“ANTICIPATIONS”: H.G. WELLS 1901 AND BOLESLAW PRUS

June 27, 2011 at 8:06 am | Posted in Art, Books, History, Literary, Philosophy | Leave a comment

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H.G. Wells Discussed by Boleslaw Prus:

“Visions of the Future” (“Wizje przyszłości,” 1909—a discussion of H.G. Wells‘ 1901 futurological book, Anticipations, which predicted, among other things, the defeat of German imperialism, the ascendancy of the English language, and the existence, by the year 2000, of a “European Union” that would include the Slavic peoples of Central Europe)

Boleslaw Prus

Following is a chronological list of notable works by Bolesław Prus. Translated titles are given, followed by original titles and dates of publication.

Born August 20, 1847
Hrubieszów, Russian Empire

Died May 19, 1912 (aged 64)
Warsaw, Russian Empire

Pen name Bolesław Prus

Occupation Novelist, journalist, short-story writer

Nationality Polish

Period 1872–1912

Genres

Realist novel
Historical novel
Short story
Micro-story
Prose poetry

Literary movement Positivism

Spouse(s) Oktawia Głowacka, née Trembińska

Children An adopted son, Emil Trembiński

Bolesław Prus (pronounced: [bɔ’lεswaf ‘prus]; Hrubieszów, 20 August 1847 – 19 May 1912, Warsaw), born Aleksander Głowacki, was the leading figure in Polish literature of the late 19th century[1] and a distinctive voice in world literature.

As a 15-year-old, he had joined the Polish 1863 Uprising against Imperial Russia; shortly after his sixteenth birthday, in a battle against Russian forces, he suffered severe injuries. Five months later, he was imprisoned for his part in the Uprising. These early experiences may have precipitated the panic disorder and agoraphobia that would dog him through life, and shaped his opposition to attempts to regain Polish independence by force of arms.

In 1872 at age 25, in Warsaw, he settled into a 40-year journalistic career that highlighted science, technology, education, and economic and cultural development. These societal enterprises were essential to the endurance of a people that had in the 18th century been partitioned out of political existence by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Głowacki took his pen name Prus from the appellation of his family’s coat-of-arms.

As a sideline he wrote short stories. Achieving success with these, he went on to employ a larger canvas. Over the decade between 1884 and 1895, he completed four major novels: The Outpost, The Doll, The New Woman and Pharaoh.

The Doll depicts the romantic infatuation of a man of action who is frustrated by his country’s backwardness. Pharaoh, Prus’ only historical novel, is a study of political power and of the fates of nations, set in ancient Egypt at the fall of the 20th Dynasty and New Kingdom.

Bolesław Prus (pronounced: [bɔ’lεswaf ‘prus]; Hrubieszów, 20 August 1847 – 19 May 1912, Warsaw), born Aleksander Głowacki, was the leading figure in Polish literature of the late 19th century[1] and a distinctive voice in world literature.

As a 15-year-old, he had joined the Polish 1863 Uprising against Imperial Russia; shortly after his sixteenth birthday, in a battle against Russian forces, he suffered severe injuries. Five months later, he was imprisoned for his part in the Uprising. These early experiences may have precipitated the panic disorder and agoraphobia that would dog him through life, and shaped his opposition to attempts to regain Polish independence by force of arms.

In 1872 at age 25, in Warsaw, he settled into a 40-year journalistic career that highlighted science, technology, education, and economic and cultural development. These societal enterprises were essential to the endurance of a people that had in the 18th century been partitioned out of political existence by Russia, Prussia and Austria. Głowacki took his pen name Prus from the appellation of his family’s coat-of-arms.

As a sideline he wrote short stories. Achieving success with these, he went on to employ a larger canvas. Over the decade between 1884 and 1895, he completed four major novels: The Outpost, The Doll, The New Woman and Pharaoh.

The Doll depicts the romantic infatuation of a man of action who is frustrated by his country’s backwardness. Pharaoh, Prus’ only historical novel, is a study of political power and of the fates of nations, set in ancient Egypt at the fall of the 20th Dynasty and New Kingdom.

1. “Undoubtedly the most important novelist of the period was Bolesław Prus…” Czesław Miłosz, The History of Polish Literature, 2nd ed., Berkeley, University of California Press, 1983, ISBN 0-520-04477-0, p. 291.

Novels

  • Souls in Bondage (Dusze w niewoli, written 1876, serialized 1877)
  • Fame (Sława, begun 1885, never finished)
  • The Outpost (Placówka, 1885–86)
  • The Doll (Lalka, 1887–89)
  • The New Woman (Emancypantki, 1890–93)
  • Pharaoh (Faraon, written 1894–95; serialized 1895–96)
  • Children (Dzieci, 1908; approximately the first nine chapters had originally appeared, in a somewhat different form, in 1907 as Dawn [Świt])
  • Changes (Przemiany, begun 1911–12; unfinished)

Stories

  • “The Old Lady’s Troubles” (“Kłopoty babuni,” 1874)
  • “The Palace and the Hovel” (“Pałac i rudera,” 1875)
  • “The Ball Gown” (“Sukienka balowa,” 1876)
  • “An Orphan’s Lot” (“Sieroca dola,” 1876)
  • “Eddy’s Adventures” (“Przygody Edzia,” 1876)
  • “Damned Luck” (“Przeklęte szczęście,” 1876)
  • “The Old Lady’s Casket” (“Szkatułka babki,” 1878)
  • “Stan’s Adventure” (“Przygoda Stasia,” 1879)
  • “New Year” (“Nowy rok,” 1880)
  • “The Returning Wave” (“Powracająca fala,” 1880)
  • “Michałko” (1880)
  • “Antek” (1880)
  • “The Convert” (“Nawrócony,” 1880)
  • “The Barrel Organ” (“Katarynka,” 1880)
  • “One of Many” (“Jeden z wielu,” 1882)
  • “The Waistcoat” (“Kamizelka,” 1882)
  • “Him” (“On,” 1882)
  • Fading Voices” (“Milknące głosy,” 1883)
  • “Sins of Childhood” (“Grzechy dzieciństwa,” 1883)
  • Mold of the Earth” (“Pleśń świata,” 1884—a striking micro-story that portrays human history as an unending series of conflicts among mindless, blind colonies of molds)
  • The Living Telegraph” (“Żywy telegraf,” 1884)
  • Orestes and Pylades” (“Orestes i Pylades,” 1884)
  • “Loves—Loves Not?…” (“Kocha—nie kocha?…” 1884)
  • “The Mirror” (“Zwierciadło,” 1884)
  • “On Vacation” (“Na wakacjach,” 1884)
  • “An Old Tale” (“Stara bajka,” 1884)
  • “In the Light of the Moon” (“Przy księżycu,” 1884)
  • “The Mistake” (“Omyłka,” 1884)
  • “Mr. Dutkowski and His Farm” (“Pan Dutkowski i jego folwark,” 1884)
  • “Musical Echoes” (“Echa muzyczne,” 1884)
  • “In the Mountains” (“W górach,” 1885)
  • Shades” (“Ciene,” 1885—an evocative meditation on existential themes)
  • “Anielka” (1885)
  • “A Strange Story” (“Dziwna historia,” 1887)
  • A Legend of Old Egypt” (“Z legend dawnego Egiptu,” 1888—Prus’ first piece of historical fiction; a stunning debut, and a preliminary sketch for his only historical novel, Pharaoh, which would be written in 1894–95)
  • “The Dream” (“Sen,” 1890)
  • “Lives of Saints” (“Z żywotów świętych,” 1891–92)
  • “Reconciled” (“Pojednani,” 1892)
  • “A Composition by Little Frank: About Mercy” (“Z wypracowań małego Frania. O miłosierdziu,” 1898)
  • “The Doctor’s Story” (“Opowiadanie lekarza,” 1902)
  • “Memoirs of a Cyclist” (“Ze wspomnień cyklisty,” 1903)
  • “Revenge” (“Zemsta,” 1908)
  • “Phantoms” (“Widziadła,” 1911, first published 1936)

Nonfiction

  • “Travel Notes (Wieliczka)” [“Kartki z podróży (Wieliczka),” 1878—Prus’ impressions of the Wieliczka Salt Mine; these would help inform the conception of the Egyptian Labyrinth in Prus’s 1895 novel, Pharaoh]
  • “A Word to the Public” (“Słówko do publiczności,” June 11, 1882—Prus’ inaugural address to readers as the new editor-in-chief of the daily, Nowiny [News], famously proposing to make it “an observatory of societal facts, just as there are observatories that study the movements of heavenly bodies, or—climatic changes.”)
  • “Sketch for a Program under the Conditions of the Present Development of Society” (“Szkic programu w warunkach obecnego rozwoju społeczeństwa,” March 23–30, 1883—swan song of Prus’ editorship of Nowiny)
  • With Sword and Fire—Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Novel of Olden Times” (Ogniem i mieczem—powieść z dawnych lat Henryka Sienkiewicza,” 1884—Prus’ review of Sienkiewicz‘s historical novel, and essay on historical novels)
  • “The Paris Tower” (“Wieża paryska,” 1887—whimsical divagations involving the Eiffel Tower, the world’s tallest structure, then yet to be constructed for the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle)
  • “Travels on Earth and in Heaven” (“Wędrówka po ziemi i niebie,” 1887—Prus’ impressions of a solar eclipse that he observed at Mława; these would help inspire the solar-eclipse scenes in his 1895 novel, Pharaoh)
  • “A Word about Positive Criticism” (“Słówko o krytyce pozytywnej,” 1890—Prus’ part of a polemic with Positivist guru Aleksander Świętochowski)
  • “Eusapia Palladino” (1893—newspaper column about mediumistic séances held in Warsaw by the Italian Spiritualist, Eusapia Palladino; these would help inspire similar scenes in Prus’ 1895 novel, Pharaoh)
  • “From Nałęczów” (“Z Nałęczowa,” 1894—Prus’ paean to the salubrious waters and natural and social environment of his favorite vacation spot, Nałęczów)
  • The Most General Life Ideals (Najogólniejsze ideały życiowe, 1905—Prus’s system of pragmatic ethics)
  • “Ode to Youth” (“Oda do młodości,” 1905—Prus’ admission that, before the Russian Empire‘s defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, he had held too cautious a view of the chances for an improvement in Poland’s political situation)
  • “Visions of the Future” (“Wizje przyszłości,” 1909—a discussion of H.G. Wells‘ 1901 futurological book, Anticipations, which predicted, among other things, the defeat of German imperialism, the ascendancy of the English language, and the existence, by the year 2000, of a “European Union” that would include the Slavic peoples of Central Europe)
  • “The Poet, Educator of the Nation” (“Poeta wychowawca narodu,” 1910—a discussion of the cultural and political principles imparted by the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz)
  • “What We… Never Learned from the History of Napoleon” (“Czego nas… nie nauczyły dzieje Napoleona”—Prus’s contribution to the December 16, 1911, issue of the Warsaw Illustrated Weekly, devoted entirely to Napoleon)

Translations

Prus‘ writings have been translated into many languages — his historical novel Pharaoh, into twenty; his contemporary novel The Doll

, into at least sixteen. Works by Prus have been rendered into Croatian by a member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Stjepan Musulin.

Film versions

  • 1966: Faraon (Pharaoh), adapted from the novel Pharaoh, directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz
  • 1968: Lalka (The Doll), adapted from the novel The Doll, directed by Wojciech Has
  • 1978: Lalka (The Doll), adapted from the novel The Doll, directed by Ryszard Ber
  • 1979: Placówka (The Outpost), adapted from the novel The Outpost, directed by Zygmunt Skonieczny
  • 1982: Pensja Pani Latter (Mrs. Latter’s Boarding School), adapted from the novel The New Woman

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