Famous Polish Essayists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Polish Essayists

 1 

Stanisław Lem
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Birthdate: September 12, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: March 27, 2006

Stanisław Lem was a Polish writer who specialized in the science fiction genre. He was also a noted essayist who wrote on varied subjects, including philosophy, futurology, and literary criticism. His books, which have been translated into over 50 languages, have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. 

 2 
Olga Tokarczuk
(Polish Writer Best Known for Her Novel 'Flights' and Winner of 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature)

Olga Tokarczuk
3
Birthdate: January 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sulechów, Poland

Olga Tokarczuk is a Polish writer and public intellectual. She is one of the most critically acclaimed authors of her generation in Poland. She was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the first female Polish writer to receive the honor. Her works have been translated into almost 40 languages. She is also a clinical psychologist. 

 3 
Adam Mickiewicz
(Best Known as One of Poland's 'Three Bards' & A Primary Figure in European Romanticism)

Adam Mickiewicz
3
Birthdate: December 24, 1798
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zavosse, Belarus
Died: November 26, 1855

Adam Mickiewicz was a Polish poet, dramatist, essayist, and political activist. He was a major figure in Polish Romanticism and considered one of Poland's "Three Bards." He has long been regarded as Poland's national poet and is often compared to Byron and Goethe. The vast majority of his work is available only in Polish and has been reprinted numerous times. 

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 4 
Wisława Szymborska
(Poet, Essayist, Translator)

Wisława Szymborska
3
Birthdate: July 2, 1923
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kórnik, Poland
Died: February 1, 2012

Wisława Szymborska was a Polish poet, essayist, and translator. In 1996, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for her poetry. Her works have been translated into numerous languages, including English, Arabic, Japanese, Hebrew, and Chinese. She also translated French literature, especially Baroque poetry, into Polish. She actively wrote until her death at the age of 88. 

 5 
Joseph Conrad
(Known for Short Stories and Novels Like Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness and the Secret Agent)

Joseph Conrad
0
Birthdate: December 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berdychiv, Ukraine
Died: August 3, 1924

Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer. Considered one of the greatest English-language novelists of all time, Conrad is credited with bringing a non-English sensibility into English-language literature. Many of his works have inspired several films, TV series, and video games. His anti-heroic characters and narrative style have influenced many authors like Salman Rushdie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T. S. Eliot.

 6 
Sholem Asch
(Novelist, Playwright and One of the Most Widely Known Writers in Modern Yiddish Literature)

Sholem Asch
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1880
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kutno, Poland
Died: July 10, 1957

Born to a poor but generous innkeeper, Sholem Asch grew up to be one of the best-known Yiddish authors in the world. The Polish-born American writer, known for novels such as Uncle Moses and Chaim Lederer’s Return, also penned the play The God of Vengeance, which was banned everywhere except in Germany.

 7 
Zbigniew Herbert
(One of the Best Known and the Most Translated Post-war Polish Writers)

Zbigniew Herbert
2
Birthdate: October 29, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lwów, Poland
Died: July 28, 1998

Zbigniew Herbert was a Polish poet, drama writer, essayist, and moralist. One of the most translated and best known post-war Polish writers, Herbert received several nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature during his lifetime. Zbigniew Herbert did receive several other prestigious awards such as the Kościelski Prize, Jurzykowski Prize, Herder Prize, and Austrian State Prize for European Literature.  

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Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz
2
Birthdate: February 20, 1894
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine
Died: March 2, 1980

Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz was a Polish poet, writer, essayist, translator, and dramatist. Remembered for his literary achievements, Iwaszkiewicz received four nominations for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature during his lifetime. Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz is also remembered for saving the lives of many Jews during the Second World War and was honored with the Righteous Among the Nations award in 1988.

Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kielce, Poland
Died: July 4, 2000

Author and journalist Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski is perhaps best known for his memoir A World Apart, which narrated his experiences of being a captive in the Soviet Gulag labor camp system. A political dissident in Poland, he also co-founded the magazine Kultura and was part of the Polish Socialist Party.

 10 

Eliza Orzeszkowa
1
Birthdate: June 6, 1841
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milkowszczyzna, Poland
Died: May 18, 1910

Eliza Orzeszkowa was a Polish novelist whose works revolved around the social and political conditions of her then-occupied country. One of the most important writers of the Positivism movement in Poland, Eliza Orzeszkowa was nominated for the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1905 along with Leo Tolstoy and Henryk Sienkiewicz.

 11 

Maria Dąbrowska
1
Birthdate: October 6, 1889
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Russow, Poland
Died: May 19, 1965

Maria Dąbrowska was a Polish writer, essayist, novelist, playwright, and journalist. She is best remembered for her historical novel Nights and Days, which were written in four separate volumes between 1932 and 1934. Maria Dąbrowska received five nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1935, she was honored by the Polish Academy of Literature with the prestigious Golden Laurel. 

 12 

Ferdynand Goetel
0
Birthdate: May 15, 1890
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sucha Beskidzka, Poland
Died: November 24, 1960

A member of the Polish Academy of Literature, Ferdynand Goetel is best remembered for his novels and autobiographical writings. Interned by Russia in Tashkent during World War I, he later worked with the Red Army. From Day to Day remains one of his best-known works and has also been made into a film.

 13 

Jan Parandowski
0
Birthdate: May 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ukraine
Died: September 26, 1978

Polish author Jan Parandowski was also a renowned translator of classical works. His book The Olympic Discus fetched him a bronze medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He had also been the president of the Polish PEN Club. His works mostly revolved around Greek and Italian themes.

 14 

Kazimierz Brandys
0
Birthdate: October 27, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland
Died: March 11, 2000

Polish essayist, novelist and writer of film scripts Kazimierz Brandys is best remembered as a leading exponent of Socialist Realism, who later voiced his disillusionment with communism and rejected the communist ideology. He left the communist party protesting the political persecution of Leszek Kołakowski and later signed the Letter of 59. Notable literary works of Brandys include A Warsaw Diary.

 15 

Julian Przyboś
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Birthdate: March 5, 1901
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gwoźnica Górna, Poland
Died: October 6, 1970

Polish poet Julian Przyboś was a major figure of the Awangarda Krakowska literary movement. He introduced a new form of poetry, using metaphors, in his works such as Screws and Twin Grasp. Once arrested by the Gestapo, he later joined the Polish United Workers' Party and served as a diplomat.

 16 

Adolf Rudnicki
0
Birthdate: January 22, 1909
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: November 14, 1990

Adolf Rudnicki was a Polish essayist and author remembered for his works about the Jewish resistance in Poland and the Holocaust during the Second World War. Born into a Jewish family, Rudnicki survived the war despite being captured by the Nazis during Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland. After the war, his works threw light on the atrocities of the Nazis. 

 17 
Wacław Berent
(Novelist)

Wacław Berent
0
Birthdate: September 28, 1878
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: November 22, 1940

Wacław Berent was a Polish novelist, literary translator, and essayist. He is best remembered for serving as an important member of the Polish Academy of Literature. A visionary, Wacław Berent portrayed the origination of the Polish independence movement even before the Revolution of 1905 in his novel Winter Crop.

 18 

Samuel Twardowski
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Birthdate: 1600 AD
Birthplace: Lutynia, Poland
Died: July 6, 1661

Samuel Twardowski, who mostly worked as an assistant or secretary to diplomats, is best remembered for his diary, The Important Mission of His Grace Duke Krzysztof Zbaraski, written in verse. Known as the Polish Virgil, he wrote many other historical treatises, apart from several pastoral romances.

 19 

Adam Ważyk
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Birthdate: November 17, 1905
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 13, 1982

Polish author Adam Ważyk, best remembered for his collections such as Semafory and his poem A Poem for Adults, was a major figure of the Polish avant-garde movement. Though initially a supporter of Stalin, he later turned against him. He had also served the Polish army.

Mieczysław Jastrun
0
Birthdate: October 29, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Korolivka, Ukraine
Died: February 22, 1983

Polish poet and essayist Mieczysław Jastrun was initially inspired by the Skamander group and later penned several war poem collections such as A Curfew Hour. He later switched to philosophical themes and penned a few biographical works too. He also translated the works of several Russian, French, and German poets.

 21 

Józef Korzeniowski
0
Birthdate: December 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brody, Ukraine
Died: August 3, 1924

Józef Korzeniowski was a Polish-British writer best remembered for bringing in a non-English sensibility into English literature. Although he didn't speak fluent English until his 20s, Józef Korzeniowski is often considered one of the greatest English language novelists of all time. Many of his works have inspired films, video games, TV series, and operas.