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Jan Parandowski, Przygody Odyseusza: według Odysei Homera opowiedział dla młodzieży Jan Parandowski. Lwów: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Książek Szkolnych, [s.a., c. 1935], 102 pp.
Adaptation of classical texts*
Crossover (Children, teenagers)
Cover from the edition Warsaw: Nasza Księgarnia, 2011, 120 pp. Scan of the cover kindly provided by Nasza Księgarnia.
Author of the Entry:
Summary: Joanna Kozioł, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Analysis: Marta Pszczolińska, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Katarzyna Marciniak, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph by Edward Hartwig, retrieved from the National Digital Archives.
, 1895 - 1978
Classical philologist and archaeologist. An outstanding and prolific author of books related to Antiquity; translator of classical masterpieces. Contributed to many Polish newspapers and magazines. Chairman of the Polish PEN Club from 1933 to 1978. Recipient of prizes for outstanding literary achievements, such as a bronze medal received at the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics for his book Dysk olimpijski [Olympic Discus]. Member of the European Society of Culture. In 1962 he was elected Vice-President of the International PEN. An exceptionally successful supporter and advocate of Classical Antiquity in Poland. His Mitologia. Wierzenia i podania Greków i Rzymian [Mythology. Beliefs and Legends of the Greeks and Romans], still often read even in primary school, remains for many generations of Polish readers a fundamental source of the knowledge of ancient myths.
Major works: Eros na Olimpie [Eros on the Olympus], 1924, Mitologia. Wierzenia i podania Greków i Rzymian [Mythology. Beliefs and Legends of the Greeks and Romans], 1924; Wojna trojańska [Trojan War], 1927; Oscar Wilde’s biography Król życia [A King of Life], 1930; Dysk olimpijski [Olympic Discus], 1933; Niebo w płomieniach [Heaven in Flames], 1936; Trzy znaki zodiaku [Three Signs of the Zodiac], 1938; Godzina śródziemnomorska [The Mediterranean Hour], 1949; a study on creative writing Alchemia słowa [Alchemy of the Word], 1951. He also translated into Polish Caesar’s Civil War, 1951, and Homer’s Odyssey, 1953.
Krełowska, Danuta, Jan Parandowski: życie i twórczość, Toruń: Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna i Książnica Miejska im. M. Kopernika, 1989.
Paciorkowska, Monika, Jan Parandowski, slideshare.net (accessed: December 30, 2020).
"Parandowski Jan", in Jadwiga Czachowska and Alicja Szałagan, eds., Współcześni polscy pisarze i badacze literatury. Słownik biobibliograficzny, vol. 6: N–P, Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, 1999, 254–260.
"Parandowski, Jan", in Encyklopedia PWN, encyklopedia.pwn.pl (accessed: December 30, 2020).
wikipedia.org (accessed: December 30, 2020).
Życiorys Jana Parandowskiego, kul.pl (accessed: December 30, 2020).
Bio prepared by Joanna Grzeszczuk, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Based on: Katarzyna Marciniak, Elżbieta Olechowska, Joanna Kłos, Michał Kucharski (eds.), Polish Literature for Children & Young Adults Inspired by Classical Antiquity: A Catalogue, Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, Warsaw: University of Warsaw, 2013, 444 pp.
The adaptation covers the events in the Odyssey. The sequence of chapters corresponds to the Odyssey as follows:
Odysseus’ Adventures — Odyssey
Chapter one — book IX
Chapter two — book X
Chapter three — books XI–XXII
Chapter four — book XXII
Chapter five — books I–IV
Chapter six — books V–VIII
Chapter seven — books VI-VIII
Chapter eight — books XIII–XVII
Chapter nine — books XIX–XXII
Chapter ten — books XXIII–XXIV
The book contains many extensive quotations from the Odyssey in Lucjan Siemieński’s translation.
Parandowski’s adaptation is a quick review of the myth of Odysseus’s return from Troy, according to Homer, and was prepared for young readers to acquaint them with the story without having to read the entirety of Odyssey. As the title is: Odysseus’ Adventures, the book does not start with Telemachus’ Peloponnesian journey, though this story is briefly presented in chapter five: A House without a Master. Parandowski then manipulates the sequence of particular adventures and foregoes Homeric delays to obtain a more cohesive, linear narration adjusted to young readers. The Homeric diegetic world's complexity is not preserved because this adaptation is a compact version of the myth, in which drastic or “immoral” details are softened or removed. For example, Circe kneels before Odysseus, having been threatened by his sword, takes her spell off, and everybody feasts for the whole year – there is no mention about her inviting the hero to her alcove to confirm their union and new bond. Similarly, Parandowski “spares” the serving girls' lives on Ithaca, who were consorting with the suitors. When the suitors are dead, Odysseus orders the maidens to take out the dead bodies and clean up the place, exactly as Homer described, but then he tells them that he will deal with them later without explaining what the “dealing with” would entail.
Another adjustment is of a linguistic and stylistic nature, as the author includes lively dialogues to make the impression of dynamic action. However, the language retains some archaic vocabulary or syntactic elements imitating old-fashioned literature, although long and complex Homeric comparisons are absent. It is worth mentioning that out of respect for Homer and to show samples of the original text, Parandowski quotes the Odyssey, first, in a historical 19th century poetical translation by Siemieński. In later editions, he uses his own, prosaic one, better suited to the contemporary reader and considered the best Polish translation. This strategy familiarizes the child with Homer’s narrative style and can influence readers to reach for the original in the future.
In later editions the illustrations based on John Flaxman’s drawings (see here, accessed: January 21, 2021) were replaced with the illustrations prepared by Parandowski’s son Zbigniew, resembling ancient Greek pottery style.
For many years, Odysseus’ Adventures was compulsory reading in school curricula for the 5th grade of elementary school, i.e., for 11-year-old children. Even though it is currently optional, it remains a valuable Odyssey’s epitome for young readers, still reprinted and widely read.
Homer, Iliada, trans. by Kazimiera Jeżewska, introd. by Jerzy Łanowski, Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, 1986.
Homer, Iliada (wybór), trans. by Franciszek Ksawery Dmochowski, Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, 1985.
Homer, Odyseja, trans. by Jan Parandowski, Warszawa: Czytelnik, 1953.
Homer, The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, PH.D. in two volumes, Cambridge: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, 1919. Avaliable online:
- Greek: perseus.tufts.edu (accessed: January 21, 2021).
- English: perseus.tufts.edu (accessed: January 21, 2021).
"Jan Parandowski", in: Nowa Encyklopedia Powszechna, vol. 4: M–P, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 1996, 775.
Selected bibliography concerning Jan Parandowski’s work and life see here.
Editio princeps: illustrator unknown, illustrations based on drawings by John Flaxman (see here, accessed: January 21, 2021);
Later editions: ill. Zbigniew Parandowski.