Adam Mickiewicz  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Adam Bernard Mickiewicz (December 24 1798November 26 1855) is one of the best-known Polish poets and writers, considered the greatest Polish Romantic poet of the 19th century, alongside Zygmunt Krasiński, Juliusz Słowacki (the Three Bards) and Cyprian Kamil Norwid.

Works

The political situation in Poland in the 19th century was often reflected in Polish literature which, since the days of Poland's partitions took a powerful upward swing and reached its zenith during the period between 1830 and 1850 in the unsurpassed patriotic writings of Mickiewicz, among others.

Edward Henry Lewinski Corwin wrote of Mickiewicz, describing his works as Promethean, as 'reaching more Polish hearts' than the other Bards of Poland (Zygmunt Krasiński and Juliusz Słowacki), and affirming George Brandes's assessment of Mickiewicz's works as 'healthier' than those of Byron, Shakespeare, Homer, and Goethe.

As a young man, Mickiewicz was influensed by Belarusian folklore, as his native town was Navahrudak in Hrodna region of Belarus. After finishing a school in Navahrudak, he took a leading part in the literary life of the university circles at Vilnius. When the society of Philomaths was closed in 1823 by order of the Russian tsar he was arrested and exiled to Russia. While in the Crimea he wrote his sonnets. In France in 1835 Mickiewicz came under the influence of Towianski, a mystic, and ceased to write. Toward the end of his days he freed himself again of this peculiar thrall which Towianski was able to exert over him.

It was while in Istanbul he wrote the Books of the Pilgrims, which have been called "Mickiewicz's Homilies".

Beside Konrad Wallenrod and Pan Tadeusz, noteworthy is the long poem Grażyna, describing the exploits of a Lithuanian chieftainess against the Teutonic Knights. It was said by Christien Ostrowski to have inspired Emilia Plater, a military heroine of the November 1830 Uprising who died in Lithuania. A fine vigorous Oriental piece is Farys. Notable too are the odes to Youth and to the historian Joachim Lelewel; the former did much to stimulate the efforts of the Poles to shake off their Russian conquerors.

His son Władysław Mickiewicz wrote a Vie d'Adam Mickiewicz (Life of Adam Mickiewicz, 4 volumes, Poznań, 1890–95) and Adam Mickiewicz, sa vie et son œuvre (Adam Mickiewicz: His Life and Works, Paris, 1888).

Translations into English (1881–85) of Konrad Wallenrod and Pan Tadeusz were made by a Miss Biggs. Christien Ostrowski rendered into French Œuvres poétiques de Michiewicz (Poetic Works of Mickiewicz, Paris, 1845). The most recent translation of Pan Tadeusz into English, in the rhyme and rhythm of the original, is by Marcel Weyland of Sydney, Australia (ISBN 1-56700-219-6 in the US, and ISBN 1-873106-77-7 in the UK).





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Adam Mickiewicz" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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