Władysław Reymont

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Władysław Stanisław Reymont (May 7, 1867 in Kobiele Wielkie – December 5, 1925) was a Polish novelist and Nobel laureate. His best-known work is the novel Chłopi (Peasants).

Contents

Surname

Born Stanisław Władysław Rejment, Reymont's baptism certificate lists his original surname as "Rejment". He ordered the change himself during his published debut, as it was supposed to protect him in the Russian-occupied area of Poland from any trouble for having published in Galicia a work not allowed under the Tsar's censorship. Kazimierz Wyka, an enthusiast of Reymont's work, believes that the correction could also have been meant to remove any association with the word rejmentować, which in some local Polish dialects means "to swear".

Life

He was born in the village of Kobiele Wielkie, near Radomsko as one of nine children to Józef Rejment, an organist. He spent his childhood in Tuszyn near Łódź, to which his father had moved in order to work at a richer church parish. Reymont was defiantly stubborn; after a few years of education in the local school he was sent by his father to Warsaw into the care of his eldest sister and her husband to teach him his vocation. In 1885, after passing his examinations and presenting "a tail-coat, well-made", he was given the title of journeyman tailor—his only formal certificate of education.

To his family's annoyance he did not work a single day as a tailor. Instead he first ran away to work in a travelling provincial theatre and then returned in the summer to Warsaw for the "garden theatres". Without a penny to his name he then returned to Tuszyn after a year and, thanks to his father's connections, took up employment as a gateman at a railway crossing near Koluszki for 16 rubles a month. He escaped twice more: in 1888 to Paris and London as a medium with a German spiritualist, and then again to a theatre troupe. After his lack of success (he was not a talented actor), he returned home again. Reymont also stayed for a time in Krosnowa near Lipce and for a time considered joining the Pauline Order in Częstochowa. He also lived in Kołaczkowo, where he bought a mansion.

Work

When his Korespondencje (Correspondence) from Rogowo, Koluszki and Skierniewice was accepted for publication by Głos (The Voice) in Warsaw in 1892, he returned to Warsaw once more, clutching a group of unpublished short stories along with a few rubles in his pocket. Reymont then visited the editorial offices of various newspapers and magazines, and eventually met other writers who became interested in his talent. On a Mr. Świętochowski's advice, he went on a pilgrimage to Częstochowa in 1894 and wrote a report on his experience there. The report remains a classic example of travel writing.[citation needed]

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