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Aleksander Fredro

Aleksander Fredro

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Aleksander Fredro was a Polish poet, playwright
Playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

 and author.

Life


Count Aleksander Fredro, of the Bończa coat of arms, was born in the village of Surochów near Jarosław, then a crown territory
Cisleithania
Cisleithania was a name of the Austrian part of Austria-Hungary, the Dual Monarchy created in 1867 and dissolved in 1918. The name was used by politicians and bureaucrats, but it had no official status...

 of Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. A landowner's son, he was educated at home. He entered the Polish army at age 16 and saw action in the Napoleonic wars, including the Moscow campaign. His memoir Topsy Turvy Talk, which echoes the style of Laurence Sterne
Laurence Sterne
Laurence Sterne was an Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy; but he also published many sermons, wrote memoirs, and was involved in local politics...

's Tristram Shandy, recounts his military experiences during Bonaparte's last campaign. While in France in 1814, he took an active interest in French drama. After leaving the army he settled on his estate and began as a writer.

Fredro made his literary debut in 1817, but he was not interested in the problems of Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

. He wrote social comedies
Comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

 about the lifestyle of the Polish nobility and is known for his skill in characterization and plot, as well as the flexibility of his language. His work also features humor typical of folk theatre from the period, or farce
Farce
In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims at entertaining the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases,...

.

Two of Fredro's tales, The Monkey in the Bath (Małpa w kąpieli) and Paul and Gawel (Paweł i Gaweł), are children's stories
Children's literature
Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve; it is often defined in four different ways: books written by children, books written for children, books chosen by children, or books chosen for children. It is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes...

. His best known comedy, Zemsta (The Revenge), was in 2002 adapted for the screen
The Revenge (film)
The Revenge is the English title for Zemsta, a film released in 2002, directed by Andrzej Wajda. This film is an adaptation of a perennially popular stage farce of the same name by the Polish dramatist and poet Aleksander Fredro....

 in Poland.

Fredro was the maternal grandfather of the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church , Ukrainska Hreko-Katolytska Tserkva), is the largest Eastern Rite Catholic sui juris particular church in full communion with the Holy See, and is directly subject to the Pope...

, Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky.

Comedies


  • Mr. Geldhab (Pan Geldhab, written in 1818 & performed 1821)
  • Man and Wife (Mąż i żona, performed 1812)
  • Mr. Jovial (Pan Jowialski, performed 1832)
  • Maidens' Vows, or the Magnetism of the Heart (Śluby panieńskie, czyli magnetyzm serca, performed 1833)
  • The Revenge
    Zemsta
    Zemsta is a Polish comedy by Aleksander Fredro.-The Play:Real events inspired Fredro to write the play. In November of 1828, Fredro married Zofia Skotnicka, whose dowry included the title to half of a castle located in Odrzykon in the province of Galicia...

    (Zemsta, performed 1834)
  • The Annuity (Dożywocie, performed 1835)