Adam Naruszewicz

Adam Stanisław Naruszewicz (Lithuanian: Adomas Naruševičius) (20 October 1733 – 8 July 1796) was a Polish-Lithuanian nobleman from an impoverished aristocratic family, poet, historian, dramatist, translator, publicist, Jesuit and titular Bishop of Smolensk (1775–1788 as suffragan bishop and 1788–1790 as full diocesan bishop) and bishop of Łuck (1790–1796). He was a member of the Permanent Council (1781–1786). He has been described as one of the most significant writers of the Polish Enlightenment, as well as one of the first modern Polish historians.

Adam Stanisław Naruszewicz
Portrait by Mateusz Tokarski (1747–1807)
Coat of armsWadwicz Herb Wadwicz.jpg
Born20 October 1733
Lahišyn, Polesie
Died6 July 1796(1796-07-06) (aged 62)
Janów Podlaski


His family had a small estate in Polesie, and he was educated at Pinsk. In 1748 he joined the Jesuit Order. In the early 1750s he studied and later lectured at the Vilnius University.[1]:554 In the second half of 1750s, he taught at Collegium Nobilum Societatis Jesu in Warsaw. From around 1758 to 1762 he studied theology in Lyon, France, and in 1762 received his holy orders in the nearby Vienne. Upon his return to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, he resumed his position as a lecturer in the Collegium Nobilum; he also held some lectures at the military school, the Corps of Cadets.[1]:555

In 1764 he was introduced to the Polish king Stanisław August Poniatowski,[1]:555 and from around 1770-1771 he has been a vocal supporter, advisor and ally of Poniatowski. Also in 1771 he received the Medal Merentibus [pl] from the King - an award in recognition of his literary achievements.[2]:6[1]:556 He was the editor of the Zabawy Przyjemne i Pożyteczne [pl] - the first Polish literary magazine, published in the years 1770–1777 and a prominent regular at the artistic gatherings, known as the Thursday Lunches, hosted by the king.[2]:6[2]:557 After the suppression of the Jesuit Order in 1773, King Stanislaus arranged for him a number of positions, including eventually a bishop's seat (he was a titular Bishop of Smolensk from 1775–1788 as suffragan bishop and from 1788–1790 as full diocesan bishop, and later bishop of Łuck from 1790–1796).[2]:7[1]:557 In 1776 he received the Order of Saint Stanislaus and in 1783, the Order of the White Eagle.[1]:557, 559

From 1781 to 1786 he was a member of the Permanent Council, the highest administrative authority in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and also held the court rank of the Great Lithuanian Scribe.[1]:559 As a senator he participated in the Great Sejm, supporting the Constitution of 3 May 1791 as one of the Friends of the Constitution[1]:559–560 After Polish defeat in the Polish–Russian War of 1792 and Poniatowski's surrender and entrance to the Targowica Confederation (which Naruszewicz also joined), he withdrew from the political life and permanently settled in Janów Podlaski where he died on 8 July 1796.[2]:7[1]:560


Naruszewicz was a prolific writer (in both Polish and Latin), beginning his literary career in the late 1740s, with his first work debuting publicly in 1756.[2]:7–8 He wrote odes, idylls, satires, fairy tales, epigrams, and rococo poems; many of those were praising King Poniatowski, although those panegyric works are rarely considered his best.[2]:6, 12 He also was active as a publisher and as a translator of Latin and French works into Polish - he translated works of authors such as Anacreon, Horace, Tacitus, as well as modern Latin-writing authors such as Pole Maciej Kazimierz Sarbiewski and Swiss Salomon Gessner.[2]:6

In his later life, he moved away from writing fiction, focusing on historical research, culminating in the seven-volumes of Historia narodu polskiego [pl] (History of the Polish Nation), mostly written in the years 1776-1779 and published in the subsequent decade. He also compiled documents, known as Teki Naruszewicza [pl] (Naruszewicz's Folders), unpublished during his life, that later became a valuable archive to future historians.[2]:7 [1]:559 His other works in the realm of history including a monography on hetman Jan Karol Chodkiewicz (published in 1781) and over 130 shorter biographies of other notable individuals.[1]:557 Finally, his works also included political pamphlets in support of Poniatowski's faction.[1]:557


He has been described as "one of the most significant poets of the Polish Enlightenment",[2]:7 and the most significant poet associated with the Poniatowski's political faction.[2]:6 He has been described as the leading Polish literary figure of the early Enlightenment, before that position was taken over by Ignacy Krasicki.[1]:560 His literary work has been described as fitting in the spirit of The Enlightenment, although formally - through their form and language - still displaying many similarities to the styles of the previous era (baroque, classicism, sentimentalism and roccoco). Naruszewicz has been crediting with initiated a number of changes in the style of Polish literature, and being one of the Polish originators of the novelty of the Enlightenment ideas expressed in poetry. His works have inspired a number of future writers.[2]:8[1]:556

Naruszewicz has also been named among the first modern Polish historians.[3] In particular, he was also the first modern historian who used the term Piast dynasty, popularizing it in the subsequent historiography.[4][5] He has also been described as the most significant early Polish historian until Joachim Lelewel. In Polish historiography, there is also a distinction between the "Naruszewicz school", supporting monarchy and strong central power, and the more liberal-republican "Lelewel school".[1]:560



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Platt, Julian (1977). "NARUSZEWICZ Adam Stanisław Tadeusz". Polski słownik biograficzny (in Polish). 22. Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich. pp. 554–561.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Adam Naruszewicz; Barbara Wolska (2005). Poezje zebrane (in Polish). Instytut Badań Literackich. ISBN 978-83-89348-56-2.
  3. ^ Norman Davies (24 February 2005). God's Playground A History of Poland: Volume 1: The Origins to 1795. OUP Oxford. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-19-925339-5.
  4. ^ Juliusz Bardach (1957). Historia państwa i prawa Polski do roku 1795: Bardach, J. Historia państwa i prawa Polski do połowy XV wieku. Państwowe Wydawn. Naukowe. p. 68.
  5. ^ Jacek Hertel (1980). Imiennictwo dynastii piastowskiej we wcześniejszym średniowieczu. Państwowe Wydawn. Naukowe. pp. 31, 160. ISBN 978-83-01-01662-3.

External linksEdit