“Shakespeare, he was quite a gifted fellow.” The Beginning of Stanisław Barańczak’s Career as a Translator

Sebastian Walczak


This biographical paper describes Stanisław Barańczak’s first attempts at translating poetry as a high school student in 1964. The aim of the paper is to present the birth of his philological passion, and to answer the question of how Barańczak emerges a translator. The presentation is based on six unpublished translations of Russian and English language poems found in the correspondence of Barańczak and in the hitherto unknown memories of his school friends.
The analysis focuses on the technique of Barańczak’s translation work, on reconstructing his motivations, selection of texts for translation, self-assessment of the results, opinions on the authors of the original and evaluation of pop-culture. In addition, the paper offers several facts from the private life of the teenage translator,
among others the decision to study Polish philology, as well as his relations with his high school colleagues and teachers.

Słowa kluczowe: Stanisław Barańczak, biography, debut, juvenilia, translations, manuscripts

Barańczak S. 23 February 1964 – 1 August 1964. Letters no. 1–28 [in:] S. Walczak. 2017. O pierwszej miłości Stanisława Barańczaka i jego pierwszych wierszach, Adam Mickiewicz University Theses Archive, Poznań: Adam Mickiewicz University [MA thesis].

––––– 2011. “Wstęp: Nie igraszka czasu” [in:] W. Shakespeare, Sonety, Kraków: Wydawnictwo a5.

––––– 1964. Na wznak w lesie, Poznań: self-published by the author.

––––– 2004. Ocalone w tłumaczeniu, Kraków: Wydawnictwo A5.

––––– 2014. Wiersze zebrane, Kraków: Wydawnictwo A5.

Bicz A. 1 December 2016. Interview conducted by S. Walczak [digital record].

Ciesielski R. 15 November 2016. Interview conducted by S. Walczak [digital record].

Kwarciński W. 6 July 2017. Interview conducted by S. Walczak [digital record].

Linke K. 30 November 2016. Interview conducted by S. Walczak [digital record].

Musierowicz M. 1995. Tym razem serio (no prawie…), Łódź: Akapit Press.

Pollak S. 1976. Letters no. 4064, 4065, 4066, Warszawa: Manuscripts Department of the Warsaw University Library.

Puacz W. 3 November 2016. Interview conducted by S. Walczak [digital record].

Śliwiński P. 2015. “Życie – kilka przypuszczeń” [in:] P. Próchniak (ed.), Stanisław Barańczak.

Monografia w toku, series: Monografie w Toku. Kompendia Multimedialne,

Lublin: Ośrodek “Brama Grodzka – Teatr NN”, http://stronypoezji.pl/monografie/zycie-2/#kilka%20przypuszcze%C5%84 (access: 10.02.2017).

Tomaszewski P. 28 November 2016. Interview conducted by S. Walczak [digital record].

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