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Literary Criticism Poetry

Pan Tadeusz

The Last Foray in Lithuania

by (author) Adam Mickiewicz

translated by Watson Kirkconnell

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2019
Poetry, 19th Century, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
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In 1966 Poland will celebrate the thousandth anniversary of her acceptance of Christianity, the first major event to bring Poland on to the modern European scene from the shade of prehistory. Looking back over the past millennium, Poles are now analysing their history, reassessing their cultural achievements, and looking for directives for the future. When the civilized world was out-growing the boundaries for Europe, Poland was in bondage. It is time that after 1,000 years of its existence knowledge of Polish culture should not be confined to one part of Europe but should extend over much more of the globe.
The Millennium of Christian Poland Celebration Committee in Canada, sponsors of this volume, is aiming to make Polish cultural achievements and information about Poland available to the Canadian people. As the first of its publications the Committee presents an English translation of Pan Tadeusz, a land-mark in Polish literature.
Pan Tadeusz or The Last Foray in Lithuania is the greatest epic poem of Poland's greatest poet, Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855). It was written in exile and published in Paris in 1833, during the author's long absence from his native country because of his patriotic sympathies. The scene of the poem is Lithuania on the eve of Napoleon's expedition into Russia in 1812 and its subject is a family feud among the country gentry; Mickiewicz gives vivid pictures of the life of the old Polish nobility and gentry, their manners and past times, their patriotic enthusiasms and his descriptions of the Lithuanian landscape especially have kept his poem in the hearts of generations of readers. The poem ends in the spirit of hope caused in the heart of every Pole by the French onslaught on Russia.
The original poem is in rhymed Alexandrine couplets, and the translation in the English heroic couplet; this is the first translation in rhymed English verse to be published. Watson Kirckconnell's gifts as translator and poet are well known, and this publication is a splendid opportunity to become acquainted with one of the world's great epics. Dr. William J. Rose provides a helpful historical introduction.

About the authors

Adam Bernard Mickiewicz was a Polish poet, dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator, professor of Slavic literature, and political activist. He is regarded as national poet in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

Adam Mickiewicz's profile page

Watson Kirkconnell (1895-1977) was an army officer, a professor emeritus of Latin and English, ninth president of Acadia University (1948-1964), a Milton scholar, author of many volumes of prose and poetry, historian, and genealogist. He was also the joint founder of the Federal Citizenship Branch (1940), the Humanities Research Council of Canada (1943) and the Baptist Federation of Canada (1944). In 1936 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Watson Kirkconnell's profile page

Other titles by Watson Kirkconnell