Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:31 pm
Post subject: Wladyslaw Reymont, Chlopi / The Peasants
In one of other articles in our Forum there was mentioned book "Chłopi" (english "The Peasants") . Its author, Władysław Reymont, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for this four volume book over rivals Thomas Mann, Maxim Gorky and Thomas Hardy in 1924.
What may be even more interesting for Polish immigrants is the fact that the book portrays in a very realistic way everyday life of our ancestors at the breakthrough of 19 and 20th century. And so many of our forefathers emigrated from their fatherland to the US exactly at that time. There is even a thread in "The Peasants" in which one of the main character is planning his emigration to America.
I invite you to watch 14 minutes abstract from Polish film made on the basis of the book. Let's move back in time to the Polish country at the beginning of 20th century.............
Reymont wrote many books. One that I was interested in reading is The Comedienne, written in 1896. Reymont himself worked for a couple of years as an actor in provincal and garden theatres.
In this book Reymont paints a drama of a rebellious provincial girl, Janina, the comédienne of the title, who joins a Warsaw theatre company. In translation the title loses a little of its meaning. It was a term used to distinguish provincial actresses from their more esteemed counterparts at the State Theatre in Warsaw. ‘Comédienne’ did not mean a player of comedy as in the present sense, as comédiennes played all roles including drama and tragedy. The word in Polish also connotes a deceiver. A Pole of the time might have referred to a temptress as a comédienne. The title in Reymont’s day would not have implied the lighter novel that we might unwittingly expect today.
This excerpt is from the introduction.
Writing in 1875 another of Poland’s Nobel Laureates, Henry Sienkiewicz, reported on Polish garden theatres thus;
These theatres are peculiarly enticing and seductive to our public. How much freedom there is in all this and how colourful! Theatre and bazaar, dreams and cigarettes, scenic enchantment and starry night overhead-what contradictory elements. In the chairs, patrons with hats pushed to the back of their heads; behind the barrier, the public, artless, impetuous, fascinated, constantly calling: “Louder! Louder!” at interesting moments not stirring from their places even in a downpour, prone to applause and impatient. Finally, what a mixture! Young gentlemen who have come expressly for the radiant eyes of Miss Czesia (a contemporary heartthrob). They converse of course in French, while Prince Lolo, unrivalled in the realm of chic, wipes his opera glasses, and the “divine” Comte Joujou grasps one leg and crosses it over the other, thereby permitting the rabble to marvel at his genuine fil d’Ecosse stockings; then several gentry of the bronze faced and serene glance “my-dear-sir” each other about the price of wool instead of the play, crops instead of actors. Further, a group of counting-house clerks in collars which can only be seen in the Journal Amusant converse softly, and only occasionally can one overhear in the ‘national language’ the phrases; “zewu zasiur, Michasz” or “antrnusuadi, Staszu!” Behind the barrier one hears the dialect of Franciszkaner Gasse. There too ladies of the demi-monde swish their dresses, and chattering, dart flashing looks from darkly painted eyes. Elsewhere several artisans argue with a Jew about a spot near a pillar; overhead the leaves of trees rustle, from the snack bar threatening exhortations; in a word: a mixture of voices, languages, social classes, manners, moods, a veritable Tower of Babel of people linked only by the hope of relaxation, freedom and entertainment.
I just watched "Chłopi" ("The Peasants") on DVD after receiving it as a gift from a dear Polish friend. The movie is rich in details and provides a glimpse of peasant life and customs. I am now searching for the books, which have been translated into English, but are difficult to find.
For those of you who enjoyed the movie clip that Zenon posted above, the entire movie on DVD is available at Amazon at this link: http://goo.gl/2vtrr
Shellie PO Top Contributor & Patron
Joined: 18 Feb 2009 Replies: 998 Location: Atlanta, GA
I just watched my DVD of "Chłopi" ("The Peasants") again and thoroughly enjoyed it (again)!
Has anyone else seen it?
I was fascinated by the scene where the woman is expelled from the village. This is something that I've never heard about in my limited experience with my Polish family history. My knowledge of my village is limited to what I've found in church records. Stories about the everyday ins-and-outs of village life are lacking in my research. This is why I'm so hungry for any clues about life during my ancestor's days....and why I am so carefully reading The Nation in the Village in the book club: http://forum.polishorigins.com/viewforum.php?f=32
Anyone interested in the Chłopi DVD can purchase it (14.95 USD) through Amazon at: http://goo.gl/2vtrr
Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:23 am
Post subject: Chlopi / The Peasants
I have also viewed The Peasants and enjoyed it very much. Like you, I am trying to absorb all the details of what my grandparents life may have been like wherever I can find them!
The movie is in Polish with English subtitles--but don't let that scare you, as I found it easy to follow. They allowed plenty of time to read the dialogue and I was especially pleased that there were various scenes without dialogue to read, which allowed me to observe and take in the details of the surroundings in the scenes. These two elements of the movie made it even more enjoyable to watch.
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum You cannot attach files in this forum You can download files in this forum