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Aniela Gruszecka

Photo courtesy of the National Digital Archives.

Aniela Gruszecka

Adventure in an Unknown Land

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Read by Marta Meissner, recorded by Radiofonia Association.
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English translation: Anna Filipek
Arc lamps over the streets would ignite still by daylight – suddenly, by a single throw away out of sight, in far-reaching, sparsely dotted trails, as if they had naturally obeyed this pattern in their mechanical precision, foreseeing the arrival of still earlier nights, but deprived of the flexibility of a living organism, they chose some mechanically set, average starting point, the same for every day of the month.
Klara was walking along the Planty alley, under the chestnut trees bared of fallen leaves, whose upper branches created a clear and entangled structure of a high vault, black against the emerald sky, when all of a sudden all the lamps together caught fire; as if light had descended on them and stood there. It was still day, so the lamp globes did not throw lights and shades onto the trees and the alley; they only shone like keystones up in the vault, milky-orange moon-sky lanterns in the emerald air. . . .
It was only at the mouth of the Planty that the uncovered Wawel towers rose up above all the trees and houses. They were angular, dark, and massive against the light gold sky, bent backwards by the perspective; active in standing, rising, and towering up above. Edged roofs, high steeps of the walls, buttresses over buttresses, tower crevices – the green hill, kneeling underneath them, the earth humble with the town and the river around – the Wawel.
English translation: Anna Filipek
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Aniela Gruszecka

(1884–1976) – a writer and literary critic, author of historical novels for youngsters. Born on 18 May 1884 in Warsaw, she finished her secondary school in Krakow, where she lived for the rest of her life. She studied at the Jagiellonian University and at the Sorbonne. She debuted in 1913 with a novel, W słońcu (In the Sun). She cooperated with the following magazines: Przegląd Warszawski, Przegląd Współczesny, Slavische Rundschau and Kobieta Współczesna, in which she published her literary studies and reviews. The most important position in her literary oeuvre is occupied by the novel Przygoda w nieznanym kraju (An Adventure in an Unknown Land), for which she received the City of Krakow Literary Award in 1935. Appreciated by critics for novel ways of expression and compared to Virginia Woolf’s works, the awarded novel tells about the Krakow artistic circles and comprises beautiful descriptions of the city. For most of her life, the author lived in the Salwator District, at 12 Gontyna Street. She died on 18 April 1976 and was buried at the Rakowicki Cemetery.

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