Tuwim, Julian

Tuwim, Julian

(yo͞ol`yän to͞o`vēm), 1894–1953, Polish poet. A leader of the Skamander group of experimental poets, he was also a major figure in his nation's literature. In his principal collection of poetry, Slowa we krwi [words bathed in blood] (1926), he wrote with fervor and violence of the emptiness of urban existence. Tuwim's other works include the collection of poems for children Locomotive (1938, tr. 1940) and brilliant translations of Pushkin and other Russian poets.


See his selected poems, ed. by A. Gillon (tr. 1968).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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.


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.


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