Uwagi nad książką Piotra Z. Pomianowskiego, pt. „Rozwód w XIX wieku na centralnych ziemiach polskich. Praktyka stosowania Kodeksu Napoleona w latach 1808–1852”, Wydawnictwo Campidoglio, Warszawa 2018, 449 s.

Zdzisław Zarzycki


A review of Piotr Z. Pomianowski’s book, entitled “Divorce in the Central Polish Lands in the 19th Century. The Napoleonic Code in the Practice of Polish Courts (1808–1852)”, The Campidoglio Publishing House, Warsaw 2018, 449 p.

Piotr Pomianowski’s book is the first monograph in Polish historical-legal literature, which verifies the previous views on the number of adjudicated divorces in the territory of Poland between 1808 and 1852. It results from the analysis of the court records that show that a little over two thousand divorces were adjudicated in the area of the Duchy of Warsaw and Congress Poland, as well as in the Republic of Cracow pursuant to the Napoleonic Code. Up till now the literature had included erroneous information that there were only several or a few dozens of such divorces adjudicated.

The facts established by the book’s author show that in the first half of the 19th century divorce proceedings were more frequently initiated by women than by men (70% to 30% in Kalisz and Kielce, as well as 59% to 41% in Warsaw). The average divorcéwas 38.7 years old and the divorcée was 30.8; in about 80% of the cases the husband was older than the wife, and in 20% it was vice versa; however, the average age difference between divorcees was 10 years. The average marital period of divorcees in Warsaw communes was 8.5 years, and 12 years for those in Płock. The representatives of the following professions dominated among divorcees: factory owners, craftsmen, and those earning a living in industry (23.6%), next came government officials, teachers, and representatives of liberal professions (22.5%), and then heirs of landed estates and tenants (10%). Servants, journeymen, and peasants made up about 13.6% of the defendants.

Pomianowski’s book merits a very positive assessment. The analysis of the institution and the phenomenon of divorce, as well as the description of the research results are on a high level. The elaboration should interest not only historians of law but also scientists of other specializations, for instance researchers of the history of demography and population statistics, social culture and morals, population migrations, women’s rights, etc.

Słowa kluczowe: Kodeks Napoleona, Prawo małżeńskie osobowe, prawo rozwodowe, rozwód, przyczyny rozwodowe, postępowanie rozwodowe

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