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Book versus Power

Studies in the Relations between Politics and Culture in Polish History


Edited By Jacek Soszyński and Agnieszka Chamera-Nowak

This volume considers the various interactions between the culture of the book and politics in Polish history. Each of the fourteen authors deals with a different topic, chronologically starting with the beginnings of the early Piast monarchy in the 10 th century up to contemporary times: for instance, E. Potkowski discusses the political ambitions of Duke Mieszko I and his descendants with regard to the introduction of early writing and reading in Poland; A. Kamler analyses the attitude of the Jagiellonian dynasty in the 1500s towards books and education; and D. Jarosz traces the changing approach of the communists towards book production and the promotion of readership in their attempts to persuade Polish society to accept their ideology.
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The Polish Library in Paris, 1838–1893


The beginnings of the Polish library in Paris are closely related to the events that took place in Poland as a result of the momentous night of 29–30 November 1830, when a group of officer cadets, in a conspiracy led by Lieutenant Piotr Wysocki, attacked the Warsaw residence of the Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, initiating the November Uprising. The revolt against Russian rule that ensued, encompassed the lands of the Congress Kingdom of Poland, Lithuania, and Volhynia. In spite of initial successes and heroic efforts, after ten months of uneven fighting, the remnants of the Polish armed forces crossed the Prussian frontier, on 5 October 1831. The majority of the soldiers, and the politicians who accompanied them, after a period of internment in Prussia, travelled to France.

Having subdued the revolt (1830–1831) the Russian government embarked on a policy of hard line-repression against the Poles. The autonomy of the Kingdom of Poland was practically taken away. Among other measures, in a symbolic gesture, the tsar appointed the victorious commander of the Russian army Field Marshal Ivan Paskevich, governor of Poland. In 1832, the tsar also promulgated the Organic Statute, a legal act which replaced the Constitution of 1815.1 With this act the Polish parliament, the army, and the autonomous administration officially ceased to exist; Poland no longer was to be considered a separate state. The tsar closed the universities in Warsaw and Vilnius, and the Krzemieniec Lyceum.2 Other educational institutions were also severely limited...

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