IGNACY KRASICKI
 (1735-1801)

Ignacy Krasicki came from a family of titled nobility in Ruthenia. Early destined for the priesthood, he attended first a Jesuit college in Lw6w and later a seminary in Warsaw. Krasicki became very close to the King, Stanislaw August, participated in his Thursday dinners, and had an apartment in the Royal Castle. He was co-founder, co-editor, and contributor to The Monitor. Thanks to powerful connections, Krasicki made a splendid career in the church hierarchy. After a number of lucrative posts and benefits, in 1766 he was consecrated bishop of Wannia. When Wan-nia was annexed to Prussia in 1772 as a result of the first partition, Krasicki's contacts with Poland became more tenuous. In these politically turbulent years, Krasicki remained uncommitted and politically aloof. He devoted himself to writing, collected books and drawings, and cultivated a beautiful garden. He died in 1801 in Berlin.

Krasicki was a prolific writer, and tried his hand in many genres: epic and lyrical poetry, mock heroic poems, satires, fables, novels, plays, encyclopedia articles, and critical essays. He was not sucessful in all of them, but the best of his poetry earned him the title of prince of poets among his contemporaries. 

Krasicki debuted with a mock-heroic poem The Mouse-iad (Myszeis, 1775), followed by two satires on monastic orders, Monachomachia, or the War of the Monks (Monachomachia albo wojna ninich6w, 1778) and Anti-Monachornachia (1780). Krasicki's two novels The Adventures of Nicolaus Do§wiadczyfiski (Mikolaja Dos'wiadczyhskiego przypadki, 17 7 6) and Mr. Pander (Pan Podstoli, 1778) are important as milestones in the development of the Polish novel.

It is his Satires (Satyry, 1779) and even more his Fables and Parables (Bajki i przypowieici, 1779) and The New Fables (Bajki nowe, published posthumously in 1803) that assure Krasicki a prominent place in Polish letters. The genre of fables suited Krasicki's moralistic and didactic temperament exceptionally well. Although he used common plots and popular characters, Krasicki created his own type of fable: concise, concentrated, and at the same time written in language that one critic described as "simpler than everyday speech." Praised for their compositional, intellectual, and stylistic values, also compared to algebraic equations and mathematical formulas, Krasicki's fables have been labelled "icy." To some critics and readers Krasicki remains a great artist, but because of lack of deep feeling and lively imagination is not always a great poet. 

(from Monumenta Polonica)