Eliza Orzeszkowa

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Eliza Orzeszkowa
Eliza Orzeszkowa.PNG
Born(1841-06-06)6 June 1841
Miĺkaŭščyna, Russian Empire (now Belarus)
Died18 May 1910(1910-05-18) (aged 68)
Grodno, Russian Empire (now Belarus)
OccupationNovelist, essayist, publisher
Notable worksMeir Ezofowicz, Nad Niemnem, Cham, Bene nati
SpousePiotr Orzeszko
Stanisław Nahorski


Eliza Orzeszkowa (6 June 1841 – 18 May 1910) was a Polish novelist and a leading writer[1] of the Positivism movement during foreign Partitions of Poland. In 1905, together with Henryk Sienkiewicz, she was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.


House of Eliza Orzeszkowa in Grodno, currently a museum

She was born in Milkowszczyzna[2] (then in the Russian Empire, now in Belarus) to a noble Pawłowski family, and died in Grodno (now in Belarus) nearby.[3] From 1852 to 1857, she lived in Warsaw, where she attended school. There she met another future Polish writer Maria Konopnicka. After returning to Milkowszczyzna, at the age of sixteen, Eliza married Piotr Orzeszko, a Polish nobleman twice her own age, who was exiled to Siberia after the January Uprising of 1863.[4] They were legally separated in 1869.[5] She married again in 1894, after a 30-year-long loving relationship with Stanisław Nahorski, who died a few years later.[6] In 1866, she moved to Grodno and turned novelist.[2]

Orzeszkowa wrote a series of 30 novels and 120 powerful sketches, dramas and novellas, dealing with the social conditions of her occupied country. Her novel Eli Makower (1875) describes the relations between the Jews and the Polish nobility; and Meir Ezofowicz (1878), the conflict between Jewish orthodoxy and modern liberalism.[4] In 1888 Orzeszkowa wrote two novels about the Niemen River (now part of Belarus): Cham (The Boor) focused on the life of fishermen; and her most famous novel, Nad Niemnem (On the Niemen)—often compared to Pan Tadeusz—dealing with the issues of Polish aristocracy against the backdrop of political and social order. Her study on patriotism and cosmopolitanism appeared in 1880.[5] A uniform edition of her works was published in Warsaw between 1884 and 1888.[4] Much of her output is available also in German translation.

Tombstone of Eliza Orzeszkowa in Grodno

In 1905, together with Henryk Sienkiewicz and Leo Tolstoy, Orzeszkowa was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. The prize was awarded to Sienkiewicz. According to official records of the Nobel Prize committee, the idea of dividing the prize was rejected as an act of disparagement, and only the latter ended up as the laureate.[7]

Selected works[edit]

Manuscript of the novel Nad Niemnem
  • Obrazek z lat głodowych 1866
  • Ostatnia miłość, 1868
  • Z życia realisty, 1868
  • Na prowincji, 1870
  • W klatce, 1870
  • Cnotliwi, 1871
  • Pamiętnik Wacławy, 1871
  • Pan Graba, 1872
  • Na dnie sumienia, 1873
  • Marta, 1873
  • Eli Makower, 1875
  • Rodzina Brochwiczów, 1876
  • Pompalińscy, 1876
  • Maria, 1877
  • Meir Ezofowicz, 1878
  • Z różnych sfer, 1879–1882
  • Widma, 1881
  • Sylwek Cmentarnik, 1881
  • Zygmunt Ławicz i jego koledzy, 1881
  • Bańka mydlana, 1882–1883
  • Pierwotni, 1883
  • Niziny, 1885
  • Dziurdziowie, 1885
  • Mirtala, 1886
  • Nad Niemnem (On the Niemen), 1888
  • Cham (The Boor), 1888
  • Panna Antonina (collection of novels), 1888
  • W zimowy wieczór (collection of novels), 1888
  • Czciciel potęgi, 1891
  • Jędza, 1891
  • Bene nati, 1891
  • Westalka, 1891
  • Dwa bieguny, 1893
  • Melancholicy, 1896
  • Australczyk, 1896
  • Iskry (collection of novels), 1898
  • Argonauci (The Argonauts),[8] 1900
  • Ad astra. Dwugłos, 1904
  • I pieśń niech zapłacze, 1904
  • Gloria victis (collection of novellas), 1910

Journalism for social justice

  • Kilka słów o kobietach (On women),[9] 1870
  • Patriotyzm i kosmopolityzm, 1880
  • O Żydach i kwestii żydowskiej, 1882


Work of Orzeszkowa translated in Esperanto.
  1. ^ Eliza Orzeszkowa, Britannica, Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b HARGREAVES-MAWDSLEY, W.N (1968). Everyman's Dictionary of European Writers. Loondon: Aldine press. p. 400.
  3. ^ "Eliza Orzeszkowa" from the Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911.
  5. ^ a b Prof. dr hab. Józef Bachórz, Eliza Orzeszkowa. Virtual Library of Polish Literature. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  6. ^ Eliza Orzeszkowa. Słownik pisarzy polskich. Brykowisko. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  7. ^ The Nobel Prize in Literature: Nominations and Reports 1901–1950
  8. ^ Project Gutenberg's "The Argonauts" by Eliza Orzeszko (aka Orzeszkowa). Translator: Jeremiah Curtin, 1901.
  9. ^ "Kilka słów o kobietach" by E. Orzeszkowa. Kujawsko-Pomorska Digital Library. Retrieved 23 September 2011.


External links[edit]