Meet Charles Kraszewski in London

Series of talks with accomplished translator.


Monday 2 March 2020, 6PM

Polish University Abroad

238-246 King Street

London W6 0RF

Tytus Czyżewski and the Future of Polish Poetry


When one considers the dramatic, and often tragic, history of Poland, it comes as no surprise that politically engaged currents dominate in Polish literature. We see this especially in the poetry and dramatic works of the nineteenth century, the Partition period, when poets were — as Shelley puts it — truly the „legislators” of a nation deprived of political independence. Although the current of engaged literature gave rise to immortal works, there exists a parallel tradition of pure literary expression in Polish, which, according the poet and translator C.S. Kraszewski, is best represented by the poet, dramatist and theoretician Tytus Czyżewski. Based on his newest translation A Burglar of the Better Sort, Kraszewski describes the literary output of this extraordinary poet and artist, who introduced to Polish literature a rich strain of surrealism, and was to have a decisive effect on the development of contemporary poetry and drama in Poland, influencing authors such as Tadeusz Kantor and Witold Wirpsza.


Wednesday 4 March 2020, 6.30PM

Archway Library

Hamlyn House

Highgate Hill N19 5PH

From Kochanowski to Kantor: The Polish Stage as Gauntlet Thrown



Among the treasures of Polish literature there exists a rich tradition of dramatic works of the highest order. From Kochanowski’s Dismissal of the Grecian Envoys — that greatest of all humanist dramas of the Renaissance — to the dramatic works and radio plays of Zbigniew Herbert, Polish poets have often broached important, elemental questions on the stage.  C.S. Kraszewski, poet and translator of Polish literature, studies the development of homocentric, socially engaged traditions of Polish dramatic writing, illustrating his theses with fragments from his theatrical translations. Amongst the authors, whom Kraszewski has translated into English, reference will be made to classics such as Kochanowski, Mickiewicz, Słowacki, Wyspiański and Kantor, as well as less expected perhaps, but no less important, contemporary authors like Rafał Wojasiński and Jacek Chmielnik

In cooperation with the Polish Embassy in London, as part of the Polish Bookshelf Project


Friday 6 March 2020, 7.30PM

Ognisko Polskie (Polish Hearth)

55 Princes Gate

South Kensington

London SW7 2PN

Let me Explain Myself: on the Intimate Art of Literary Translation


T.S. Eliot once said that books are made from other books. These words can also be applied to identities: each book is the expression of its author as well as the culture, which in turn formed that writer. Furthermore, the books that we read form our personalities, our approach to the world and to life. In his lecture, C.S. Kraszewski, poet and translator of Polish literature, considers the role of translations as an expression of the source culture in the reality of the target culture.  How should Poland be presented to the broader English world through the translation of her key authors? To what degree do the predilections of the translator himself influence his decisions concerning which poet to translate, and which to pass by? The art of translation can also be a subjective enterprise, and the collected works of the translator also, presumably, offer an eloquent witness to his own person.  Illustrations of the above theses will be presented from Kraszewski’s translated works, which include authors ranging from Stanisław Wyspiański to Tadeusz Kantor and Witold Wirpsza.

This event is organised by The Polish Cultural Institute in London in collaboration with Ognisko Polskie – The Polish Hearth Club in London and  The Union of Polish Writers Abroad.


Charles Stephen Kraszewski (1962, Pennsylvania) is a literary translator from the Polish, Czech, and Slovak, as well as a poet creative in both English and Polish. Among his translations of the  classics of Polish literature one may mention Mickiewicz, Słowacki, Krasiński and Wyspiański. Shakespeare’s Globe in London realised his translation of Jan Kochanowski’s Dismissal of the Grecian Envoys in June of 2019 as part of its „Read, not Dead” programme. He frequently collaborates with the London publishing house Glagoslav, where his two most recent translations appeared in autumn 2019: the Mouseiad, the Monachomachia, and other mock epics of Ignacy Krasicki, as well as the collected poems, theatrical and theoretical works of Tytus Czyżewski. A great admirer of the theatre of Tadeusz Kantor, he has translated all of Kantor’s theatrical scores into English, which are regularly made available to foreign researchers at the Cricoteka archives. He has published three volumes of original poetry in English: Diet of Nails, Beast and Chanameed; a volume of his verse in Polish, Hallo Sztokholm, is in preparation. He is a member of the Union of Polish Writers Abroad (London) and the Association of Polish Writers (SPP, Kraków branch).

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