Antoni Malczewski

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Antoni Malczewski
Antoni Malczewski portret.JPG
Born(1793-06-03)3 June 1793
Volhynia or Warsaw
Died2 May 1826(1826-05-02) (aged 32)
Occupation poet
Nationality Polish
Literary movement Romanticism, Pessimism

Antoni Malczewski (3 June 1793 – 2 May 1826) was a Polish romantic poet, known for his only work, "a narrative poem of dire pessimism", Maria (1825).

Romanticism period of artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that started in 18th century Europe

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.

Pessimism is a negative or depressed mental attitude in which an undesirable outcome is anticipated from a given situation. Pessimists tend to focus on the negatives of life in general. A common question asked to test for pessimism is "Is the glass half empty or half full?"; in this situation a pessimist is said to see the glass as half empty, while an optimist is said to see the glass as half full. Throughout history, the pessimistic disposition has had effects on all major areas of thinking.


At the times, prominent and scandalizing was his autodestructive romance with a married woman, Zofia Rucińska, who had a mental illness.


Malczewski was born to a wealthy family in either Volhynia or Warsaw, and attended school in Krzemieniec (modern-day Kremenets, Ukraine), but did not graduate. [1] He joined the army of the short-lived Duchy of Warsaw during the Napoleonic Wars in 1811, [1] and remained in the army of Congress Poland under Emperor Alexander from 1815. [2] He was wounded in the foot in a duel in 1816 and so had to leave the army. [2]

Volhynia Historical Region

Volhynia, is a historic region in Central and Eastern Europe, situated between south-eastern Poland, south-western Belarus, and western Ukraine. While the borders of the region are not clearly defined, the territory that still carries the name is Volyn Oblast, located in western Ukraine. Volhynia has changed hands numerous times throughout history and been divided among competing powers. At one time all of Volhynia was part of the Pale of Settlement designated by Imperial Russia on its southwestern-most border.

Warsaw Capital of Poland

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.78 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 517.24 square kilometres (199.71 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical old town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Duchy of Warsaw client Napoleonic state from 1807 to 1815

The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony. Following Napoleon's failed invasion of Russia, the duchy was occupied by Prussian and Russian troops until 1815, when it was formally partitioned between the two countries at the Congress of Vienna. It covered the central and eastern part of present Poland and minor parts of present Lithuania and Belarus.

After leaving the army, he spent several years traveling through western Europe, staying some time in Paris, climbing Mont Blanc in 1818, and spending a good portion of his inherited fortune. [1] [2] He returned to his estate in Volhynia in 1821, where he began an ill-fated affair with a married woman and began writing. [1] He moved to Warsaw in 1824, where he published the poetic novel Maria at his own expense in 1825, and died in poverty the next year in unclear circumstances. [1]

Paris Capital and largest city of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres for it commune and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

Mont Blanc Highest mountain in the Alps(4,809 m)

Hey Poppy!


Malczewski's fame rests almost solely upon that of Maria, published near the end of his life and popularized in the decade following his death (an English translation appeared in 1835). Considered a masterpiece of Polish Romanticism, it tells the tale of a young noble woman who marries above her station, and so incurs the wrath of her husband's family, who plot revenge. It is generally held to be most influenced by Lord Byron, whom Malczewski had met in Venice during his travels around western Europe, though it is considerably more gloomy and Gothic than Byron's work. Malczewski is sometimes considered part of the "Ukrainian school" in Polish poetry, though others consider his work to stand uniquely separate. Maria was also influential on later Polish poets, especially Adam Mickiewicz, and on writer Joseph Conrad. [1]

Lord Byron English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet, peer, and politician who became a revolutionary in the Greek War of Independence, and is considered one of the historical leading figures of the Romantic movement of his era. He is regarded as one of the greatest English poets and remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; many of his shorter lyrics in Hebrew Melodies also became popular.

Venice city in northeastern Italy

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.

Gothic fiction genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance

Gothic fiction, which is largely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled "A Gothic Story". The effect of Gothic fiction feeds on a pleasing sort of terror, an extension of Romantic literary pleasures that were relatively new at the time of Walpole's novel. The most common of these 'pleasures' among Gothic readers was the sublime - an indescribable feeling that "takes us beyond ourselves." The literary genre originated in England in the second half of the 18th century where, following Walpole, it was further developed by Clara Reeve, Ann Radcliffe, William Thomas Beckford and Matthew Lewis. The genre had much success in the 19th century, as witnessed in prose by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the works of Edgar Allan Poe as well as Charles Dickens with his novella, A Christmas Carol, and in poetry in the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Lord Byron. Another well known novel in this genre, dating from the late Victorian era, is Bram Stoker's Dracula. The name Gothic, which originally referred to the Goths, and then came to mean "German", refers to the Gothic architecture of the medieval era of European history, in which many of these stories take place. This extreme form of Romanticism was very popular throughout Europe, especially among English- and German-language writers and artists. The English Gothic novel also led to new novel types such as the German Schauerroman and the French roman noir.


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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Christopher John Murray, ed. (2004). "Malczewski, Antoni". Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, 1760-1850. 2. Taylor & Francis. pp. 709–710. ISBN   1-57958-422-5.
  2. 1 2 3 "Malczewski". Meyers Konversations-Lexikon (in German). 11 (4th ed.). 1890. pp. 145–146.