults, folklore and country life, and the propagation of ideals of freedom. The most famous writers of the period were Adam Mickiewicz, Seweryn Goszczyński, Tomasz Zan and Maurycy Mochnacki.

In the second period, many of the Polish Romantics worked abroad, often banished from Poland by the occupying powers due to their politically subversive ideas. Their work became increasingly dominated by the ideals of political struggle for freedom and their country's sovereignty. Elements of mysticism became more prominent. There developed the idea of the poeta wieszcz (the prophet). The wieszcz (bard) functioned as spiritual leader to the nation fighting for its independence. The most notable poet so recognized was Adam Mickiewicz. His famous verse epic Pan Tadeusz describes his love for the partitioned homeland and people of his native country:

"O Lithuania, my country, thou
Art like good health; I never knew till now
How precious, till I lost thee. Now I see
Thy beauty whole, because I yearn for thee."

(— Opening stanza of Pan Tadeusz, Kenneth R. Mackenzie translation)

Other notable Polish Romantic writers active abroad included Juliusz Słowacki, Zygmunt Krasiński and Cyprian Kamil Norwid. A number of Romantics remained active in divided and occupied Poland, including Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Wincenty Pol, Władysław Syrokomla, and Narcyza Żmichowska. One of Polish Romanticism's unique qualities was its relation to and inspiration from Polish history from before the invasion. Polish Romanticism revived the old "Sarmatic" traditions of Polish nobility, the szlachta.[2] Old traditions and customs were portrayed favourably in the Polish messianic movement and in the leading works of virtually all Polish national poets, most notably in Pan Tadeusz, but also in the epic works of prose writers including Henryk Sienkiewicz's Trylogia.[2] This close connection between Polish Romanticism and the past became one of the defining qualities of the literature of Polish Romantic period, differentiating it from that of other countries who did not suffer the loss of statehood as was the case with Poland.[2]

Romantic ideas informed not only literature but also painting and music.[3] Polish Romantic painting is exemplified in the work of Artur Grottger, Henryk Rodakowski, or the equestrian master artist Piotr Michałowski (now at Sukiennice), and Jan Nepomucen Głowacki considered the father of Polish school of landscape painting, as well as the renowned historical painter Leopold Loeffler invited to Kraków by Matejko to teach the future luminaries of the Young Poland movement including Wyspiański, Tetmajer, Malczewski and Weiss among others. The music of Frédéric Chopin and Stanisław Moniuszko inspired the development of Polish Romantic movement in all fields of creative expression.

Notable Polish Romantic writers and poets


Other notable figures

External links


  1. ^ Czesław Miłosz, The history of Polish literature. IV. Romanticism. Pages 195–280. Google Books. University of California Press, 1983. ISBN 0-520-04477-0. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Andrzej Wasko, "Sarmatism or the Enlightenment: The Dilemma of Polish Culture", The Sarmatian Review XVII.2., 1997
  3. ^ "Romantyzm w sztukach plastycznych". Malarstwo, Architektura, Rzeźba (in Polish). Encyklopedia WIEM. Retrieved November 23, 2012.
20 złotych note

The 20 Polish Złotych note is a denomination of the Polish złoty.

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.

Balladyna (drama)

Balladyna is a tragedy written by Juliusz Słowacki in 1834 and published in 1839 in Paris. It is a notable work of Polish romanticism, focusing on the issues such as thirst for power and evolution of the criminal mind. The story revolves around the rise and fall of Balladyna, a fictional Slavic queen.

Balladyna was performed as tragi-comedy in English for the first time in the United Kingdom on 25th - 26th November 2018 by Passing Stranger Theatre Company at Drayton Arms Theatre in Kensington, London and directed by Emma Blacklay-Piech, with a Polish actress Anna Krauze in title role.


Czajkowski (Polish pronunciation: [tʂajˈkɔfskʲi], feminine: Czajkowska, plural: Czajkowscy) is a Polish noble family name for several coats of arms (see pl:Czajkowscy ).

See Tchaikovsky (surname) for various transcriptions into various languages.

The surname may refer to:

Adrian Czajkowski (born 1972), British fantasy and science fiction author of the Empire of Black and Gold series, written under the pen name Adrian Tchaikovsky

Andrzej Czajkowski (also known as André Tchaikowsky; born Robert Andrzej Krauthammer; 1935–1982), Polish classical pianist and composer; works include sonatas, string quartets and concertos

Antoni Czajkowski (1816–1873), Polish writer, poet and translator during literary era of Romanticism in Poland

James Paul (Jim) Czajkowski (born 1961), writing under the pen names James Rollins and James Clements, American author of best-selling action-thrillers and fantasy novelsJim Czajkowski (born 1963), American former Major League Baseball player for the Colorado Rockies

Józef Czajkowski (pl:Józef Czajkowski) (1872–1947), Polish painter, architect, graphic artist and educator; one of founders of movement known as "Polish Applied Art"; brother of Stanisław Czajkowski

Krystyna Czajkowska, female Polish volleyball playerMarlin Czajkowski (born 1955), Founder of Rock Crawling (motorsports)

Michał Czajkowski (1804–1886), Polish-Ukrainian writer on Cossack themes; lived in Turkey under acquired name, Mehmed Sadyk PashaRyszard Czajkowski (born 1933), Polish geophysicist, journalist, filmmaker, publicist and travel writer; member of Polish expedition to South Pole

Stanisław Czaykowski (1899–1933), Polish Grand Prix driver

Stanisław Czajkowski (1878–1954), Polish landscape painter who studied at Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków as well as in Paris; brother of Józef CzajkowskiZbigniew Czajkowski (born 1921), Polish fencing master; known as "father of the Polish School of Fencing" and coach of champions

Zbigniew Czajkowski-Dębczyński (1926–1999), Polish participant in Warsaw Uprising; wrote about battlefield death of Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński

Franciszek Ksawery Lampi

Franciszek Ksawery Lampi, also known as Franz Xaver Lampi (22 January 1782 – 22 July 1852), was a Polish Romantic painter born in Austria of ethnic Italian background. He was associated with the aristocratic circle of the late Stanisław II Augustus, the last Polish king before the foreign partitions of Poland. Lampi settled in Warsaw around 1815 at the age of 33, and established himself as the leading landscape and portrait artist in Congress Poland soon after Napoleon's defeat in Russia.

Henryk Biegeleisen

Henryk Biegeleisen (1855–1934) was a Polish Jewish historian, literary critic, publisher, journalist, and ethnographer specializing in the history of Polish literature from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century. His greatest accomplishment in the field of publishing included a series of books devoted to Romanticism in Poland. He prepared annotated editions of works of the Polish national bards: Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, and Zygmunt Krasiński.

Juliusz Słowacki

Juliusz Słowacki (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjuljuʂ swɔˈvat͡ski]; French: Jules Slowacki; 4 September 1809 – 3 April 1849) was a Polish Romantic poet. He is considered one of the "Three Bards" of Polish literature — a major figure in the Polish Romantic period, and the father of modern Polish drama. His works often feature elements of Slavic pagan traditions, Polish history, mysticism and orientalism. His style includes the employment of neologisms and irony. His primary genre was the drama, but he also wrote lyric poetry. His most popular works include the dramas Kordian and Balladyna and the poems Beniowski and Testament mój.

Słowacki spent his youth in the "Stolen Lands", in Kremenets (Polish: Krzemieniec; now in Ukraine) and Vilnius (Polish: Wilno, in Lithuania). He briefly worked for the government of the Kingdom of Poland. During the November 1830 Uprising, he was a courier for the Polish revolutionary government. When the uprising ended in defeat, he found himself abroad and thereafter, like many compatriots, lived the life of an émigré. He settled briefly in Paris, France, and later in Geneva, Switzerland. He also traveled through Italy, Greece and the Middle East. Eventually he returned to Paris, where he spent the last decade of his life. He briefly returned to Poland when another uprising broke out during the Spring of Nations (1848).

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.The poem helped inspire the Polish November 1830 Uprising against Russian rule. 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. Though Mickiewicz later disparaged the work, its cultural influence in Poland persists.

List of romantics

List of romantics


The Poles (Polish: Polacy, pronounced [pɔˈlat͡sɨ]; singular masculine: Polak, singular feminine: Polka), commonly referred to as the Polish people, are a nation and West Slavic ethnic group native to Poland in Central Europe who share a common ancestry, culture, history, and are native speakers of the Polish language. The population of self-declared Poles in Poland is estimated at 37,394,000 out of an overall population of 38,538,000 (based on the 2011 census), of whom 36,522,000 declared Polish alone.A wide-ranging Polish diaspora (the Polonia) exists throughout Europe, the Americas, and in Australasia. Today, the largest urban concentrations of Poles are within the Warsaw and Silesian metropolitan areas.

Poland's history dates back over a thousand years, to c. 930–960 AD, when the Polans – an influential West Slavic tribe in the Greater Poland region, now home to such cities as Poznań, Gniezno, Kalisz, Konin and Września – united various Lechitic tribes under what became the Piast dynasty, thus creating the Polish state. The subsequent Christianization of Poland, in 966 CE, marked Poland's advent to the community of Western Christendom.

Poles have made important contributions to the world in every major field of human endeavor, among them Copernicus, Marie Curie, Joseph Conrad, Fryderyk Chopin and Pope John Paul II. Notable Polish émigrés – many of them forced from their homeland by historic vicissitudes – have included physicist Joseph Rotblat, mathematician Stanisław Ulam, pianist Arthur Rubinstein, actresses Helena Modjeska and Pola Negri, military leaders Tadeusz Kościuszko and Casimir Pulaski, U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, politician Rosa Luxemburg, filmmakers Samuel Goldwyn and the Warner Brothers, cartoonist Max Fleischer, and cosmeticians Helena Rubinstein and Max Factor.

Polish literature

Polish literature is the literary tradition of Poland. Most Polish literature has been written in the Polish language, though other languages used in Poland over the centuries have also contributed to Polish literary traditions, including Latin, Yiddish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German and Esperanto. According to Czesław Miłosz, for centuries Polish literature focused more on drama and poetic self-expression than on fiction (dominant in the English speaking world). The reasons were manifold, but mostly rested on historical circumstances of the nation. Polish writers typically have had a more profound range of choices to motivate them to write, including historical cataclysms of extraordinary violence that swept Poland (as the crossroads of Europe); but also, Poland's own collective incongruities demanding adequate reaction from the writing communities of any given period.The period of Polish Enlightenment began in the 1730s–40s and peaked in the second half of the 18th century. One of the leading Polish Enlightenment authors included Ignacy Krasicki (1735–1801) and Jan Potocki (1761–1815). Polish Romanticism, unlike Romanticism elsewhere in Europe, was largely a movement for independence against the foreign occupation. Early Polish Romantics were heavily influenced by other European Romantics. Notable writers included Adam Mickiewicz, Seweryn Goszczyński, Tomasz Zan and Maurycy Mochnacki. In the second period, many Polish Romantics worked abroad. Influential poets included Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki and Zygmunt Krasiński.

In the aftermath of the failed January Uprising, the new period of Polish Positivism began to advocate skepticism and the exercise of reason. The modernist period known as the Young Poland movement in visual arts, literature and music, came into being around 1890, and concluded with the Poland's return to independence (1918). Notable authors included Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, Stanisław Przybyszewski and Jan Kasprowicz. The neo-Romantic era was exemplified by the works of Stefan Żeromski, Władysław Reymont, Gabriela Zapolska, and Stanisław Wyspiański. In 1905 Henryk Sienkiewicz received a Nobel Prize in literature for his patriotic Trilogy inspiring a new sense of hope. Literature of the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939) encompasses a short, though exceptionally dynamic period in Polish literary consciousness. The socio-political reality has changed radically with Poland's return to independence. New avant-garde writers included Tuwim, Witkacy, Gombrowicz, Miłosz, Dąbrowska and Nałkowska.

In the years of German and Soviet occupation of Poland, all artistic life was dramatically compromised. Cultural institutions were lost. Out of 1,500 clandestine publications in Poland, about 200 were devoted to literature.

Much of Polish literature written during the Occupation of Poland appeared in print only after the conclusion of World War II, including books by Nałkowska, Rudnicki, Borowski and others. The situation began to worsen dramatically around 1949–1950 with the introduction of the Stalinist doctrine by minister Sokorski. Poland had three Nobel Prize winning authors in the later 20th century: Isaac Bashevis Singer (1978), Czesław Miłosz (1980) and Wisława Szymborska (1996).

Romantic poetry

Romantic poetry is the poetry of the Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century. It involved a reaction against prevailing Enlightenment ideas of the 18th century, and lasted from 1800 to 1850, approximately.


Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.The movement emphasized intense emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as apprehension, horror and terror, and awe—especially that experienced in confronting the new aesthetic categories of the sublimity and beauty of nature. It elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, but also spontaneity as a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu). In contrast to the Rationalism and Classicism of the Enlightenment, Romanticism revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived as authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, early urban sprawl, and industrialism.

Although the movement was rooted in the German Sturm und Drang movement, which preferred intuition and emotion to the rationalism of the Enlightenment, the events and ideologies of the French Revolution were also proximate factors. Romanticism assigned a high value to the achievements of "heroic" individualists and artists, whose examples, it maintained, would raise the quality of society. It also promoted the individual imagination as a critical authority allowed of freedom from classical notions of form in art. There was a strong recourse to historical and natural inevitability, a Zeitgeist, in the representation of its ideas. In the second half of the 19th century, Realism was offered as a polar opposite to Romanticism. The decline of Romanticism during this time was associated with multiple processes, including social and political changes and the spread of nationalism.

Science fiction and fantasy in Poland

Science fiction and fantasy in Poland dates to the late 18th century. During the later years of the People's Republic of Poland, social science fiction was a very popular genre of science fiction. Afterwards, many others gained prominence. Currently there are many science fiction writers in Poland. Internationally, the best known Polish science fiction writer is Stanisław Lem. As elsewhere, Polish science fiction is closely related to the genres of fantasy, horror and others. Although many English language writers have been translated into Polish, relatively few Polish language science fiction (or fantasy) has been translated into English.


Michael Sendivogius (; Polish: Michał Sędziwój; 1566–1636) was a Polish alchemist, philosopher, and medical doctor. A pioneer of chemistry, he developed ways of purification and creation of various acids, metals and other chemical compounds. He discovered that air is not a single substance and contains a life-giving substance-later called oxygen, 170 years before Scheele's discovery of the element. He correctly identified this 'food of life' with the gas (also oxygen) given off by heating nitre (saltpetre). This substance, the 'central nitre', had a central position in Sendivogius' schema of the universe.

The Crimean Sonnets

The Crimean Sonnets (Sonety krymskie) are a series of 18 Polish sonnets by Adam Mickiewicz, constituting an artistic telling of a journey through the Crimea. They were published in 1826, together with a cycle of love poems called the "Odessan Sonnets" ("Sonety Odeskie"), in a collection called Sonety (Sonnets).


Wernyhora is a legendary 18th century Cossack bard (bandurist) who prophetized the fall of Poland and its subsequent rebirth and flourishing, "from Black to White sea".

He has been a subject of several folklore tales and poems (particularly in the 19th century romanticism in Poland). Most notably he has been a character in works of Seweryn Goszczyński (Vernyhora), Michał Czajkowski (Wernyhora wieszcz ukraiński: powieść historyczna z roku 1768 (1838)), Juliusz Słowacki (Salomea's Silver Dream) and Stanislaw Wyspiański (The Wedding), as well as a subject of a paintings by Jan Matejko and Jacek Malczewski.

Władysław Syrokomla

Ludwik Władysław Franciszek Kondratowicz (September 29, 1823 – September 15, 1862), better known as Władysław Syrokomla, was a romantic poet, writer and translator working in Congress Poland of the Russian Empire.

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