English Section

Seminal work by Polish Romantic poet published in English

29.11.2022 22:30
"Ballady i romanse" (Ballads and Romances), a seminal work by Polish Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz, has been published in an English translation.
Adam Mickiewicz
Adam MickiewiczBiblioteka Narodowa, domena publiczna (polona.org)

Written in 1822, the work ushered in the Romantic movement in Polish literature.

The collection includes all 14 poems of the 1822 edition, plus four ballads added in the so-called Leipzig edition of 1852.

Translator Charles Kraszewski said during the book's launch in London that Mickiewicz’s literary output "is not doomed to be inaccessible to the foreign reader." This is particularly true of Ballads and Romances, he said, whose motifs are similar to those explored by Romantic poets in other countries.

The first ever English translation of Ballady i romanse has been brought out by Glagoslav Publishers, an independent British-Dutch press, in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute in London and Poland's Book Institute.

According to the publisher’s website: “Adam Mickiewicz’s collection of lyrics has the same significance for Polish literature as Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads has for the English. Poems of love, the supernatural, and the exotic, Mickiewicz’s first volume of poetry achieved a level of sublimity that immediately set him at the head of all Polish writers — a position he sustained throughout his life with his lyrical, narrative, dramatic, and epic poetry, and which he continues to hold today.”

Kraszewski’s output as a translator includes Mickiewicz’s two other masterpieces, The Sonnets and the drama Forefathers’ Eve.


Click on the audio player above for an interview with Charles Kraszewski.