ADAM NARUSZEWICZ 
(1733-1796)
 

Born in an impoverished noble family in Polesie, Adam Naruszewicz: made a brilliant career. After studying in the famous Jesuit College in Lyon, France, he became a lecturer of Latin at the Wilno Academy, and in 1762 a professor of poetics at the Collegium Nobilium in Warsaw. Soon he won favors from King Stanislaw August as well as his friendship. Associated with the first Polish literary weekly, Games Pleasant and Useful-where over the years he had published close to 150 poems-he became in 1771 its editor-in-chief.

The suppression of the Jesuit order in 1773 proved to be a blessing for a man whose impulsive and passionate nature-as well as his secular, irreverent, even licentious mentality-did not blend harmoniously with the monk's habit. With the help of the King and thanks to his own unflagging efforts, Naruszewicz quickly advanced in the church hierarchy, gaining the titles first of coadjutor and, soon after, of bishop. In 1776 he was given the Medal of Saint Stanislas. I-Es political career was equally impressive, taking him all the way to a senator's seat at the Four-Year Diet (1788-1792), where he often served as a mediator between the king and the representatives of the Camp of Reforms. Discouraged and embittered after the Confederacy of Targowica and the ensuing partitions, Naruszewicz retired from public life. He died in 1796. 

A well-known and highly respected poet during his lifetime, Nar-uszewicz was criticized and rejected by the Romantics as a poet of panegyrics. These indeed constitute a major part of his poetic output. However, during the last hundred years this harsh, one-sided estimate of Naruszewicz has been revised, and his poetic reputation restored. Naruszewicz was a skillful poet. The distinctive features of his poetry are clarity and concision, combined with subtle but biting irony. It is also a poetry that is visually rich and well anchored in concrete details. Aside from poetry, Naruszewicz is the author of a seven-volume History of the Polish Nation (Historia narodu polskiego, 1779-1786), commissioned by the King. 

(From Monumenta Polonica)