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The head from Adam Mickiewicz's monument on Krakowskie Przedmieście in Warsaw, 1948, photo: Karol Pecherski/APW/FORUM

When reading Polish Romantic literature, you may be bewildered at how unusual it seems, especially compared to its French, English, and American contemporaries. There may be similar themes and philosophy behind it, but something feels off, something is different from other romanticisms. Culture.pl is here to explain what makes Poland’s version of Romanticism unique.

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Wawel Royal Castle and the Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus, photo: Bartłomiej Kudowicz / Forum

Wawelskie Wzgórze, na którym mieści się Zamek Królewski i Katedra, przez wieki było centrum władzy świeckiej i duchownej w Polsce. W roku 1000 w Krakowie powstało biskupstwo, a wkrótce potem na Wzgórzu Wawelskim wzniesiono pierwszą katedrę.

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Урна с сердцем Тадеуша Костюшко в Королевском замке в Варшаве, 1927. Источник: Национальный цифровой архив

Chopin’s heart travelling on the train in his sister’s lap, the three funerals (and one scandal) of a national bard, or Słowacki arriving in Warsaw some 70 years after his death aboard the ‘Mickiewicz’ ship... Culture.pl takes a look at the most famous Polish dead, and the macabre, strange and haunting afterlife of Polish bodies.

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Still from Robert Gliński's Stones for the Rampart, photo: Marcin Makowski / Monolith Films

Aleksander Kamiński’s Stones for the rampart is a faithful, journalistic report of how the resistance movement formed in Warsaw during the German occupation.

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Selected photographs from the performance of Juliusz Słowacki's Lilla Weneda directed by Michał Zadara. The premire was held on 29 August 2015 at Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw. 

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A scene from Lilla Weneda, photo:  Krzysztof Bieliński

The staging is raw and simple. I believe the 19th century is already behind me stated Michał Zadara about Lilac Weneda, a romantic drama by Juliusz Słowacki presented in contemporary, military costumes at the Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw.

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Anja Rubik in "Chleb," dir. Krzysztof Skonieczny

From 14th century sacred verse to 21st century “hip-hop novels,” Poland has a rich and diverse literary tradition. Here, Culture.pl offers a playlist to guide you through some of the highlights of the last 700 years of Polish literature.

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From Jacob Frank to Ivan Franko, and from Joseph Roth to Joseph Brodsky, here are some very different writers, all of whom engaged in a quite complicated relationship with the Polish language. Their stories serving as proof to the magnetic power of attraction once exerted by Polish language and culture.

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Adam Mickiewicz, national Polish poet of the 19th century, is also the quintessential migrating poet. Mickiewicz who had become for Poles the poet-prophet, was also a professor, politician, and journalist, before eventually dropping poetry altogether. He wrote and wandered through most of Europe and eventually beyond...

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Justyna Wasilewska as Balladyna, photo: Magda Hueckel / Polski Theatre in Poznań

On the stage of Polski Theatre in Poznań Krzysztof Garbaczewski directed Julisz Słowacki’s Balladyna. At the instigation of his long-standing collaborator Marcin Cecko, he transported the romantic characters into a genetic laboratory.

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Polish literature – it's obviously literature written in Polish: Kochanowski, Mickiewicz, Schulz, Gombrowicz... We know all these names very well from our Polish language classes in school. Yet, throughout centuries, literature that surfaced on Poland's territory was written in various other languages. What could be the history of these writings?

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In his new biography of Adam Mickiewicz, American Professor Roman Koropeckyj traces the winding European paths of the writer: from a poet of European fame to an anonymous émigré in Paris, years in a dangerous religious sect and a death neither romantic nor mysterious in Istanbul.

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Tytus Czyżewski, Portrait of Bruno Jasieński, 1920, oil, canvas, photo: courtesy of the Museum of Art in Łódź, Kultura headquarters in Maisons-Laffitte near Paris, photo by: Wojciech Łaski / East News, Józef Oleszkiewicz, Portrait of Adam Mickiewicz, 1828, donation of Władysław Mickiewicz, photo source: National Museum in Cracow

In order to guide English-speakers towards the Polish authors best suited for their specific tastes, Culture.pl has put together an exclusive guide offering historical context and tailor-made recommendations.

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Juliusz Słowacki's Balladyna directed by Krzysztof Garbaczewski at Polski Theatre in Poznań

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