Aleksander Fredro

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Aleksander Fredro
Born(1793-06-20)20 June 1793
Surochów near Jarosław
Died15 July 1876(1876-07-15) (aged 83)
Language Polish
Nationality Polish
Notable works Zemsta (The Revenge)

Aleksander Fredro (20 June 1793 – 15 July 1876) was a Polish poet, playwright and author active during Polish Romanticism in the period of partitions by neighboring empires. His works including plays written in the octosyllabic verse ( Zemsta ) and in prose (Damy i Huzary) as well as fables, belong to the canon of Polish literature. Fredro was harshly criticized by some of his contemporaries for light-hearted humor or even alleged immorality (Seweryn Goszczyński, 1835) which led to years of his literary silence. Many of Fredro's dozens of plays were published and popularized only after his death. His best-known works have been translated into English, French, German, Russian, Czech, Romanian, Hungarian and Slovak. [1]

A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes plays. One of the most famous playwrights is William Shakespeare,(1564-1616).

Romanticism in Poland

Romanticism in Poland, a literary, artistic and intellectual period in the evolution of Polish culture, began around 1820, coinciding with the publication of Adam Mickiewicz's first poems in 1822. It ended with the suppression of the Polish-Lithuanian January 1863 Uprising against the Russian Empire in 1864. The latter event ushered in a new era in Polish culture known as Positivism.

Partitions of Poland Forced partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years. The partitions were conducted by Habsburg Austria, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures and annexations.



Count Aleksander Fredro, of the Bończa coat of arms, was born in the village of Surochów near Jarosław, then a crown territory of Austria. A landowner's son, he was educated at home. He entered the Polish army at age 16 and saw action in the Napoleonic wars, including the Moscow campaign. His memoir Topsy Turvy Talk, which echoes the style of Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy , recounts his military experiences during Bonaparte's last campaign. While in France in 1814, he took an active interest in French drama. After leaving the army he settled on his estate and began as a writer.

Bończa coat of arms

Bończa is a Polish coat of arms.

Jarosław Place in Subcarpathian Voivodeship, Poland

Jarosław is a town in south-eastern Poland, with 38,970 inhabitants, as of 30 June 2014. Situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, previously in Przemyśl Voivodeship (1975–1998), it is the capital of Jarosław County.

Cisleithania The Austrian Empire without the Kingdom of Hungary

Cisleithania was a common yet unofficial denotation of the northern and western part of Austria-Hungary, the Dual Monarchy created in the Compromise of 1867—as distinguished from Transleithania, i.e. the Hungarian Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen east of ("beyond") the Leitha River.

Fredro made his literary debut in 1817, but he was not interested in the problems of Romanticism. He wrote social comedies about the lifestyle of the Polish nobility and is known for his skill in characterization and plot, as well as the flexibility of his language. His work also features humor typical of folk theatre from the Romantic period, and a fast-paced farce with varying degrees of sophistication.

Comedy Genre of dramatic works intended to be humorous

In a modern sense, comedy is a genre of fiction that refers to any discourse or work generally intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, especially in theatre, television, film, stand-up comedy, books and novels or any other medium of entertainment. The origins of the term are found in Ancient Greece. In the Athenian democracy, the public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. The theatrical genre of Greek comedy can be described as a dramatic performance which pits two groups or societies against each other in an amusing agon or conflict. Northrop Frye depicted these two opposing sides as a "Society of Youth" and a "Society of the Old." A revised view characterizes the essential agon of comedy as a struggle between a relatively powerless youth and the societal conventions that pose obstacles to his hopes. In this struggle, the youth is understood to be constrained by his lack of social authority, and is left with little choice but to take recourse in ruses which engender very dramatic irony which provokes laughter.

Farce Comedy genre

In theatre, a farce is a comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus improbable. Farce is also characterized by physical humor, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances. It is also often set in one particular location, where all events occur. Farces have been written for the stage and film.

Two of Fredro's fables, The Monkey in the Bath (Małpa w kąpieli) and Paul and Gawel (Paweł i Gaweł), belong to the most popular children's stories in the country. [1] His best-known comedy, Zemsta (The Revenge), was adapted for the screen in Poland by eminent film director Andrzej Wajda in 2002.

Childrens literature stories, books, and poems that are enjoyed by and targeted primarily towards children

Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems that are enjoyed by children. Modern children's literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader.

Zemsta 1838 play written by Aleksander Fredro

Zemsta(Revenge) is a Polish comedy by Aleksander Fredro, a Polish poet, playwright and author active during Polish Romanticism in the period of partitions. Zemsta belongs to the canon of Polish literature. It is a play in four acts, written in the octosyllabic verse mostly in the vernacular of Lesser Poland (Małopolska); filled with proverbs and paraphrased allusions.

<i>The Revenge</i> (film) 2002 film by Andrzej Wajda

The Revenge is the English title for Zemsta, a film released in 2002, directed by Andrzej Wajda. This film is an adaptation of a perennially popular stage farce of the same name by the Polish dramatist and poet Aleksander Fredro.

Aleksander Fredro Monument, moved from Lviv (Ukraine) to Wroclaw (Poland) after World War II A.Fredro monument in Breslau.jpg
Aleksander Fredro Monument, moved from Lviv (Ukraine) to Wrocław (Poland) after World War II
Memorial plaque to Alexander Fredro (1793-1876) at the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption in Rudky Memorial plaque to Alexander Fredro in Rudky.jpg
Memorial plaque to Alexander Fredro (1793-1876) at the Roman Catholic Church of the Assumption in Rudky

Fredro was the maternal grandfather of the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. He was commemorated on a Polish postage stamp issued in 1978.

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Church

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church. It is the second-largest particular church in the Catholic Church. It is part of the Major Archiepiscopal Churches of the Catholic Church that are not distinguished with a patriarchal title.

Andrey Sheptytsky Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Andrey Sheptytsky, O.S.B.M., was the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from 1901 until his death in 1944. His tenure spanned two world wars and seven political regimes: Austrian, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Soviet, General Government (Nazi), and again Soviet.

He died on 15 July 1876 in Lviv and was buried in a family grave in Catholic Church of the Assumption of Rudky.


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  1. 1 2 Halina Floryńska-Lalewicz (May 2004). "Aleksander Fredro - życie i twórczość (Life and Work)" (in Polish). Olsztyńskie Towarzystwo Inicjatyw Kulturalnych - Kulturalna Polska. Retrieved December 9, 2012.