Zofia Nalkowska

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nałkowska, Zofia


Born Nov. 10, 1884, in Warsaw; died there Dec. 17, 1954. Polish writer.

The daughter of the scholar and publicist W. Nałkowski, Nałkowska studied the humanities in Warsaw. She participated in demonstrations against the sanacja regime in the 1930’s, and was elected a deputy to the Sejm in the Polish People’s Republic. Nałkowska’s first works appeared in 1898. Her early works, notably Women (1906; Russian translation, 1907) and Narcyza (1910), explore the psychology of love and are written in the lyrical and symbolic style characteristic of the Young Poland movement. In her mature realistic social and psychological novels—Teresa Gennert’s Love Affair (1923; Russian translation, 1926) and The Boundary Line (1935; Russian translation, 1960) —Nałkowska depicts various aspects of social and political life in bourgeois Poland. She returned to the themes of her early works in the novels Unwholesome Love (1928) and The Impatient Ones (1938) and in the play The House of Women (1930).

Nalkowska’s novel Knots of Life (1948; revised edition, vols. 1–2, 1950–54) exposes the bourgeois rulers who brought Poland to the national catastrophe of 1939. Her collection of essays Medallions (1946) describes the atrocities of the fascist occupation forces. She is the author of the collections of publicistic and critical articles Far and Near (published 1957) and Diaries of the War Period (published 1970). Nalkowska was awarded the State Prize of the Polish People’s Republic in 1953.


Pisma wybrane, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Warsaw, 1956.
Istoriia pol’skoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1969.
Korzeniewska, E. Z. Nałkowska. Lodz, 1949.
Wójcik, W. “Psychologia, realizm, polityka.” In Prozaicy dwudziestolecia miedzywojennego. Warsaw, 1972.
Wspomnienia o Z. Nałkowskiej. Warsaw, 1965.
Brudnicki, J. Zofia Nałkowska, 2nd ed. Warsaw, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Zofia Nalkowska. Translated by Megan Thomas and Ewa Malachowska-Pasek
Through her research and analysis of the five prominent Polish writers and non-victims living in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation, Brenner suggests that these diarists' (Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, Maria Dijbrowska, Aurelia Wylezynska, Zofia Nalkowska, and Stanislaw Rembek) "contemporaneous responses to the Jewish genocide deepen our understanding of the ethical, mental, and emotional challenges that face any witness of terror" (4).
The diaries kept by Zofia Nalkowska, Maria Dabrowska, Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, Stanislaw Rembeka, Leopold Buczkowski, Karol Irzykowski and Anna Kowalska are so interesting and unusual because they present the Holocaust from the closest possible time perspective.
A few names are usually mentioned, namely: Tadeusz Borowski, Czeslaw Milosz, Henryk Grynberg, less often Wladyslaw Szlengel, Zofia Nalkowska, Adolf Rudnicki or Andrzej Szczypiorski.
The book is a hard read; in the words of Zofia Nalkowska (pronounced in the context of another genocide), "human beings prepared this fate for other human beings." The editor, whose family came from Ukraine and who together with other Polish survivors escaped to the city of Wroclaw (ceded to Poland by the Great Powers after the Second World War), provides a foreword and an emotional dedication as follows: "I dedicate this volume to Colonel Jan Niewinski, a member of the Borderlands Self-defense in the town of Rybcza; to other defenders of the Polish Borderlands; and to the nearly two hundred thousand Poles murdered so cruelly by the OUN-UPA [Ukrainian Revolutionary Army] and SS 'Galizien'--those who fell undefended by a human hand or by human conscience."
She is the translator of Zofia Nalkowska 's short story collection, Medallions, and Ryszard Kapuscinski's selected poetry, I Wrote Stone.
It was a golden age of women's literature, characterized by the poetry of Maria Konopnicka, as well as the novels of Orzeszkowa, Gabriela Zapolska and Zofia Nalkowska, just to name a few.
(71) There were tensions, moreover, between liberal nationalists, mainstream political feminists and radical anti-male feminists in the movement, represented by the figures of Moszczenska, Kuczalska-Reinschmit, and Zofia Nalkowska, respectively.
In this he resembles a number of authors, who, right after the war, tended to see the Holocaust in universal rather than specific terms, like, for instance, a Polish woman writer, Zofia Nalkowska, whose Medallions, written in 1946, has just been published in English and who uses as a motto the words: "And the people did all that to people." Moreover, in the poetic invocation to the book, Levi stresses specifically the terrible plight of the incarcerated women dehumanized by the Nazis.