The Promised Land (novel)

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Ziemia obiecana
1899 cover
Front page, first edition print
Author Władysław Stanisław Reymont
Country Poland under foreign partitions
Language Polish
Genre Novel
Publisher Warszawa - Gebethner i Wolff. Kraków - G. Gebethner i Sp.
Publication date
1899
Followed by Chłopi

The Promised Land (orig. Polish: Ziemia Obiecana) is an 1898 novel by the Polish author and Nobel laureate, Władysław Reymont; first published in Warsaw (Congress Poland), under foreign partitions of the country. It is considered one of his most important works after the prize-winning folk-epic Chłopi. The novel Ziemia obiecana was originally published as installments in the industrial city of Łódź by the Polish language daily Kurier Codzienny in the years 1897 – 1898.

Set in Łódź, The Promised Land tells the story of three close friends and ruthless young industrialists: a Pole, a German, and a Jew struggling to build their own factory in the heartless world of the late 19th century labor exploitation. Reymont's novel vividly paints a portrait of the rapid industrialization of Łódź and its cruel effects on workers and mill owners. Reymont writes: "For that 'promised land' – for that tumor – villages were deserted, forests died out, the land was depleted of its treasures, the rivers dried up, people were born. And it sucked everything into itself. And in its powerful jaws it crushed and chewed up people and things, sky and earth, in return giving useless millions to a handful of people, and hunger and hardship to the whole throng."

Plot summary[edit]

Karol Borowiecki, a Polish nobleman, is the managing engineer at the Bucholz textile factory. With the help of his friends Max Baum, a German who is the heir to an old handloom factory, and Moritz Welt, an independent Jewish businessman, they embark on setting up their own brand new textile plant. Borowiecki's affair with Lucy Zucker, wife of another textile magnate, gives him advance notice of a change in cotton tariffs and helps Welt to make a killing on the Hamburg futures market. But more money has to be found, so all three characters cast aside their pride to raise the necessary capital.

On the day of the factory opening, Borowiecki has to deny his affair with Zucker's wife to a jealous husband. But while Borowiecki accompanies Lucy on her exile to Berlin, Zucker apparently takes his revenge by burning down the three partners' uninsured factory.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations[edit]

  • Ziemia obiecana, The Promised Land (1927 movie)
  • Ziemia obiecana, The Promised Land (1974 movie)
  • Ziemia obiecana, Polish TV serial from 1978

External links[edit]