Polish Studies Bulletin

Article / interview

01.10.2019

100th anniversary of “Biblioteka Narodowa” (National Library of Poland) book series

This year marks the 100th  anniversary of the creation of "The National Library of Poland" - the oldest and best known literary series in Poland. So far, it has published 605 volumes of the most valuable works of Polish and world literature in exemplary, professional and accessible studies, which came from the pens of the best Polish literary scholars.

source: Ossolineum | Ossolineum

"The National Library of Poland publishing house would like to satisfy the urgent cultural need and make the exemplary editions of the most accurate works of Polish and foreign literature in the study providing the results of the latest knowledge about them accessible to every intelligent Pole as well as the educated youth" – one can read in the declaration from the first volumes of the series.

The concept of the The National Library of Poland series was created by professors of the Jagiellonian University. Initially, the series appeared in the Krakow Publishing Company, and since 1933 it has been published by the National Institute of Ossolińscy. Work on “The National Library of Poland" did not cease even during World War II.

To date, 605 volumes of the most accurate works of Polish and world literature have been published in the series. In the last days of September there was the premiere of the latest volume - "Four dramas" by Cyprian Norwid, supplemented with an introduction and study by Kazimierz Braun. Soon, another volume will be released - "Selection of Kazimierz Wyka's writings" prepared by Paweł Mackiewicz.

"I will say very personally that I am proud that we have something as wonderful and momentous in our culture as The National Library of Poland," wrote Olga Tokarczuk in the jubilee catalog. "And if for some reason I were sent to a desert island, I would cleverly ask for all its publications. I would have had enough reading for the rest of my life”, she added.

The Ossolineum publishing house was founded in Lviv in 1827 and remains the oldest publishing house operating continuously in Poland. Established by Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński with a view to publishing historical and literary studies resulting from scientific work on the collection of Ossolineum, it quickly became one of the most important centers of Polish publishing life.

After the war, the National Institute of Ossoliński was moved to Wrocław. From 1953, he operated as a branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and the publishing house, having branches in several cities, became a tycoon on the market at that time, especially in the field of science books. In the 1990s, the publishing house was commercialized, in 2007, the Ossoliński National Institute became its majority owner, and in 2013 it returned to its structure.

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