Julian Tuwim


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Tuwim, Julian

 

Born Sept. 13, 1894, in Lódz; died Dec. 27, 1953, in Zakopane. Polish poet.

Tuwim studied in the faculties of law and philosophy of the University of Warsaw from 1916 to 1918. He first published his works in 1913. In 1920 he helped found the poetry group Ska-mander, which defended the “poetry of everyday life” and opposed the traditions of the Mloda Polska (Young Poland) movement. Tuwim’s early works, which were influenced by W. Whitman and A. Rimbaud, were optimistic in tone; they included the collections Lurking God (1918), The Dancing Socrates (1920), The Seventh Autumn (1922), and A Fourth Volume of Verses (1923).

Tuwim brought poetry closer to the people, using the colloquial speech of the street and introducing a new hero—the city dweller. Beginning in the second half of the 1920’s, his works revealed a reflective quality and a striving for poetic clarity and harmony, for example, the collections Words Bathed in Blood (1926), The Czarnolesie Affair (1929), The Vagabonds’ Bible (1933), and Burning Contents (1936). Tuwim also stressed democratic themes and the poetry of simple human feelings. He devoted more attention to controversial social topics and harshly criticized the petite bourgeoisie. In the 1930’s he came to the defense of the humanist and cultural values threatened by fascism. His satirical narrative poem The Opera Party (1936, published 1946), which was banned by the censors, exposed the Polish ruling clique.

During World War II (1939–45), Tuwim emigrated and worked for antifascist causes. He wrote the unfinished lyrical-epic poem Polish Flowers (published 1949). He returned to Poland in 1946 and published the cycle From the New Poems (1953), which praises the achievements of people’s Poland and the friendship between the Soviet and Polish peoples.

Tuwim translated works of Russian and Soviet literature, including The Tale of Igor’s Campaign, A. S. Griboedov’s Woe From Wit, N. V Gogol’s The Inspector-General, and poems by A. S. Pushkin, N. A. Nekrasov, V. V. Mayakovsky, B. L. Pasternak, A. T. Tvardovskii, and M. F. Ryl’skii. He was the author of popular poems for children and books on the history of the mores and the language and literature of Poland.

Tuwim was awarded the State Prize of the People’s Republic of Poland in 1951.

WORKS

Dzieia, vols. 1–5. Warsaw, 1955–64.
Zrosyjskiego, vols. 1–3. Warsaw, 1954.
In Russian translation:
Stikhi. [Introductory article by D. Samoilov.] Moscow, 1965.
“Tsvety Pol’shi: Fragmenty poemy.” Moscow, 1971. In J. Tuwim, W. Broniewski, and K. I. Galczyriski, Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1975.

REFERENCES

Zhivov, M. Iulian Tuvim. Moscow, 1963.
Koltasheva, I. “Iulian Tuvim.” In Istoriia pol’skoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1969.
Glowiñski, M. Poetyka Tuwima a polska tradycja literacka. Warsaw, 1962.
Wspomnienia o Julianie Tuwimie. Warsaw, 1963.
Sandauer, A. “Julian Tuwim.” In his Poeci trzech pokolett, 3rd ed. Warsaw, 1966.
Stradecki, J. Julian Tuwim: Bibliografía. Warsaw, 1959.
Sawicka, J. “Filozofiaslowa” Juliana Tuwima. Wroclaw, 1975.
Warnieñska, M. Warsztat czarodzieja. Lódz, 1975.

B. A. KHOREV

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From this enthusiastically celebratory approach there is but a short passage to the fascination with city life which appears in the work of two modern Polish poets, seemingly at loggerheads on esthetics: the Skamandrist Julian Tuwim and the chief representative of the Cracow Avant-garde, Julian Przybos.