Seweryn Goszczyński 

Portrait of Seweryn Goszczyński

Seweryn Goszczyński was a Polish Romantic prose writer and poet. He was born on 4th November 1801 in Illinstsi (modern day Ukraine) and died on 25th February 1876, in Lviv, Ukraine aged 74.

Major Works

Zamek Kaniowski” (Kaniv Castle) (1828)
Wyjście z Polsk” (1830)
Nowa Epoera Polskiej” (1835)
“Król Zamczyska” (King of the Castle) (1842)

Biography Timeline

Seweryn Goszczyński was born on the 4th November 1801 in Illintsi, Kyiv, Ukraine. His father was Józef Goszczyński, a noble but poor and his mother was Franciszka Goszczyńska, née Gurowska. He was educated at several schools as his parents couldn’t afford the fees and his longest time was spent at the Basilian School in Humań where he became friends with J.B. Zaleski and M. Grabowski. He was one of eleven children, three of who died in infancy.

1820: He moves to Warsaw, where he joins the secret organisation, Union of Free Polish Brothers. 

1821: He is heartened by the outbreak of the Greek war of Independence and in August he walks to Ukraine in order to help the rebels by leaving from the port at Odessa. However, he is so short of money he has to remain in Ukraine until 1830 where he is sought by the police for his underground activities. He has to change his lodgings several times. He begins to write patriotic poetry such as “A feast of Revenge”.

1828: His novel “Zamek Kaniowski” (Kanin Castle) depicting the Koliivshchyna Rebellion of 1768 is published in Warsaw. He makes a trip to Warsaw in August but quickly has to leave and flees to Volhynia.

1830: In June he returns to Warsaw to join the conspiracy led by Piotr Wysocki and members of the cadet corps and in November he is a participant in the attack on the Belvedere Palace. He is then made a Captain in General Jozef Dwernicki’s regiment and takes part in the battles at Stoczk and Nowa Wieś. After Warsaw surrenders, he escapes across the Prussian border together with General Rybiński. He writes about these events in the poem “Wyjście z Polsk”.

1831: He crosses the Polish border on 5th October near the village of Jastrzebie. He is sentenced in absentia to the death penalty by a Russian court for his part in the November Uprising. He publishes a collection of poems entitled “Pobudka”.

1832: He settles in Galicia but continues with his activism and he creates The Union of Twenty-One (Doctor’s Union) in Lviv. He has a dispute with the poet and playwright Aleksander Fredro who demanded that committee members be able to censor articles in the groups magazine before he would sponsor it. He writes “Travel diary to the Tatra Mountains” about his journey between 4th April and 1st November.

1834: He writes the poem “Sobótka”.

1835: He sets up the Polish People’s Society in Kraków and co-founds the literary group Ziewonia. He still has to use false names as he is wanted by the Austrian Police. He publishes “Nowa Epoera Polskiej” in which he criticises what he describes as the “Un-Polish character” of Aleksandr Fedro’s comedy. 

1838: He emigrates to France and in Strasbourg he co-edits the satirical magazine “Pszonka” which is connected with the Polish Democratic Society. He meets the Polish poets Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Słowacki.  He publishes the first full translation of “Ossian’s Song” in Lviv. 

1842: He becomes secretary for the Towiańczycy Circle set up by Andrzej Tomasz Towiański (sometimes known as “The Circle of God’s Cause”) and gives up his political activities. He publishes the short verse novel “Krol Zamczyska (The King in the Castle) and an Ode in the women’s Magazine “Dziennik Domowy” but in spite of all this he still lives in absolute poverty.

1870: He publishes “Belvedere Night” and “The Journey of My Life”

1872: With the help of some friends he returns to live in Lviv.

Seweryn Goszczyński died on 25th February 1876 in Lviv, Ukraine. He was buried in the Łyczaków Cemetery in the city.