Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2001


Initially published in Slavic & East European Journal, Winter 2001, p.624-40.

© 2001 by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic & East European Languages



Part of a forum on the work of Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz. The writer examines the radical change in the presentation of poets' biographies in Polish textbooks of literature during the 1860s. She contends that this change coincided with the stabilization of a Polish romantic literary canon and involved, among other things, the subject's personal life, contributions to the national cause, and subjective experiences and feelings. This subjective turn in literary biography demonstrates the relationship between canon building and nation building, she argues, in the respect that it served to unite millions of people living under different political systems. Moreover, she concludes, the development shows that the popularization of Mickiewicz as a familiar figure in educational curricula played a decisive role in his endemic acceptance as a national icon.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.