Edward Lubowski (1837–1923) was born in Kraków and studied there, but spent most of his life in Warsaw, where he was an influential critic and sought-after author of comedies. He published one translation from Shakespeare, a prose version of Timon of Athens (Tymon z Aten). It appeared in a literary journal (Biblioteka Warszawska, 1870) and formed a minor part of Lubowski’s diverse literary output. The play did not enter the mainstream of reception history. It illustrates the instability of Polish translation norms in the early 1870s when several different approaches to prosody were proposed as the most suitable means of carrying English blank verse.
Lubowski’s Shakespeare does not occupy a significant place within his oeuvre, and its publication was probably a short project intended for future theatre seasons. Lubowski was convinced that translating into prose would enhance the play’s appeal in the theatre. In his introduction to Timon he classified the play as a satire rather than a tragedy, which favoured caricature at the expense of the psychological dimensions of the characters. Lubowski produced the translation in the early stages of his career, before the appearance of Józef Ignacy Kraszewski’s edition. He worked from the original text, with a view to introducing an unknown work into Polish literary culture in a manner suited to familiar dramatic models.
Criticism of Lubowski’s translation mainly dealt with the decision to render blank verse into prose. The translator himself, in making clear his intention that the play should be staged, indirectly admitted that a translation should ideally reflect the prosody of the original. There was some recognition of the fluency and the music of Lubowski’s version. In spite of these things – and perhaps because of a general lack of enthusiasm for Timon of Athens – it was never performed. The translation has not been republished.
Bibliography of translations
[William Shakespeare], Tymon z Aten. Tragedya w pięciu aktach W. Szekspira, tłum. Edward Lubowski, „Biblioteka Warszawska” 1870, T. 4, s. 203–354, 371–400.
[William Shakespeare], Tymon z Aten. Tragedya w pięciu aktach W. Szekspira, tłum. Edward Lubowski, Druk. „Gazety Polskiej”, Warszawa 1871.