Melchior Wankowicz: Poland’s Master of the Written Word

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9780739175903: Melchior Wankowicz: Poland’s Master of the Written Word
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In Melchior Wankowicz: Poland’s Master of the Written Word, Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm examines the life and writing of famous Polish writer Melchior Wankowicz, author of legendary work “The Battle of Monte Cassino”.

Acclaimed by his readers and critics alike, Melchior Wankowicz was famous for creating his theory of reportage, i.e. the “mosaic method” where the events of many people were implanted into the life of one person. Melchior Wankowicz put into words the beautiful, tragic and heroic events of Polish history that provided a form of sustenance for a people that thrive on patriotism and love of their country. Wankowicz’s books shaped national consciousness, glorified the heroism of the Polish soldier. Later in his life, Wankowicz personally set an example by standing up to the Communist party that brought him to trail for his work.

In this book, Ziolkowska-Boehm offers a critical examination of Wankowicz’s work informed by her experiences as his private secretary. Her access to the author’s personal archives shed new light on the life and work of the man considered by many to be “the father of Polish reportage.”

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About the Author:

Dr. Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm is an independent scholar, author of many books, and recipient of numerous literary awards, including a fellowship in literature from the Delaware Divisions of Arts and a Fulbright scholarship.

Review:

The book contains sources, eyewitnesses, interviews, and conversations Melchior Wankowicz had with his wife, friends and co-authors. . . She edited Melchior Wankowicz's selected works, providing extensive notes at the end of each chapter, in addition to the bibliography. His fascinating life will be of great interest to all writers. (Polish American Journal)

Chapter 2, "The Trial of Melchior Wańkowicz -- 1964," is the most important and fascinating section of the book.... This book is a tribute to Wańkowicz, the writer. (The Polish Review)

Dr. Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm has written an excellent book on her master and guru, Melchior Wankowicz (1892–1974). Generally recognized as an unsurpassed master of literary journalism, he had set high standards for that type of writing, distinguishing himself with his 3 volume study "Monte Cassino" (1945), dealing with a major victory of Polish troops in WW II. Serving as Wankowicz's associate for two plus years, she has become an expert on her subject, and aptly demonstrated how much she has learned from her master. The book, written with her elegant style, sparkled with anecdotes and humor, may very well serve as a perfect example of a modern Polish contribution to American literary studies. (Jerzy Krzyzanowski, Ohio State University)

I found this book fascinating and delightful. Ziolkowska-Boehm recorded with freshness and directness her memories of one of Poland's greatest writers. This is clearly a great book. (Karl Maramorosch, Rutgers University)

An intimate portrait of Wankowicz, the writer, public figure, family man, and one-time prisoner of the Communist regime. Important documents accompany the narrative. (Piotr Wandycz, Yale University)

Wankowicz combined first class literary writing with outstanding reportage. He was a free spirit, going against the tide of émigré opinion by returning to then communist Poland for good in 1958. But he also protested publicly, with other writers, against communist repression of Polish culture in March 1964, after which he was briefly imprisoned and put on trial on rigged charges. Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm, a prolific author herself, and Wankowicz’s secretary in the last years of his life, has written a fine, documented account of this extraordinary individual and his writings. (Anna M. Cienciala, University of Kansas)

A wonderful sketch of the tension between the writer and the Party. (Bruce Johansen, University of Nebraska Omaha)

Melchior Wańkowicz: Poland’s Master of the Written Word . . . . is a captivating although somehow eclectic portrait of a great humanist with a pragmatic approach to life, a prolific hard working writer, bon vivant, thinker, husband, father and most of all a fabulous reporter and storyteller. ... Melchior Wańkowicz: Poland’s Master of the Written Word comes at a good time. . . . I am convinced that thanks to Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm latest book, Melchior Wańkowicz will always have plenty of readers. (Cosmopolitan)

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