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Updates made to this page during Summer 2009 are indicated by a red border.

click here to link down  Sitemap (Alpha List)
     click here to link down  Purpose of This Site
          click here to link down  What IS "Polish Literature"?
click here to link down  General Anthologies of Polish Literature
click here to link down  General Polish Literary History and Criticism

I hope that the following pages will open the door to works that will provide great pleasure and a stronger appreciation of the power of Polish literature--and for those authors listed here for whose works English translations aren't currently available in some manner, I hope that we find that situation changing within the near future.

click here for link Alphabetical Listing of Authors
click here for link to Medieval pageMedieval Literature click here for link to 19th c.19th Century Literature
click here for link to 16th c.16th Century Literatureclick here for link to Turn of the CenturyTurn of the Century Literature
click here for link to 17th c.17th Century Literature click here for link to 20th c.20th Century Literature
(to 1980)
click here for link to 18th c.18th Century Literature click here for link to Contemporary Lit.Contemporary Literature
(Main Page) **

 ** The abundance of contemporary literature has required that the Contemporary section of this site be divided into alphabetical subpages; you can access these subpages through the main Contemporary page.

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The treasure-house that is Polish literature is more accessible to English-language readers than many may think. In addition to English translations of the most famous works--works with which Polish literature has tended to be identified--there are many translations of works by far less famous authors. These translations, while often available in print format, are increasingly accessible through the World Wide Web.

My goal in creating this website is to provide as comprehensive a list as possible of works that are currently available through the Web and that are or that until recently have been in print in book format.

For those works available on the Web, this site's subpages provide links to English translations of entire works or excerpts of works. A word of caution, though: I've tried to make available the great number and variety of Web translations, which means that I've chosen not to judge the quality of those translations. While some variations are due to the fact that translation is as much of an art as is the original literary writing, others may be due to language mistakes, typographical errors, and/or less than meticulous editing. Therefore, while one of the marvelous advantages of the Web is that availability of translations of Polish literature is far less dependent on profit-motive, one of its drawbacks is the reduction in the amount and potential quality of editing.

For those translations of Polish works in book format, the site provides bibliographic information; I've chosen not to link to vendors in order not to privilege one over another, and because sometimes what one vendor identifies as out of print or unavailable may not be so. As much as possible, I've tried to verify the status of printed works by checking multiple sources, including publishers' catalogs. However, since I've surely missed works or authors, I invite corrections and additions (see my e-mail address at the bottom of this page).

Regarding works that are published in periodicals: I've included online periodicals as well as print periodicals that also publish online versions.

Finally, many pieces of Polish literature were translated into English in years past. Although no longer in print, they're still accessible through libraries, whether in one's own local library or obtainable through InterLibrary Loan. I'm slowly expanding this bibliography to include these out-of-print books.

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This logical question actually consists of two issues: What constitutes 'literature'? and Which authors (or works) qualify as 'Polish'? Because there is some variation in how "literature" is defined, and because the issue of who is "Polish" is one that could be hotly contested, there may be some disagreements both among browsers of this list and between browsers and me about the appropriate solutions to these issues. I welcome productive and enlightening discussion that would improve the site. At this point, though, I'll explain my rationale for the inclusions and exclusions in the list's current incarnation:

What constitutes 'literature'?

Along with the prose fiction, playscripts, and poems that represent the three primary genres of writing that have tended to be identified with "literature" over the past two centuries, I've included letters, diaries, and personal essays, both by people with an established literary reputation and by those who didn't necessarily intend their writing for publication. The 1791 Constitution, as well as the lyrics to major patriotic and religious hymns and songs, are also on the list; however, at this point in the development of this website, most scientific, political, historical, religious and philosophical treatises are not.

In addition, since I've included audio sources (readings) of works (such as audio versions of Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis), I found it reasonable also to list available cinematic versions of literary works that offer English subtitles.

Which authors (or works) qualify as 'Polish'?

Categorizations of "national literatures" are marked by very fuzzy boundaries and gray areas. Particularly given the fluidity of Polish borders and the 120-year non-existence of a Polish political state, this issue has been more difficult to resolve with any level of satisfaction, particularly in terms of these questions:

The initial versions of the bibliography were restricted to authors who were born in what was considered Polish national or cultural territory at the time of their birth AND who--except for pre-17th century authors writing in Latin--wrote at least some of their works in the Polish language. I've finally begun to add authors born in Polish national/cultural territory who did/do not necessarily write in Polish.

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  Currently or recently in-print book.        Online material (clickable link).        
  Out-of-print book.                                 Material in video format.
  Material in periodical format.               Material in audio format.
                                                                   Material in compact disc format (CD).


list bullet  Bear Now My Soul: Polish Verse. Trans. & Ed. Noel Clark. London: Veritas Foundation. 2001.

list bullet  Dedalus Book of Polish Fantasy. Ed. Wiesiek Powaga. Hippocrene. 1997.

list bullet  The Glass Mountain: Twenty-Eight Ancient Polish Folktales and Fables. Ed. W. S. Kuniczak. Hippocrene. 1997.

list bullet  Polish Treasury of Love Poems. Ed. Mirosław Lipinski. Hippocrene. 1997. Audio.

list bullet   Polish Writers on Writing. Ed. Adam Zagajewski. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press. 2007.

list bullet  Russian and Polish Women's Fiction. Ed. Helena Goscilo. University of Tennessee Press. 1985.

list bullet  Selected Polish Tales. Trans. Else Benecke and Marie Busch. World Literature CD. B&R Samizdat Express. Windows-compatible CD-ROM.

list bullet  Stranger in Our Midst: Images of the Jew in Polish Literature. Ed. Harold B. Segel. Cornell University Press. 1996.

list bullet  Treasury of Polish Love Poems. Vol. 2. Ed. Mirosław Lipinski. Hippocrene. 2003.

list bullet  Treasury of Classic Polish Love Stories in Polish and English. Ed. Mirosław Lipinski. New York: Hippocrene. 1997.

list bullet  Treasury of Polish Love Poems, Quotations and Proverbs (bilingual). Ed. Mirosław Lipinski. Hippocrene. 1994.

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   Bacacay: the Polish Literature Weblog. New York, NY: Polish Cultural Institute.

   Barańczak, Stanisław. "Polish Poetry." From The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Instytut Książki.

   Bates, John M. Articles on censorship in Poland through the centuries. School of Modern Languages and Cultures, Slavonic Studies. University of Glasgow.

list bullet & link  Cieślak, Stanisław. "Religiosity in Polish Literature." Values in the Polish Cultural Tradition. Ed. Leon Dyczewski. Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.

list bullet  Czerwinski, E.J., ed. Dictionary of Polish Literature. Greenwood Press. 1994.

list bullet  Miłosz, Czesław. The History of Polish Literature. 2nd. ed. University of California Press. 1984.

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   American Center of Polish Culture (Washington, DC, USA).

   American Institute of Polish Culture.

   BellaOnline's Polish Culture section.

   Copernicus Foundation (Chicago, Illinois, USA).

   Kosciuszko Foundation (New York, New York, USA).

   PIASA--Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (New York, New York, USA).

   InfoPoland. Polish Academic Information Center. University at Buffalo (New York, USA).

   Polish American Cultural Center (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA).

   Polish American Historical Association.

   Polish American Journal.

   Polish Cultural Institute (London, England).

   Polish Culture. Jagoda Urban-Klaehn and Nancy Maciolek Blake.

   Polish News (USA).

   Polonia Today Online.

   Sarmatian Review.

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Last updated: Summer 2009
© Constance J. Ostrowski

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