Portrait by Ary Scheffer
Napoleon Stanisław Adam Feliks Zygmunt Krasiński
|Mother||Maria Urszula Radziwiłł|
19 February 1812|
|Died||23 February 1859
Count Napoleon Stanisław Adam Feliks Zygmunt Krasiński (Polish pronunciation: [ˈzɨɡmunt kraˈɕiɲskʲi]; 19 February 1812 – 23 February 1859), a Polish nobleman traditionally ranked with Mickiewicz and Słowacki as one of Poland's Three National Bards — the trio of great Romantic poets who influenced national consciousness during the period of Poland's political bondage. He was the most famous member of the aristocratic Krasiński family.
Krasiński was born and died in Paris, France. He was the son of a general, Count Wincenty Krasiński, of the aristocratic Krasiński family. He studied law at Warsaw University and in Geneva in 1829, where he met Adam Mickiewicz. His letters indicate that he suffered morally over the November Uprising of 1831, and he gave himself in to Tsar Nicholas's Court in ill health. He was released and went to Vienna.
Krasiński was sociopolitically more conservative than the other two poets. He published much of his work anonymously.
He is best known for his philosophical Messianist ideas and tragic dramas. Krasiński's writings from the 1830s are full of frenetic plots, strongly influenced by gothic fiction and Dante Alighieri. As the poet's most famous works show, he is most interested in the extreme face of human existence such as hate, desperation or solitude. His drama, Nie-boska Komedia (The Un-Divine Comedy, 1833), portrays the tragedy of an old-world aristocracy defeated by a new order of communism and democracy, and is a poetic prophecy of class conflict and of Russia's October Revolution (see also Okopy Świętej Trójcy). The work was paraphrased and expanded by Edward Robert, Lord Lytton, as "Orval, the Fool of Time" (1869). Krasiński's Agaj-Han (1834) is also well known in Poland. It is a historical-poetic novel, though unlike the historical novels which were popular in Poland, such as those of Walter Scott. Agaj-Han is filled by macabre motives, death and fratricide. Upon human life still exists tragic fate. His drama, Irydion (1836), deals, in the context of Christian ethics, with the struggle of a subjugated nation against its oppressor.
His muse for many years was Countess Delfina Potocka (likewise a friend of Frédéric Chopin), with whom he conducted a romance from 1838 to 1846. Later she continued to be his friend, and he wrote for her "Sen Cezary" ("Cezara's Dream", published 1840) and "Przedświt" ("Predawn", published 1843). "Predawn" is his best-known poem, a nationalist poem which sees the Partitions of Poland as retribution for sins committed, and which predicts Poland's reappearance, as a world leader. Chopin set a poem by Krasiński as a song (see "Polish songs by Frédéric Chopin").
On 26 July 1843, Krasiński married Polish Countess Eliza Branicka (1820–76).
Later (1844–48) Krasiński wrote Psalmy Przyszłości (Psalms of the Future), in which he called for the Christian virtues of love and charity.
Count Krasiński's family coat-of-arms
Krasiński, aged 7, by Louis René Letronne, 1819
Photo of Krasiński, by Karol Beyer
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