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Adam Mickiewicz. What is his motherland: Poland or Lithuania?

Lyzko 29 | 7,240
30 Oct 2017 #61 birth only, by predeliction (despite ministrations of homesickness), ENGLISH!
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,839
30 Oct 2017 #62
therefore is considered English to t

by whom? No he is considered to be a great writer in English.....but Polish/British.
Lyzko 29 | 7,240
30 Oct 2017 #63
Again, Polish by birth (in the country which raised him for the first seventeen or so years of his life) as Mickiewicz was Polish, despite having been by sheer happenstance born in present-day Lithuania! The difference here is that Mickiewicz' mother tongue was Polish, not Lithuanian, as Conrad's first language was Polish instead of English. Yet the latter made the English language his own and is still regarded as a master stylist in his SECOND LANGUAGE!!

How many writers can say that?

Granted, there are uncounted "bilingual" writers, Salman Rushdie among them etc.

Franz Kafka though provides an interesting example of a writer born in a country in which the first language was NOT the writer's sole and primary language of literary expression:-) While he surely knew Czech, he is and always will be regarded as a GERMAN-language author, also apart of the literary canon in which he WROTE, regardless of where he was born:-)
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,839
30 Oct 2017 #64
Again, Polish by birth (

you don't have to say 'again' like a teacher Lyzko, i know about Conrad thanks. You said he was 'considered English to the bone' which obviously, he wasn't.
30 Oct 2017 #65
Mickiewicz wasn't born in present-day Lithuania, he was born in present-day Belarus. But you're right, he was both Polish writer and a Pole, because he considered himself a Pole. Conrad was born and raised in Poland so it is different. He was an English writer, for he wrote in English but he was of Polish origin.
kaprys 3 | 2,502
31 Oct 2017 #66
Conrad's perspective wasn't English at all. He knew what it was like to live under another country's occupation and questioned imperialism.
Similarly to Mickiewicz, he had spent a lot of time abroad but he wasn't English to the bone for sure. I doubt he would have been considered English by the English no matter how appreciated his novels were.

As for Mickiewicz, we need to remember he was also politically involved. He was concerned with Polish independence.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,235
31 Oct 2017 #67
Although considered one of the best English writers, Conrad was Polish

According to that logic, considered one of the best Polish writers, Mickiewicz was Lithuanian.

he was both Polish writer and a Pole

He was both a Polish writer and Lithuanian.

he considered himself a Pole.

No, he considered himself to be a Lithuanian man:
Litwo, Ojczyzno moja
Ty jesteś jak zdrowie ...

Did he ever say: "Polsko, Ojczyzno moja"?
Ziemowit 13 | 4,235
31 Oct 2017 #68
you don't have to say 'again' like a teacher Lyzko

Łyżko is a teacher ...
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,839
31 Oct 2017 #69
yeh i know, that is why he is rude and patronising, talks to people as though they know nothing, and chats nonsense thinking nobody will pick him up on it...:)
Roger5 1 | 1,458
31 Oct 2017 #70
"Being a woman is a terribly difficult trade since it consists principally of dealings with men."

Chance (1913) part II, Ch. 5
Lyzko 29 | 7,240
31 Oct 2017 #71
I never even suspected Conrad was anything but native English while reading his works in high school, until I read his bio:-) He might not have spoken like a Brit, but he sure wrote like one!

Back briefly to Kafka. Some German literary experts and scholars claim to detect an ever so slight "Czech" aka "non-German" accent" in his prose. By this then, I take it to mean that his German seems completely free of any trace of of local German dialect, slang or colloquialism, and remained relatively spare and academically pure. Maybe this was the influence of the well-known "Prager Deutsch" or German spoken by the natives of that city which was grammatically superior even to native Germans because it was primarily WRITTEN, rather than exclusively spoken!
Roger5 1 | 1,458
31 Oct 2017 #72
When I was studying 'Literature in English' I was aware that it was Conrad's third (?) language but was constantly astonished by his absolute mastery of it. jon insists that his wife played a big part in the writing process. Perhaps we can tempt him to join in.
31 Oct 2017 #73
He said "O Matko Polsko" which means "Oh Mother Poland" AND once again, characters from "Pan Tadeusz, czyli Ostatni zajazd na Litwie. Historia szlachecka z roku 1811 i 1812 we dwunastu księgach wierszem" are from Lithuania, just like him, from Soplicowo - which is the center of Polish identity as stated in the book (which was supposed to be based on Mickiewicz's childhood area, Nowogródek) and yet they are POLES, as Mickiewicz, once again, stated many times in the book. You know how people from Lithuania identified themselves? "Gente Lithuanus, natione Polonus" - "a Lithuanian person of the Polish nation". And you cannot deny those facts, saying that he was just Lithuanian, and not a Pole at all. Period.
kaprys 3 | 2,502
31 Oct 2017 #74
Why Lithuanian then and not Belarussian?
The logic here is not the language in which they wrote. There's more to it.
Mickiewicz was of Polish origin, spoke Polish and was politically involved in Polish affairs.
Conrad was Polish who also spoke fluent French and English. He spent his childhood and youth in Poland and then years abroad. He obviously mastered English and became one of the greatest writers of English.
Lyzko 29 | 7,240
31 Oct 2017 #75
Right on, kaprys! "Lord Jim " and "Heart of Darkness" among several others shall always remain part of our canon. BOOM-BOOM!
kaprys 3 | 2,502
31 Oct 2017 #76
I'm surprised to read that you appreciate something written by someone with a heavy Polish accent ;)
They're part of our literary canon, too IMHO.

Dziady night is tonight. It seems to have survived mostly in Mickiewicz's play ...
Lyzko 29 | 7,240
31 Oct 2017 #77
But that's precisely my point; Conrad WROTE as an Englishman! I wasn't around to witness his spoken English:-) That old I'm not....although getting there slowly


Dziady have already come and gone. They start earlier and earlier nowadays, well before nightfall.
kaprys 3 | 2,502
31 Oct 2017 #78
I first heard about his Polish accent in English when I was in high school.
Just read about him on Wikipedia ... no better source available right now. There's a section about the impression he made - he was a foreigner, a Pole to the English.

Ironically, he was called Konrad after Konrad Wallenrod by Mickiewicz.

I don't know anyone who celebrates Dziady nowadays.
Lyzko 29 | 7,240
31 Oct 2017 #79
Interesting. Well, he must have had a fine English editor, as my fellow pupils and I all thought that he must be English until our teacher told us otherwise:-)
kaprys 3 | 2,502
31 Oct 2017 #80
He was just talented.
Actually, some say his syntax wasn't English :p
Lyzko 29 | 7,240
31 Oct 2017 #81
Apropos my Kafka example earlier! He might well have known both Czech and German perfectly, yet certain German critics can swear up and down that his German maintains a touch of Czech.

Although I know no Czech really, I can attest with rock solid assurance that Kafka wrote absolutely perfect German, too perfect perhaps as only someone NOT necessarily "native" to the language might have written, aka not casually "natural" or idiomatic:-))

Keep to the topic please, there is already a thread about Conrad
kaprys 3 | 2,502
31 Oct 2017 #82
German was his mother tongue.
Don't look for imperfections where there weren't any. These men were the best of the best.
Lyzko 29 | 7,240
31 Oct 2017 #83
You're so, so right! Far be it from me to carp, by the way. I'm merely reiterating what I've read by scholars, among them. Peter Beicken, who lectures at US universities on Kafka. I certainly don't see any imperfections either.

Ironside 50 | 10,907
31 Oct 2017 #84
Far be it from me to carp

Carp-e diem Lzyko. You will live longer.
As to AM his motherland was Poland there is no question about it.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,692
31 Oct 2017 #85
Technically there was no Poland during mickiewiczs time. Poles Lithuanians and belorussians all claim him as theirs lol
Ironside 50 | 10,907
31 Oct 2017 #86
Technically there

Technically you're talking nonsense. Unless you're not talking to me.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,692
31 Oct 2017 #87
Well mickiewicz was born right around the time of the 3rd partition so yea technically for most of his life there was no Poland or Lithuania
Ironside 50 | 10,907
1 Nov 2017 #88
Well mickiewicz was born right

Well, you know damn well that the topic address his cultural allegiance. in other words his self-identification, his ethno-national identity. It matters not whether or not there was a political entity that would match his allegiance. This thread doesn't even address THAT question. You're trolling/talking nonsense/ creating a red herring, taking this thread off topic. Just to show off. If not for your merger historical knowledge - I would have said bravo!
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,692
1 Nov 2017 #89
I'm well aware of mickiewiczs nationality and allegiance that's why when I read posts saying he's German or belorussian or Lithuanian for one it kind of makes me chuckle as everyone knows he was a pole

To this day there are poles who speak fluent polish and have lived in Ukraine for generations. The number has been steadily decreasing esp after ww2 but there still are remnants. Kind of like lwow in ukraine. My grandma from dad's side was from wilno born and raised but shes def a pole

And no the above initial post wasn't directed at anyone in particular
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,692
1 Nov 2017 #90
Ahh meant 'have lived in lithuania for generations '

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