Epic Poem or Adaptation to Catholic Doctrine? Two Polish Versions of Paradise Lost

The European Legacy 17 (3):349-365 (2012)
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The history of Milton's reception in Poland suggests that he was mainly seen as a model practitioner of epic poetry, rather than as a political or religious thinker. This conclusion is borne out by comparing two of the three complete translations of Paradise Lost into Polish—the first by Jacek Przybylski (1791), the second by Władysław Bartkiewicz (1902) (the third being Maciej Słomczyński's 1974 translation). The examination of a few crucial passages demonstrates that the earlier translation, Przybylski's, is more successful in representing Milton's linguistic sophistication, theology, and attitude to the Roman Church, than Bartkiewicz's later translation, which, characterized above all by a concern with Catholic correctness, includes many omissions and distortions. Słomczyński's translation, criticized for its theological inaccuracies, is only briefly discussed, as are a few fragments of Milton's work that were translated by other Polish poets.



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