Henryk Sienkiewicz

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Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846-1916) was a nationalist, deeply religious, Nobel Prize-winning Polish author. Sienkiewicz was born in Wola Okrzejska, in the area of Poland that was at the time under Russian control. He studied in Warsaw, and in 1876 he traveled to the United States. His travels were said to have influenced his writings. He and his family were staunch patriots and nationalists. This element can be clearly seen in his works. Sienkiewicz was and still is very popular in his homeland, however his popularity never really extended outside of Poland. This is partly because very few decent translations of his works are available in English. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1905.


His most famous novel, published in 1895, is Quo Vadis, the story of Christian persecution at the hands of Nero and the Romans. He also wrote the The Trilogy: Ogniem i Mieczem (With Fire and Sword), Potop (The Deluge), and Pan Wolodyjowski (Pan Michael), which are three nationalist historical novels set in the 17th Century, published in 1884, 1886, and 1888 respectively. He also authored: Bez Dogmatu (Without Dogma) (1891); Rodzina Polanieckich (Children of the Soil) (1894); Krzyzacy (1900), which deals with the victory of the Poles over the Teutonic Knights; Na Polu Chwaly (On the Field of Glory) (1906); Wiry (Whirlpools) (1910); and W Pustyni i w Puszczy (In Desert and Wilderness) (1912).


Sienkiewicz died in 1916, two years before the independent state of Poland he dreamed of was reformed.


Polish American Center

Official Website of the Nobel Foundation Sienkiewicz Biography