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A historical photograph of the Mickiewicz bust.Adam Mickiewicz: (1798-1855) Polish Poet and Playwright

Adam Mickiewicz was born near Novogrodek in Lithuania to an impoverished family with old noble lineage.  He studied at the University of Vilno where he studied German and English romantic poetry.  (New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia)

During Mickiewicz’s time, Poland as well as most of Eastern Europe, was involved in costly wars for independence.  In the early 1800s, Napoleon established Warsaw as a puppet state to serve French interests in the east. As a result, Mickiewicz grew fond of Romanticism in literature and was strongly influenced by the French philosopher Voltaire as well as other French writers.  In 1819, he published his first poems in two volumes and became a member of a secret society of poets. This society protested Russian control of Poland and in 1823, he was arrested and imprisoned.  He was eventually exiled to Russia, never to return to his home again.  (Ference, Gregory, ed. Chronology of 20th Century Eastern European History. p.255-256.)

During his time of exile, Mickiewicz’s writings coincided heavily with Poland’s struggle for independence.  “His deep national and patriotic feelings were expressed in his creative works as Dziady (Forefather’s Eve), Grazyna and Ballady i Romanse (Ballads and Romances).” His most famous sonnet and narrative-poem Konrad Wallenrod influenced a whole generation of Poles and continues to resonate in today’s times.  His best know work, Pan Tadeusz, is an epic poem about his life in Poland during the Napoleonic conquest.  (Sanford, George and Adriana Gozdecka-Sanford.  Historical Dictionary of Poland.  p.124-125)

Mickiewicz love for his country resonated through not only his writing, but political efforts to stay true to his country’s independence.  He died in Constantinople where he formed a Polish legion to assist the Turkish army in defeating Russia.

Photographs:

Bust of Mickiewicz

Photographs of the Garden

Further Reading:

New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia

Books and Writers

The Cleveland Memory Project

culture.pl, Warsaw/Moscow

Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature, Warsaw

The Adam Mickiewicz Foundation in Canada

The Poles, The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

Polish National Catholic Church, The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

Sonnets from the Crimea, translated by Edna Worthley Underwood

Sanford, George and Adriana Gozdecka-Sanford.  Historical Dictionary of Poland.  Metuchen, New Jersey: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p.124-125, 1994.

Ference, Gregory, ed. Chronology of 20th Century Eastern European History.  Detroit: Gale Research Inc. p.255-25, 1994.