Stanisław Wyspiański Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Collaborating with Stanisaw Przybyszewski on the periodical ycie (life), Stanisaw Wyspiaski contributed plays and essays in addition to serving as the magazine’s art director. He began his career with paintings and pastels and was active as an interior designer, often designing sets for his own productions. Among his many architectural plans are a cycle of drawings of monuments, a project for a Polish acropolis, and an amphitheater. He also helped to renovate and rebuild the cathedral of the Wawe Castle in Krakow, designing stained glass and tapestries, some of which were unfinished at his death. Wyspiaski translated and adapted the plays of others, including Pierre Corneille, Adam Mickiewicz, and William Shakespeare. He also wrote a few lyric poems called “rhapsodies,” the majority of which reflect his love for Krakow, as well as his infatuation with Poland’s past; some poems also served as studies that he later developed into dramas.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Wyspiaski is regarded as the father of modern Polish drama. To appreciate his pioneering role, it is necessary to understand the state of Polish drama before he came on the scene. Throughout the nineteenth century, the Polish people had been subjected to the repressive policies of Prussia, Russia, and Austria, the three nations that partitioned Poland in the 1790’s. The urban centers of Poland were not as developed as those of Western Europe, because many of the Polish gentry, who would normally be significant stimulus for cultural development, lived on isolated estates rather than in cities. It was thus difficult for Polish writers to maintain close contact with the theater, which thrived only in the larger cities and did not serve as an important literary vehicle before the turn of the twentieth century.

During the 1890’s, the literary scene in Poland was undergoing a radical change. The positivist movement was no longer in vogue among young artists; the literary revolution that resulted in the acceptance of the Symbolists, decadents, impressionists, and other modernist groups was spreading rapidly from the West to the East. The intellectuals of Poland could no longer accept the theory that industrialization and scientific advancement would better the future of humankind. They believed that there must be something more to humanity, something more to the human soul that could not be grasped simply by the observation of natural phenomena. The...

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(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Coates, Paul. “Revolutionary Spirits: The Wedding of Wajda and Wyspiaski.” Literature/Film Quarterly 20, no. 2 (1992): 127. Coates compares and contrasts Wyspiaski’s The Wedding with Andrzej Wajda’s film version.

Kraszewski, Charles S. “Stanisaw Wyspiaski as Proselytising Translator: National Directioning in His Polonisations of Hamlet and Le Cid.” Canadian Slavonic Papers 35, nos. 3-4 (September, 1993): 305. This study focuses on Wyspiaski’s translations into Polish of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and Pierre Corneille’s Le Cid and the strategy he pursued.

Romanowska, Marta. Stanisaw Wyspiaski Museum: Branch of the National Museum in Cracow: A Guide Book. Krakow: The National Museum, 1998. This guidebook to the museum for Wyspiaski provides some insights into his life.

Terlecki, Tymon. Stanisaw Wyspiaski. Boston: Twayne, 1983. A general biography of Wyspiaski that covers his life and works. Bibliography and index.