Adam Mickiewicz’s poem was written between 1832 and 1834 in Paris, where it was published by Aleksander Jelowocki. The first Polish edition of Pan Tadeusz appeared in Toruń in 1858, produced by the municipal printing house leased by Ernst Lambeck. The national epic in twelve volumes, written in a thirteen-syllable metre, is one of Polish literature’s most highly prized and esteemed works. It depicts the homeland lost to the Partitions and portrays the Polish life and customs of the early nineteenth century. It was a work of enormous significance both within former Polish-Lithuanian lands and amongst émigré circles after the November Uprising of 1830 to 1831. It functions to this day as a memory of history, as well as a conveyor of national and eternal values.
The manuscript of Pan Tadeusz is held in the Ossolineum in Wrocław, in a special, decorative casket of mahogany and ivory commissioned by Stanislaw Tarnowski, one of the former owners of this precious historical item.
Photos: Andrzej Niedźwiecki