Maria Konopnicka

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Konopnicka, Maria


Born May 23, 1842, in Suwalki; died Oct. 8, 1910, in L’vov. Polish writer.

The daughter of a lawyer, Konopnicka was educated at home. In 1876 she began to publish a series of poems entitled In the Mountains, which was highly praised by H. Sienkiewicz. The principal theme in her works, the life of the rural and urban poor and the importance of serving the people, appeared in her first book of verse, Poetry (vol. 1, 1881), and in the short-story collections Four Stories (1888) and My Friends (1890). Her second and third collections of poems (Poetry; 1883, 1886) show the influence of folklore motifs and poetics, particularly the cycles Pan-pipes, From the Meadows and Fields, From the Hut, On the Dew, and Tears and Songs. After 1890, Konopnicka lived abroad, returning to Galicia in 1902.

Patriotic motifs became more important in her poetry of the 1890’s, mingled with longing for her homeland. Many of her poems of this period were devoted to philosophical themes (Poetry, vol. 4, 1896; Lines and Sounds, 1897). In her prose, Konopnicka explored social conflicts in greater depth, and her psychological portrayals gained complexity. The life of the urban proletariat and the history of the Polish national liberation movement were depicted in the short-story collections On the Road ( 1893), Stories ( 1897), and On the Normandy Beach ( 1904) and in the essays People and Things (1898). Her literary career culminated in the epic poem Mr. Baker in Brazil (1892–1906; complete edition, 1910), dealing with Polish peasant emigrants and reflecting the revolutionary mood of the peasantry. Konopnicka was a leading representative of Polish realism.


Pisma wybrane, vols. 1–7. Warsaw, 1951–52.
Nowele, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Warsaw, 1967.
Poezje, 2nd ed. Warsaw, 1967.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–4. Moscow, 1959.


Piotrovskaia, A. G. “Mania Konopnitskaia.” Istoriia pol’skoi titeratury, vol. 1. Moscow, 1968.
Brodzka, A. M. Konopnicka, 3rd ed. Warsaw, 1965.
Szczepafiska, J. Maria Konopnicka: Poradnik bibliograficzny, 2nd ed. Warsaw, 1965.


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