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Zofia Nałkowska

Photo courtesy of the National Digital Archives.

Zofia Nałkowska

The Journals 1930-1939

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Read by Marta Meissner, recorded by Radiofonia Association.
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English translation: Paulina Ohar-Zima

And now, Cracow: May, the weather, the verdure, and the smell. Those walls, gates, fortified towers: a city from fables, charm beyond words. It has been exactly twenty years since I spent here my miserable youth. (…) We rode in a taxi to Zwierzyniec: and there I passed by my grandmother’s house and garden, but I did not see anything, did not even recognise the place. The street is getting clean, flat, built-up with villas, and elegant. Oh! how they used to touch me, those pretty places by the Rudawa, which had been redirected as long as twenty years ago, within my recollection, to a different place, to a cobbled river bed. Those hills of Salwator, so overgrown with garden trees today; the green, flat Błonia Park, full of people: memorable from my childhood, and as vast as the world itself.

English translation: Paulina Ohar-Zima
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Zofia Nałkowska

(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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