Wojciech Dzieduszycki

Biographical Outline

Wojciech Dzieduszycki (1848–1909) was an influential politician, man of letters, philosopher and essayist. He was an Associate Professor at Lwów University and a count. He published translations of three Shakespeare plays: The Tempest (Burza, 1899), King Lear (Król Lear, 1900) and Romeo and Juliet (Romeo i Julia, 1903). Translation made up only a small part of Dzieduszycki’s varied literary output, more than half of which existed only in manuscript form and was lost in a fire during the First World War. His translations of Shakespeare were most likely written in the late 1880s or early 1890s at his estate in Jezupol, where Dzieduszycki had withdrawn from political life.


Published at the turn of the century, Dzieduszycki’s translations are retranslations: translations intended as alternatives to existing translations and predicated on innovative or polemical approaches. The use of an archaic lexicon and word order are fundamental elements of Dzieduszycki’s approach. He works with capacious 13-syllable unrhymed lines, varying the style and tone of expression. In dealing with songs and cultural references he often uses dynamic equivalents or paraphrase. The translations are accompanied by evaluative introductions, taking a markedly ideological perspective on Shakespeare. Dzieduszycki was very confident about his approach to translation, viewing any shortcomings as merely a matter of an imperfect application of his approach.


Dzieduszycki did not seek any form of patronage, remaining financially independent and free to choose his intellectual pursuits throughout his life. His work on Shakespeare’s plays was likewise an expression of his individual aspirations, with the translations and accompanying paratexts free from any pressures that might be exerted by publishers or critics. The publication of his translations did not meet with a large response, although in 1914 Władysław Tarnawski issued a highly critical assessment. Dzieduszycki did not continue to publish his translations beyond the first volume. The plays have never been reissued nor performed.

Bibliography of translations

[William Shakespeare], Burza. Komedya w 5 aktach W. Szekspira, tłum. Wojciech Dzieduszycki, „Przegląd Polski” 1899, z. 3, s. 379–421 [Uwagi wstępne, Akty I–II]; z. 4, s. 88–117 [Akty III–V].

[William Shakespeare], Król Lear. Tragedya w 5 aktach W. Szekspira, tłum. Wojciech Dzieduszycki, „Przegląd Polski” 1900, z. 2, s. 224–261 [Uwagi wstępne, Akt I], z. 3, s. 482–520 [Akty II–III]; z. 6, s. 453–489 [Akty IV–V].

[William Shakespeare], Romeo i Julia. Tragedya w 5 aktach W. Szekspira, tłum. Wojciech Dzieduszycki, „Przegląd Polski” 1903, z. 3, s. 490–511 [Uwagi wstępne, Akt I]; z. 4, s. 72–114 [Akty II–III]; z. 6, s. 431–457 [Akty IV–V].

[William Shakespeare], Tłumaczenia arcydzieł Szekspira, tłum. Wojciech Dzieduszycki, T. 1, Drukarnia „Czasu”, Kraków 1904 [Burza, Król Lear, Romeo i Julia, Venus i Adonis; odbitka z „Przeglądu Polskiego”].