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Jan Kochanowski with his daughter Urszulka, drawing by Kazimierz Władysław Wójcicki, based on a painting by Jan Matejko, 1876, photo: public domain

The history of Polish literature is just about one of the most fascinating out there. Here are some facts about it that will probably change the way you think about Eastern European literature, make you study the history of the region, or just have you reading more Polish books.

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Polish literature, although not as well known as its German and Russian cousins, is one of the gems of European culture. This list covers a very wide range of genres and eras, but any of these books will help you love Poland a little more.

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Translator of Polish literature Ursula Phillips speaks on her life-long fascination with Polish feminist writer Zofia Nałkowska, the differences between Polish and Russian literature, and those terribly difficult Polish names. And what a translator can actually do about them.

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zofia nałkowska, Boundary

Available for the first time in English, this iconic work of Polish feminist fiction describes a transgressive love triangle in a provincial Poland choked by distinctions of class and gender.

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Dzień prania. Fotografia humorystyczna z 1901 roku, fot. Roger-Viollet  / East News

A short history of some of the heroines who fought against “women being sacrificed to the mercy of pots and brooms". Their story comes with a sad moral: many of their demands are still not being met today.

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The cover of the English edition of 'Choucas' by Zofia Nałkowska

The author of several translations of Polish literature has been awarded for her 2014 English version of Zofia Nałkowska’s novel “Choucas”.

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Can you tell your Szymborska from your Sienkiewicz? Do you think you're well-versed (pun totally intended) in your romantics and your modernists? Take our Polish literature quiz to really test your knowledge.

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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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