Kraszewski, Józef

Kraszewski, Józef Ignacy, b 28 July 1812 in Warsaw, d 19 March 1887 in Geneva. Polish novelist, poet, dramatist, literary critic, historian, and journalist. A prolific writer, he is best known for his historical novels written in the Romantic spirit. He lived almost 20 years in rural Volhynia and acquired a deep sympathy for the Ukrainian peasantry and an intimate knowledge of its folkways. He wrote a cycle of novelettes dealing with the life of Ukrainian peasants, including such works as Historia Sawki (The Story of Savka, 1842), Ulana (1843), Ostap Bodnarczuk (1847), Jaryna (1850), Chata za wsią (The House beyond the Village, 1853–4), Jermoła (1857), and Historia kołka w płocie (The Story about a Stake in the Fence, 1860). His observations about Ukraine were collected in Wspomnienia z Polesia, Wołynia i Litwy (Recollections from Polisia, Volhynia, and Lithuania, 1840). Mykhailo Starytsky's play Tsyhanka Aza (Aza the Gypsy) was based on Kraszewski's Chata za wsią. A number of Ukrainian writers, including Taras Shevchenko and Ivan Franko, valued highly Kraszewski's literary works.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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