Józef Ignacy Kraszewski was a writer, journalist, painter, illustrator, musician, and collector. He was born on 28th July 1812 in Warsaw, and he died on 19th March 1887 in Geneva.
Writer, journalist, painter, illustrator, musician, collector.
He was a writer with an impressive literary output. He wrote more than 220 novels in about 400 volumes and about 150 short stories, novels, pictures, and that is barely half of his legacy.
Bibliographies of Kraszewski’s works also include his dramatic works (over 20); volumes of travel accounts and memoirs from different periods of life (10); volumes of social and political commentaries (about 10, including 5 thick volumes of ‘Accounts’ from the years 1866-1869); more than 20 volumes of scientific papers on the history of Poland and Lithuania, histories of literature and culture, linguistics and ethnography; poetry collections (about 20) including 3 large volumes of epic Anafielas about the history of ancient Lithuania; 21 translations from 5 languages (English, French, Latin, German and Italian), 42 editorial works, including: Athenaeum bi-monthly magazine, (1841-1851), Gazeta Codzienna (1853-1863, published from 1862 as Gazeta Polska) and Dresden Week (1870-1871).
He was also a journalist, painter, cartoonist, a virtuoso amateur composer, and serious collector of drawings, sketches, medals, and prints.
Ja nie jestem pono ani literatem, ani artystą, / I'm not a writer nor an artist,
choć piszę wiele i kocham wszelkie piękno – / Although I write a lot and I love all the beauty –
ja jestem człowiekiem mojego wieku, / I am a man of my age,
dzieckiem narodu mego. / a child of my nation.
(Józef Ignacy Kraszewski)
The villa at 28 Nordstrasse in Dresden where the writer lived between 1873 and 1879 is now the Museum of Ignacy Kraszewski.
The most important dates in the life of Ignacy Kraszewski:
- 1812 – Born in Warsaw on 28th July
- 1812-1826 – Childhood in Romanów with grandparents Malscy (location of the oldest museum in Kraszewski)
- 1829 – Begins studies at the University of Vilnius, Faculty of Medicine, after one year at the Faculty of Literature.
- 1830 – Arrested for participating in the secret youth movement (which is related to the outbreak of the November Uprising), released from prison in 1832; By mid–1833 under police supervision
- 1835 – Writes the novel Poeta i Świat / Poet and the World (1839, translated into seven languages during the author’s lifetime), prepares two volumes of poetry (published in 1838);
- 1836 – Beginning of long–term cooperation with the weekly Tygodnik Petersburski
- 1837-1860 – Volhynia period and wedding with Zofia Woronicz (1838), Omelno property lease, manages a farm in Gródek, Hubin, settles in Zhitomir; creates numerous literary (novels, articles, travel memories) and editorial works (in 1841–46 he edited the Athenaeum, A Collection of Historical, Philosophical, Literary, and Artistic Works; the birth of four children – Konstancja, Jan, Franciszek and Augusta Maria.
- 1860-1863 – Warsaw period – from September 1859 he works as an editor at the daily Gazeta Codzienna in Warsaw (Gazeta Polska since 1861), his travels in Europe results in correspondence in the press. In 1861, he became a member of the City Delegation who held the city board before the outbreak of the January Uprising; he leaves Warsaw in January 1863 to avoid being sent to Siberia.
- 1863-1885 – Dresden period – he works for expatriates from Poland, as Boleslawita he publishes novels related to the January Uprising, numerous journalistic works (eg. ‘Accounts’),
- 1868-1871 – Buys and runs a printing house in Dresden, he publishes his own journal Week, 1874–1876, writes and publishes the famous Saxon trilogy (Countess Cosel, Brühl, From the Seven Years' War),
- 1876 – An Ancient Tale begins a cycle of 29 works from the history of Poland; he travels through Europe and Poland (Wielkopolska, Galicia),
- 1879 – Goes to Kraków for the solemn celebration of the 50th anniversary of his works, which becomes a nationwide patriotic demonstration;
- 1883 – Accused of espionage for France, he is arrested and sentenced to 3.5 years of imprisonment in Magdeburg.
- 1885 – After paying a high bail he leaves the prison, goes for foreign treatment and despite the demands of the German authorities he does not return.
- 1887 – Dies in Geneva on 19th March.
Author: Elżbieta Szymańska, Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature in Warsaw, August 2005.