Leśmian (Lesman) Bolesław

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LEŚMIAN (Lesman ), BOLESŁAW (1878–1937), Polish poet. Born in Warsaw, Leśmian was raised in Kiev and trained as a lawyer. A master of Polish verse, he was one of the leading representatives of the group of symbolist poets known as Young Poland, in whose organ Chimera his earliest works appeared (1901–07). In turn satirical and pathetic, he produced verse full of symbolic description and metaphysical reflection, mingling realistic, fanciful, and grotesque effects. Above all, Leśmian stressed the tragic fate of mankind – a prey to sickness and misery. During his lifetime he published three verse collections: Sad rozstajny ("The Widespread Orchard," 1912); Łaka ("The Meadow," 1920); and Napój cienisty ("Shady Liquor," 1936). A fourth volume, Dzieje leśna ("The Wood Fable"), appeared posthumously in 1938. Leśmian also translated poems by Edgar Allan Poe and published two prose works, Klechdy sezamowe ("The Sesame Narrative," 1913), fairy tales; and Przygody Sindbada żeglarza ("The Adventures of Sinbad the Sailor," 1915), a popular children's book. Leśmian, whose works often recall those of *Kafka, was a forerunner of the Polish surrealists and his poetry enjoyed a new lease on life in the 1960s, inspiring literary symposia and research. His Szkice literackie i eseje ("Literary Sketches and Essays") were published in 1959.

[Stanislaw Wygodzki]

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Leśmian (Lesman) Bolesław

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