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History of Polish literature

Overview of resources on Polish literature at IU Libraries

Henryk Sienkiewicz

Henryk Sienkiewicz

Henryk Sienkiewicz was born in Wola Okrzejska, Congress Poland, in 1846, and died in Switzerland in 1916, having never known an independent Poland.  He is best known internationally for his historical novels, although he began his writing career as a journalist and travel essayist.

2016 has been voted the Year of Sienkiewicz by the Polish Senate.


Title. (Original publication date.) 

Call numbers of editions at IUL (Wells Library, unless otherwise noted)

Ogniem i Mieczem. (1884)

PG7158.S5 O3 1968 v.1-2

PG7158.S5 O4 2000

Potop. (1886)

PG7158.S5 P8 v.1-6 (ALF)

PG7158.S5 P8 1968 v.1-3

PG7158.S5 P8 2004

Pan Wołodyjowski. (1888)

PG7158.S5 P2 1955 (ALF)

PG7158.S5 P2 1968 (ALF)

PG7158.S4 P25165 1974 (ALF)

Bez dogmatu. (1891)

PG7158.S5 B4 2005

Rodzina Połanieckich. (1894)

PG7158.S5 R6 v.1-3

Quo Vadis. (1895)

PG7158.S5 Q9 1897a v.1-3 (ALF)

PG7158.S5 Q9 1955 (ALF)

PG7158.S4 Q4 1970 (ALF)

PG7158.S4 Q4 1973

PG7158.S5 Q43 2001

PG7158.S5 Q43 2002

Krzyżacy: Powieść w Czterech Tomach.(1900)

PG7158.S5 K7 1960 v.1-2 (ALF)

PG7158.S5 K7 1963 v.1-2 (ALF)

PG7158.S5 K7 1965 (ALF)

PG7158.S5 K9 1968 v.1-2

PG7158.S5 K7 2004

Na polu chwały. (1906)

PG7158.S5 N42 1986

W pustyni i w puszczy. (1912)

PG7158.S5 W11 (ALF)

PG7158.S5 W11 1993

PG7158.S4 W2 2006

Sienkiewicz Nobel portrait

Sienkiewicz won the 1905 Nobel Prize in Literature for his "outstanding merits as an epic writer."  The Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Carl David af Wirsén, stated in his presentation address the following:

"Wherever the literature of a people is rich and inexhaustible, the existence of that people is assured, for the flower of civilization cannot grow on barren soil. But in every nation there are some rare geniuses who concentrate in themselves the spirit of the nation; they represent the national character to the world. Although they cherish the memories of the past of that people, they do so only to strengthen its hope for the future. Their inspiration is deeply rooted in the past, like the oaktree of Baublis in the desert of Lithuania, but the branches are swayed by the winds of the day. Such a representative of the literature and intellectual culture of a whole people is the man to whom the Swedish Academy has this year awarded the Nobel Prize. He is here and his name is Henryk Sienkiewicz."

To read the entire text of the presentation address:

Sienkiewicz read a short lecture in Polish at the Nobel banquent:

"This homage has been rendered not to me - for the Polish soil is fertile and does not lack better writers than me - but to the Polish achievement, the Polish genius. For this I should like to express my most ardent and most sincere gratitude as a Pole to you gentlemen, the members of the Swedish Academy, and I conclude by borrowing the words of Horace: «Principibus placuisse non ultima laus est»."

To read the entire text of his lecture in English:


Dziki, Waldemar, et al. W Pustyni i w Puszczy: In Desert and Wilderness. [United States]: Vanguard Cinema, 2003. (Foreign - DVD - Browsing)

Frykowski, Jerzy K, et al. Ogniem i Mieczem: With Fire and Sword. Widescreen. Sarasota, FL: Polart Distribution (USA) Inc., 2003. (PN1997 .O33 2003 v.1; PN1997 .O33 2003 v.2)  Also available through the Russian & East European Institute.

Hoffman, Jerzy, et al. Potop: The Deluge. Widescreen. Sarasota, FL: Polart Distribution (USA) Inc., 2003. (PN1997 .P689 2003 v.1; PN1997 .P689 2003 v.2)

Hoffman, Jerzy, et al. Pan Wołodyjowski: Colonel Wolodyjowski. Widescreen letterbox. Sarasota, FL: Polart Distribution (USA) Inc., 2003. (PN1997 .P2655 2003)

Kawalerowicz, Jerzy, et al. Quo Vadis. Aptos, CA: MGE Inc., 2003. (PN1992.77 .Q86 2003)

Władysław Reymont

Władysław Reymont photographic portrait

Born Stanisław Władysław Rejment in 1867, in Kobiele Wielkie, Congress Poland, Władysław Reymont won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1924, six years after the formation of the Second Polish Republic at the close of World War I.  He died in 1925 in Warsaw.

Title. (Original publication date.)

Call numbers of editions at IUL (Wells Library, unless otherwise noted)

Komediantka. (1896.)

PG7158.R4 K6 1989

Ziemia obiecana. (1899.)

PG7158.R4 Z54 1987 v. 1-2

PG7158.R4 Z54 1996

Chłopi. (1904-1909)

PG7158.R4 C5 1944 v.1-4 (ALF)

PG7158.R4 C5 v.1-4 (ALF)

PG7158.R4 C5 1952 v.1-4 (ALF)

PG7158.R4 C5 1977 v.1-2

PG7158.R4 C5 1991 v. 1-2

Wampir. (1911)

PG7158.R4 W366 2003

Pisma. (1968)

PG7158 .R4 1968 v.1-11

Title. translator. (Original publication date.)

Call numbers of editions at IUL (Wells, unless otherwise noted.)

The Comédienne. Edmund Obecny. (1920.)

PG7158.R4 K62

The Peasants : Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer: A Tale of our Own TimeMichael Henry Dziewicki.  [1925?]

PG7158.R4 C52 v.-4 (ALF)

PG7158.R4 C52 1938

The Promised Land. Michael Henry Dziewicki. (1927)

PG7158.R4 Z62 v.1-2 (ALF)

Reymont portrait by Leon Wyczółkowski

Reymont won the 1924 Nobel Prize in Literature for his "great national epic, The Peasants (Chłopi)."  Per Hallström, Chairman of the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy, stated in his critical essay on Reymont the following:

"Chlopi (1904-09) [The Peasants], in the final form in which we have it, would hardly be conceivable without the lessons that Reymont learned from Zola's work as a whole - its searching description of the environment, its orchestral mass effects, its uncompromising verism, and the harmonious working together of external nature and human life. Nevertheless Chlopi, rather than turning out to be a naturalistic novel, has taken on epic proportions - certainly naturalistic in method but epic in scope."

To read the entire text of the critical essay:

Due to the illness that would shortly take his life, there was no banquet ceremony for Reymont and therefore no Nobel lecture. However, he did provide an autobiographical sketch to the Nobel committee that can be read in its entirety here:

Wajda, Andrzej, et al. Ziemia Obiecana: Promised Land. Director's cut. Costa Mesa, CA: Vanguard Cinema, 2002. (Foreign - DVD - Browsing)

Czesław Miłosz

Czeslaw Milosz

Born in 1911 in Šeteniai in the Russian Empire (in modern-day Lithuania), Czesław Miłosz won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980.  More than an internationally-revered poet and prose writer and thinker, he was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California in Berkeley and served as a cultural attaché following World War II.  He died in 2004 in Krakow.

Title. (Original publication date.)

Call numbers of editions at IUL (Wells Library, unless otherwise noted)

Zniewolony umysł. (1953)

DK411 .M48 1953 (LILLY)

DK4437 .M54 1999

Światło dzienne. (1953)

PG7158.M553 S85 1953 (LILLY)

Zdobycie władzy. (1955)

PG7158.M553 Z39 1955 (LILLY)

PG7158.M65 Z3 (ALF)

PG7158.M65 Z3 1999

Dolina Issy(1955)

PG7158.M553 D6 1955 (LILLY)

PG7158.M65 D6 1966

PG7158.M553 D6 1981a (LILLY)

PG7158.M65 D6 1998

Traktat poetycki(1957)

PG7158.M553 T7 1957 (LILLY)

Kontynenty (1958)

PG7158.M553 K6 1958 (LILLY)

PG7158.M65 A6 1999

Rodzinna Europa. (1959)

PG7158.M553 R69 1959 (LILLY)

PG7158.M65 Z5

Król Popiel: i inne wiersze. (1960)

PG7158.M65 K7 (ALF)

Człowiek wśród skorpionów: studium o Stanisławie Brzozowskim. (1962)

PG7158.B894 Z87 1962 (LILLY)

PG6064.B78 M66 (ALF)

PG7158.B894 Z75 1982 (LILLY)


PG7158.M65 W5 (ALF)

Widzenia nad zatoką San Francisco(1969)

E169.12 .M662 (ALF)

E169.12 .M55 1969 (LILLY)

PG7158.M65 W48 1989

Miasto bez imienia; poezje. (1969)

PG7158.M65 M5 (ALF)

Prywatne obowiązki. (1972)

PG7158.M65 A16 1972 (ALF)

PG7158.M65 A16 2001

Gdzie wschodzi słońce i kędy zapada. (1974)

PG7158.M553 G4 1974 (LILLY)

PG7158.M65 G4 (ALF)

Utwory poetyckie. (1976)

PG7158.M65 U8

Ziemia Ulro. (1977)

PG7158.M65 Z35 (ALF)

PG7158.M553 Z2 1982 (LILLY)

PG7158.M65 Z35 2000

Ogród nauk. (1979)

PN517 .M47 1986 (ALF)

PN517 .M47 1998

Wiersze zebrane. (1980)

PG7158.M65 A17 1980 v.1-2

Poezje. (1981)

PG7158.M553 A17 1981 (LILLY)

Hymn o perle. (1982)

PG13 .M59 no.21 (ALF)

PG7158.M553 H9512 (LILLY)

PG7158.M553 H95 1983 (LILLY)

"Tak mało" i inne wiersze. (1982)

PG7158.M553 T13 1982 (LILLY)

Nieobjęta ziemia. (1984)

PG7158.M65 N54 1984 (ALF)

PG7158.M65 N54 1988

Zaczynając od moich ulic. (1985)

PG7158 .M65 1980 v.12 (ALF)

PG7158.M65 A16 1990

PG7158.M65 Z46 2006

Mowa wiązana(1986)

PG7158.M65 M68 1986

Świadectwo poezji: sześć wykładów o dotkliwościach naszego wieku. (1987)

PN1136 .M54 1987 (LILLY)

PN1136 .M54 1987 (ALF)


PG7158.M65 K728 1987

Poematy. (1989)

PG7158.M65 A6 1989

Rok myśliwego. (1990)

PG7158.M65 R64 1990

PG7158.M65 A37 2001

Dalsze okolice. (1991)

PG7158.M65 D35 1991 (ALF)

Historia literatury polskiej do roku 1939(1993)

PG7012 .M48165 1993

Na brzegu rzeki. (1994)

PG7158.M65 N33 1994

Szukanie ojczyzny(1996)

PG7158.M65 A378 1992

PG7158.M65 A378 1996

Życie na wyspach. (1997)

PG7158.M65 Z457 1997

Abecadło Miłosza. (1997)

PG7158.M65 Z46 1997

Poezje wybrane(1998)

PG7158.M65 A27 1998

Piesek przydrożny. (1998)

PG7158.M65 P54 1998

Spiżarnia literacka. (2004)

PG7051 .M525 2004

O podróżach w czasie. (2004)

PG7158.M65 O26 2004

Czeslaw Milosz at UCBerkeley

Milosz won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980.  The Academy described Milosz as a writer "who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man's exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts."

His Nobel lecture can be read and heard at the following link:

Wisława Szymborska

Wisława Szymborska photo

Born in Prowent/Kórnik, Poland in 1923, Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska has been described as the "Mozart of Poetry."  She lived in Krakow from 1931 until her death in 2012.

Title. (Original publication date.)

Call numbers of editions at IUL (Wells Library, unless otherwise noted)


PG7178.Z92 P6 (ALF)

PG7178.Z92 P6 1977

Wielka liczba. (1976)

PG7178.Z92 W5

Tarsjusz i inne wiersze. (1976)

PG7178.Z92 T3 (ALF)

Ludzie na moście. (1986)

PG7178.Z92 L8 1986

Koniec i początek. (1993)

PG7178.Z92 K66 1993

Widok z ziarnkiem piasku: 102 wiersze. (1996)

PG7178.Z92 W48 1996

Nic dwa razy: wybór wierszy. (1997)

PG7178.Z92 A223 1997

Chwila. (2002)

PG7178.Z92 C48 2002

Rymowanki dla dużych dzieci: z wyklejankami autorki. (2003)

PG7178.Z92 R86 2003

Wiersze wybrane(2004)

PG7178.Z92 A6 2004

Czarna piosenka. (2014)

PG7178.Z92 C92 2014

Wszystkie lektury nadobowiązkowe(2015)

PG7178.Z92 W79 2015



Wislawa Szymborska photograph

Wisława Szymborska was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996 "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality."  On behalf of the Swedish Academy, Mrs. Birgitta Trotzig presented the award to Szymborska for representing "a poetic outlook:"

"For Szymborska, as for many other contemporary Polish poets, the starting point is the experience of a catastrophe, the ground caving in beneath her, the complete collapse of a faith. In its place human conditions break in with their inaccessibly shimmering agitation, their dailiness and pettiness, their tears and their jests, their tenderness. These conditions demand their particular language, a language that makes things relative, a language that methodically starts from scratch. The path of language is through negation - the prerequisite for being able to build anew is to build from nothing. From that point a game of role-playing begins, the wonderful dramaturgy of the world"

To read the entirety of Trotzig's presentation speech:

Szymborska's Nobel lecture on poetry can be found at the following link:

Olga Tokarczuk


Olga Tokarczuk

Born 1962 in Sulechów, Poland, Olga Tokarczuk won the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2018 (awarded in 2019). She lives in Wrocław.

Title. (Original publication date.)

Call numbers of editions at IUL (Wells Library, unless otherwise noted)