Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855)

Adam Mickiewicz Image
Author of the Polish epic Pan Tadeusz (Lord Thaddeus), Adam Mickiewicz is held in the highest esteem in his homeland as "The National Poet of Poland". Moreover, highly regarded throughout Europe as an accomplished scholar and teacher, Mickiewicz was awarded professorships in Latin language and literature by the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and in Slavonic literature in the College de France.

This poet's intense involvement in literary affairs, however, did not deter him from political activity. During a trying period of Poland's history, Mickiewicz kept up the spirit of the nation, healing its suffering and instilling in its people a faith in a better future. In that period when Poland was forgotten and stricken from the roster of living nations, he made its name known all over the world.

Mickiewicz's devotion to liberty, equality and moral idealism was not limited to mere movements of the pen. His public actions in defense of these principles led first to arrest and deportation to Russia in 1824 (he never returned to Poland), and eventually to his death from cholera in Constantinople, where he had organized a Polish legion to aid the Turkish army in its fight against Russia during the Crimean War. Buried in Paris until 1890, his body was then transferred amid great ceremony to Krakow's Wawel Castle, the resting place of Poland's greatest men.

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