Staff, Leopold

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Staff, Leopold


Born Nov. 14, 1878, in Lvov; died May 31, 1957, in Skarzysko-Kamienna. Polish poet.

Staff graduated from the University of Lvov in 1901, making his poetic debut that year with the collection Dreams of Power. Although he shared the symbolist aspirations of the Miada Polska movement, Staff opposed decadence. The collections Blossoming Bough (1908), Smiles of the Hours (1910), and In the Shadow of the Sword (1911) reflect the poet’s preference for the classical tradition, his interest in antiquity and the Renaissance, his affirmation of eternal ethical and aesthetic values, and his perfect craftsmanship.

During World War I, Staff lived in Kharkov, where he wrote civic poetry (Rainbow of Tears and Blood, 1918). His poetry reached its culmination in Tall Trees (1931) and The Color of Honey (1936), in which his philosophic motifs gave way to poetic descriptions of nature and his psychological insights became more evident. The tragedy of the fascist occupation was evoked in the collection Bad Weather (1946). Staffs postwar lyrics, published in the collections Osiers (1954) and Nine Muses (1958), are remarkable for their simplicity and directness in conveying universal human emotions. Staff is also noted for his translations of the works of Michelangelo, Goethe, and R. Rolland. From 1934 to 1939 he served as vice-president of the Polish Academy of Literature. He was awarded the State Prize in 1927,1937, and 1951.


Wierszezebrane, vols. 1–5. Warsaw, 1955.
In Russian translation:
Stikhi. Moscow, 1973.


Bogomolova, N. A. “L. Staff.” In Istoriia pol’skoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1969.
Britanishskii, V. “Klassik neoklassicheskogo veka.” Voprosy literatury, no. 9,1972.
Maciejewska, I. L. Staff: Lwowski okres twórczości. Warsaw, 1965.
Maciejewska, I. L. Staff: Warszawski okres twórczości. Warsaw, 1973.
Kwiatkowski, J. U podstaw liryki L. Staffa. Warsaw, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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