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Henryk Sienkiewicz
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Author
    (May 5, 1846-November 15, 1916)
    Born in Wola Okrzejska, Poland
    Polish journalist, novelist, and philanthropist
    Birth name was Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius Sienkiewicz
    Recipient of the French Légion d'honneur
    Best known as the author of the historical fiction novel, 'Quo Vadis' (1899)
    Also known for the 'Sienkiewicz Trilogy' of historical novels; 'Ogniem i mieczem' (With Fire and Sword), 'The Deluge,' and 'Fire in the Steppe,' set in the 17th-century Poland
    Also wrote 'Niewola Tatarska' (Tartar Captivity), 'Without Dogma,' 'Teutonic Knights,' 'On the Field of Glory,' and 'In Desert and Wilderness'
    Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition for his lifetime achievements as an epic writer, in 1905
    His last name is extremely difficult to pronounce.
    Witold Gombrowicz described him as a 'first-rate second-rate writer.'
    His first wife left him less than two weeks after their wedding.
    He blamed his second marriage's dissolution to 'in-law intrigues,' and proceeded to marry his niece.
    He is best remembered for a novel that inspired a glossy 1951 Robert Taylor/Deborah Kerr costume drama.
    There were allegedly calls in Polish churches for prayers to be said whenever he killed on a fictional character in his 'Trilogy.'
    He was accused of misrepresenting historical fact in his novels (e.g. prioritizing Poland's military victories over their failures).
    It is inaccurately claimed that he received the Nobel Prize for 'Quo Vadis' (arguably his least interesting work), but in actuality it was for his body of work as a whole.
    'With Fire and Sword' and 'Quo Vadis' both fell victim to Marvel's 'Classics Illustrated' comic book abridgement butchery (sort of the 1940s precursor to Sparknotes).
    He was easily the most famous Polish author of his time, but has since been overshadowed by fellow Polish novelist Joseph Conrad (no where near as famous as him, at the time).
    He actually had never set foot in the Ukrainian Steppe territory he wrote about; rather most of his imagery was based off of his American travels on the western prairies and along the Mississippi (which might explain his inserting 'large reptiles' into the Dnieper wilderness).
    He heavily influenced the literary career of William Faulkner.
    He was among the first Polish writers to write about 'peasant themes.'
    There are three museums dedicated to him in Poland.
    He is credited with reviving the cultural popularity of the historical fiction novel.
    He was a versatile writer, equally at home in the short story, historical romance, fantasy, and social criticism.
    In the United States, 'Quo Vadis' sold 800,000 copies in eighteen months.
    His experiences with the Polish Insurrection of 1863, while a teenager influenced his style of work, as it drastically changed the future of his home country.
    During WWI, he worked to raise funds for the relief effort for Polish servicemen.
    His letters from America and Africa to his home country are among the best 'travel books' in Polish literature.
    He is memorialized with statues in Warsaw's Łazienki Park, Zbaraż, Rome, and Okrzeja near Wola Okrzejska.
    His 'Trilogy' novels were among the only books to regularly sell out new editions during Poland's years under Communist-control.
    He said in his Nobel Prize banquet speech, 'It has been said that Poland is dead, exhausted, enslaved, but here is the proof of her life and triumph.'
    He spent his later years sending appeals protesting the injustices inflicted on Poland by outer spheres of influence.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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