Winner, 1997 National Book Award for PoetryWinner, 1993 PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize Published in 1776 and considered the first Polish novel ever written, The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom is a picaresque tale following the naive title character's coming of age. Having conquered (and fled) sophisticated Warsaw, Nicholas enjoys many adventures across Europe, South America, and the high seas. He finally lands among the natives of an unknown isle who reject his allegedly superior European ways and instead tutor him for an "enlightened" existence. Resonant with Enlightenment ideas, The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom provides a sly portrait of the era's Polish society and a fascinating perspective on the broader problems of eighteenth-century European culture.
Ignacy Krasicki (3 February 1735 - 14 March 1801), from 1766 Prince-Bishop of Warmia (in German, Ermland) and from 1795 Archbishop of Gniezno (thus, Primate of Poland), was Poland's leading Enlightenment poet ("the Prince of Poets"), a critic of the clergy, Poland's La Fontaine, author of the first Polish novel, playwright, journalist, encyclopedist, and translator from French and Greek. His most notable literary works were his Fables and Parables (1779), Satires (1779), and poetic letters and religious lyrics, in which the artistry of his poetic language reached its summit.