Sunday, February 19, 2017
   
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A Treasury of Polish Aphorisms: A Book Review

I recommend this book to people who are interested in the Polish culture, literature and also to these who want to learn Polish language in an interesting way since this book is bilingual.

It contains the selection of 207 Polish aphorisms written by the best Polish writers, poets, journalists and even some politicians in bilingual version - in Polish original and in its English translation. It also had a variety of Polish folk proverbs - some of them unique to Polish culture, the other common in many cultures but still unique in the way how Poles express their common wisdom.

The selection was arranged by Jacek Galazka. The general introduction to the history of Polish language and the literature was written by prof. Jerzy Krzyzanowski, famous Polish literature expert. Jacek Galazka wrote the introductions to the aphorisms and proverbs sections.

According to Jacek Galazka - the aphorisms were chosen so that they would be easily understandable for English culture readers, the ones who depended on some Polish context or on the play of words were excluded since their meaning could be obscured. The volume of Polish aphorisms is dedicated to Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, the most famous Polish aphorism writer and poet.

Jacek is an excellent translator. All his translations sound the same good or even better than the originals but convey the same message. The book is enriched by several illustrations done by Barbara Swidzinska.

This is not a book which you should read from cover to cover during one day but you should read it if you have a minute of time and think over through the wisdom of these small aphorisms. It definitively helps to understand Polish culture better!

Below is a short selection of aphorisms and proverbs in Polish and English - to give you a taste for a book:

Niejeden bumerang nie wraca, wybiera wolność
Not every boomerang returns, some choose freedom
--Stanislaw Jerzy Lec (1909-1966)

Różnica między intelektualistą zachodnim i wschodnim na tym polega, że pierwszy nie dostał dobrze w d.
The difference between western and eastern intellectuals is that the former has not been kicked in the ass enough.
--Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969)

Kłamstwo ma krotkie nogi ale biegnie szybciej od prawdy
A lie has a short legs but it runs faster than the truth
--Antoni Marianowicz (1924-2003)

Przyjaźń po wygaśnięciu milości jest jak dym po pożarze
Friendship after love is like smoke after fire
--Magdalena Samozwaniec (1899-1972)

Rodzynek - stroskane winogrono
Raisin - a worried grape
--Julian Tuwim (1894-1953)

Pieniądz dobry sługa lecz zły przewodnik
Money is a good servant but a poor guide
--Polish folk proverb

* Published with the permission of Jacek Galazka

Recommended reading(s):

A Treasury of Polish Aphorisms, by Jacek Galazka (Compiler), Barbara Swidzinska (Illustrator)

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