A novelist and writer of short stories, reporter, essayist, screenwriter and translator born in Warsaw in 1919, died in Cracow in 2003.
Szczepański has the most "adventurous" biography of all Polish authors, even though he himself is one of the most modest: a soldier in the September, 1939 campaign, a resistance movement conspirator, partisan, mountain climber, yachtsman and traveler. He is also an outstanding moral authority. The author of profound reflections on the secular sources of ethics (Before an Unknown Tribunal) and a writer who never bowed to political pressure, Szczepanski was the last legitimate president of the Polish Writer's Union and fought to the end against the disbanding of the organization by the Martial Law authorities - as described in Term of Office.
Szczepański has written a great deal about war. Polish Autumn is a straightforward novel about the September defeat, and Boots is a collection of partisan tales that casts a critical eye on the heroic legend of the "people in the forests". Icarus and The Island offer a bitter recounting of the life of a very young Polish insurrectionist of 1863 who later emigrates to France and ends up as a failed assassin of Tsar Alexander II. Szczepański has a soft spot for losers and lost causes, especially when they are painful and morally ambivalent. Nevertheless, he sometimes seems merciless to his protagonists, subjecting them to shocking experiences while laying bare the dark and shameful sides of their lives. Szczepanski is equally at home in the novel and the short story, and also knows how to tell a ripping comic yarn, whether it is cut fantastically from whole cloth (Odysseus's Shorts) or based on his own real-life adventures, which he can recount without any glorification (Little Stories). He is sensitive to the charms of the world and the multiplicity of cultures, and has described his travels to various continents in several volumes of reportage. Finally, he is a skilful and seasoned screenwriter.
Source: www.polska2000.pl, Copyright: Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza
Jan Józef Szczepański
Jan Józef Szczepański
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