Juliusz Slowacki

Słowacki, Juliusz

 

Born Sept. 4, 1809, in Krzemieniec, present-day Ternopol’ Oblast, Ukrainian SSR; died Apr. 3, 1849, in Paris. Polish poet.

The son of a professor, Słowacki graduated from the law faculty of the University of Vilnius in 1828. His early narrative poems, notably Hugo (1829) and Jan Bielecki (1830), were clearly romantic in style. In his first dramas, the tragedies Mary Stuart (1830) and Mindaugas, King of Lithuania (1831), Słowacki portrayed political conflicts and human passions. He responded to the Polish Uprising of 1830–31 with a cycle of patriotic poems, of which the most famous is the “Ode to Freedom” (1830). In 1831, Słowacki emigrated.

Along with A. Mickiewicz, Słowacki was the leading exponent of revolutionary romanticism. His lyrical masterpiece was the narrative poem In Switzerland, published in 1839. In the 1840’s, Słowacki created a romantic repertoire for the Polish theater. In his narrative poems Lambro (1833) and Anhelli (1838) and in his tragedies Kordian (1834) and Horsztyński (written 1835, published 1881), Słowacki criticized the nobility’s role in the liberation movement. He attacked clericalism and advocated popular revolution in such political lyrics as the Answer to the “Psalms of the Future” (1845–48).

Słowacki wrote a cycle of fairy-tale and fantasy plays, of which the best known are Balladyna (1834, published 1839) and Lilla Weneda (1840). Realistic elements are discernible in the play Fantasies (1841). Patriotic grief and revolutionary steadfastness infuse many of his lyric poems, notably “Hymn” (written 1836, published 1839) and “My Legacy” (1839–40). Słowacki also left behind fragments of historical prose. The summit of his creative aspirations is the unfinished narrative poem Beniowski (1840–41; published 1841; Russian translation, 1973), remarkable for its mastery of poetic technique.

Although they are tinged with religious mysticism, Słowacki’s later plays continue to reflect his patriotic ideals (Father Marek, 1843) and his concern with social conflicts (The Silver Dream of Solomea, 1844). The lyrics written from the mid-1840’s are filled with cosmic imagery, prophetic fervor, and a tense expectation of a revolutionary upheaval. The epic Spirit King, which was to be a synthesis of Słowacki’s philosophical and historical views, was never completed.

For a long time Słowacki was little known in Russia. At the turn of the century his works attracted the attention of the Russian symbolists K. D. Bal’mont and V. Ia. Briusov. The best translations of Słowacki, done by the poets A. A. Akhmatova, B. L. Pasternak, and L. N. Martynov, appeared after World War II.

WORKS

Dzieła, vols. 1-14, 3rd ed. Wrocław, 1959.
Dzieła wszystkie, vols. 1–15, 2nd ed. Wrocław, 1952–63.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. soch., vols. 1–2, Moscow, 1960.
Lirika. Moscow, 1966.
Stikhi: Mariia Stiuart. Moscow, 1975.

REFERENCES

Stakheev, B. F. “Iu. Slovatskii.” In Istoriia pol’skoi literatury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968.
Levins’ka, S. Y. luliush Slovats’kyi: Zhyttia i tvorchyi shliakh. Kiev, 1973.
Verves, G. D. luliush Slovats’kyi i Ukraina. Kiev, 1959.
Iu. Slovatskii: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1959.
Kleiner, J. Słowacki: Dzieje twórczości, vols. 1–4. L’vov-Warsaw-Kraków, 1924-28.
Kalendarz życia i twórczości J. Słowackiego. Wrocław, 1960.
Treugutt, S. “Beniowski”: Kryzys indywidualizmu romantycznego. Warsaw, 1964.
Sawrymowicz, E. J. Słowacki, 4th ed. Warsaw, 1973. (With bibliography.)

B. F. STAKHEEV

References in periodicals archive ?
Amongst them there were the most prominent representatives of Polish romanticism such as Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki, Zygmunt Krasinski, and Cyprian Kamil Norwid, to mention but a few poets, and, of course, Fryderyk Chopin whose talent outshone many of Polish musicians who were already active in Paris and who achieved a notably high position there due to their appearances, performances, and publications.
Exile has been the heritage shared by many of the most creative and influential representatives of Polish culture, the composer and pianist Frederic Chopin (1810-1849), and the national bards Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), Juliusz Slowacki (1809-1849) and Cyprian Norwid (1821-1883) in the nineteenth century and such notable writers in the twentieth century as Witold Gombrowicz, Slawomir Mrozek, Alexander Wat, and Czeslaw Milosz.
3 event took place at Krakow's elegant Opera House and the nearby Juliusz Slowacki Theatre.
The culture ranged from the poetry of Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Slowacki (who in an 1848 poem predicted a liberating "Slavic Pope, a brother of the people") to the heroic-Romantic paintings of artists like Josef Brandt, to the Christmas koleda or carols set to Tatra mountain folk music.
Another writer viewed by traditionalists as asexual, Polish romantic poet Juliusz Slowacki (1892-1941), was born and bred in Ukraine.
Fenimore Cooper, Stephen Crane, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gustave Flaubert, Margaret Fuller, Wolfgang Goethe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Hazlitt, Wictor Hugo, Washington Irving, Anna Jameson, John Keats, Zygmunt Krasinski, de Lautramont, Giacomo Leopardi, Stephane Mallarme, Charles Robert Maturin, Herman Melville, Tadeusz Micinski, Adam Mickiewicz, Francis Parkman, Edgar Allan Poe, Stanislaw Przybyszewski, Aleksander Puszkin, Thomas De Quincey, Artur Rimbaud, John Ruskin, Friedrich Schiller, Walter Scott, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Juliusz Slowacki, Stendhal, Henry David Thoreau, William Wordsworth.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, May 1-2, Spring Ballet Festival, Juliusz Slowacki Theatre, Plac Sw.
The author erroneously attributes the quotation on page 63: it was Adam Mickiewicz, not Juliusz Slowacki, who wrote that Chopin was wasting his talent by catering to aristocratic taste, rather than sowing rebellion with his music (as testified by Mickiewicz's son in his Pamietniki [Memoirs]).
Poland's greatest Romantic poets, Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855) and Juliusz Slowacki (1809-49), spent their most active years as exiles in Paris and enjoyed uneasy relations with the Roman Catholic hierarchy.