Antoni Malczewski

Infobox Writer
name = Antoni Malczewski


imagesize =
caption =
birthdate = birth date|1793|6|3|mf=y
birthplace = Volhynia or Warsaw
deathdate = death date and age|1826|5|2|1793|6|3|mf=y
deathplace = Warsaw
occupation = poet
nationality = Polish
period =
subject =
movement = Romanticism, Pessimism
notableworks =
influences = Horace, Theatre of ancient Greece, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Walter Scott, George Gordon Byron, Jan Kochanowski
influenced = Adam Mickiewicz, Joseph Conrad, Juliusz Słowacki, Adam Asnyk, Leopold Staff, Antoni Lange, Michał Elwiro Andriolli, Henryk Melcer-Szczawiński, Jan Lechoń

Antoni Malczewski (3 June 1793 in Volhynia or Warsaw2 May 1826 in Warsaw) was a heavy influential Polish romantic poet, known for his only work: "a narrative poem of dire pessimism" – "Maria" (1825).

At the times, prominent and scandalizing was his romance with married woman, Zofia Rucińska, who suffered from mental illness.

Biography

Malczewski was born to a wealthy family in either Volhynia or Warsaw, and attended school in Krzemieniec (modern-day Kremenets, Ukraine), but didn't graduate.cite encyclopedia | title = Malczewski, Antoni | encyclopedia = Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850 | editor = Christopher John Murray | volume = 2 | publisher = Taylor & Francis | year = 2004 | id = ISBN 1579584225 | pages = pp. 709–710] He joined the army of the short-lived Duchy of Warsaw during the Napoleonic Wars in 1811, and remained in the army of Congress Poland under Emperor Alexander from 1815.de icon cite encyclopedia | title = Malczewski | encyclopedia = Meyers Konversations-Lexikon | edition = 4th edition | year = 1890 | | volume = 11 | pages = pp. 145–146 | url = http://www.retrobibliothek.de/retrobib/seite.html?id=110842] He was wounded in the foot in a duel in 1816 and so had to leave the army.

After leaving the army, he spent several years traveling through western Europe, staying some time in Paris, climbing Mont Blanc in 1818, and spending a good portion of his inherited fortune. He returned to his estate in Volhynia in 1821, where he began an ill-fated affair with a married woman and began writing. He moved to Warsaw in 1824, where he published the poetic novel "Maria" at his own expense in 1825, and died in poverty the next year in unclear circumstances.

Work

Malczewski's fame rests almost solely upon that of "Maria", published near the end of his life and popularized in the decade following his death (an English translation appeared in 1835). Considered a masterpiece of Polish Romanticism, it tells the tale of a young noble woman who marries above her station, and so incurs the wrath of her husband's family, who plot revenge. It is generally held to be most influenced by Lord Byron, whom Malczewski had met in Venice during his travels around western Europe, though it is considerably more gloomy and Gothic than Byron's work. Malczewski is sometimes considered part of the "Ukrainian school" in Polish poetry, though others consider his work to stand uniquely separate. "Maria" was also influential on later Polish poets, especially Adam Mickiewicz and Joseph Conrad.

Genealogy

References


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