Iwaszkiewicz, Jarosław

Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, the controversial grand old man of Polish literature, was born in 1894 in the township of Kalnik (today Kijowa) close to Winnica, an eastern enclave of Polish culture in present-day Ukraine. Iwaszkiewicz grew up in a multilingual environment, and his poetic debut in 1915 was in Russian rather than Polish. As a young man he worked as a private tutor for children of the local Russian-speaking community. He later studied law in Kiev and only moved to Warsaw at the age of 24, when Ukraine was about to be conquered by the Bolsheviks. His ties to Russian culture remained strong and he was an acclaimed a translator of Tolstoy and Chekhov (and, from other side of the Baltic Sea, of Hans Christian Andersen and Kierkegaard). He died in Warsaw in 1980.