Franciszka Arnsztajnowa : biography
Franciszka Arnsztajnowa (in full: Franciszka Hanna Arnsztajnowa; 19 February 1865 – August 1942) was a well-known and esteemed Polish poet, playwright, and translator of Jewish descent.So Słownik biograficzny miasta Lublina (see Bibliography). Much of her creative oeuvre falls within the Young Poland period, stylistically encompassing the twilight of neo-romanticism. She is called "the legend of Lublin".Aleksander B. Skotnicki, et al., Jewish Society in Poland: Customs and Participation in the Fight for Independence: Many Faces of Cracovian Jewry, tr. J. Niedbal & K. Baran, Kraków, Wydawnictwo, 2009, p. 109. ISBN 9788361060765, ISBN 8361060766.
Franciszka Arnsztajnowa was the daughter of the Lublin-based novelist Malwina Meyerson (real name, Małka Meyerson, née Horowicz (Horowitz); 18391921), a Lublin native, and Bernard (Berek, or Ber) Meyerson (b. 1837), a native of Tykocin, an international trader and a major Lublin financier. Her brother was the famous French philosopher, Émile Meyerson, based in Paris. She attended high school for girls in Lublin, and went to Germany for higher studies in biology, travelling extensively in Europe. On 7 January 1885 she married Marek Arnsztein (alternative spellings: Arnsztejn, Arnsztajn, Arnstein; 18551930), a physician educated in Warsaw, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, and a political and social activist, a native of Kazimierz Dolny based in Lublin from 1884. They had a daughter, Stefanja Arnsztajnówna (c.18901942; married name Mieczysławska), and a son, Jan Arnsztajn (18971934), much beloved of Arnsztajnowa, who will die of tuberculosis leaving her devastated.
- Poezye (1895)
- Poezye: serya druga (1899)
- Archanioł jutra (1924)
- Odloty (1932)
- Stare kamienie (1934)
- Widmo: Ballada w I akcie (1905)
- Luxoniolo (1911)
Life and work
As a poet Arnsztajnowa debuted at the age of 23 with the poem "Na okręcie" (On Board a Ship) published in the newspaper Kuryer Codzienny of 1 October 1888. She issued her first collection of poetry in book form in 1895 under the title Poezye, a volume which she dedicated to her mother, the novelist Malwina Meyerson.F. Arnsztajnowa, Poezye, Warsaw, Gebethner i Wolff, 1895. (88 pp.) The book is divided into six distinct sections under such headings as "Sonety" (Sonnets), "Melodye" (Melodies), "Historye" (Histories), and "Z gór Tyrolu" (From the Mountains of Tyrol). The opening poem, untitled but beginning with the words "O nie płacz..." (Weep thou not...; p. 7), sets the tone for the entire collection as she tries, with uncommon tenderness and filial piety, to soothe her mother's pain at having her own songs dispersed by the winds of time to the farthermost recesses of the soul: the implication is that the poems in this collection will become her mother's own, which the daughter will now sing for her, the lute in hand, sitting at her feet. (In the very last poem of the collection the poet again addresses her mother directly, "O mother, why give me a heart so | Tender...")F. Arnsztajnowa, [untitled poem]; in id., Poezye, Warsaw, Gebethner i Wolff, 1895, p. 88. The chief characteristic of the collection, thematically speaking, was however the preoccupation and love she evinced for the people living close to the land, their ordinary lives and folkloric customs. At the same time she delicately touched upon the social questions of the day employing language in the balladic-melancholic key.Feliks Araszkiewicz (see Bibliography), p. 115. The volume will instantly establish Arnsztajnowa as a major voice in Polish poetry among those exploring the nation's folk themes.Cf. Stanisław Zdziarski, Pierwiastek ludowy w poezji polskiej XIX wieku: studja porównawczo-literackie, Warsaw, E. Wende, 1901.
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