Zygmunt Kubiak

  • fot. Ela Lempp

A translator, literary critic and historian, and essayist, born in Warsaw in 1929, died in 2004. Kubiak is the author of excellent essays on Old Polish and English Romantic praise, but is known best for his studies of the classical tradition, both pagan and Christian.

Declaring himself to be half-pagan and half-Christian, he wrote both about St. Augustine and about Homer, Aristotle and Virgil. One of the leading Polish experts on literary antiquity, he could combine the Christian and pagan perspectives. He always chose perspective of cultural continuity that emphasized the present relevance of works written centuries ago. He showed the links between Polish culture and antiquity, demonstrating how, in the symbolic dimension, Poland lies on the Mediterranean Sea, "within the realm of the eternal works". The crown of many years of work is the monumental Mythology of the Greeks and Romans, a new Polish attempt at an approach to the mythic material. Reading the myths through the experience of a late-twentieth-century inhabitant of Central Europe, Kubiak consciously juxtaposed the classical heritage with the present. He presented myth in its most profound dimension, as "history that never happened, and yet is happening always," as a record of universal human experience. From the pages of his works, ancient literature offers us a lesson in clarity of vision, in perceiving without illusion the bitterness and pain of human existence. Kubiak won the Koscielski (1963), Jurzykowski (1980) and Polish PEN Club (1990) Prizes.


  • Półmrok ludzkiego świata, Kraków: Znak, 1963.
  • Wędrówki po stuleciach, Kraków: Znak 1969.
  • Szkoła stylu. Eseje o tradycji poezji europejskiej, Warszawa: PIW, 1972.
  • Słowo o znaczeniu pracy edytorskiej, Warszawa: PIW, 1980.
  • Jak w zwierciadle, Warszawa: ATK, 1985.
  • Przestrzeń dzieł wiecznych. Eseje o tradycji kultury śródziemnomorskiej, Kraków: Znak, 1993.
  • Kwafis Aleksandryjczyk, (biografia) Warszawa: Tenten, 1995.
  • Platona poezja i mądrość, Warszawa: Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza, 1996.
  • Mitologia Greków i Rzymian, Warszawa: Świat Książki, 1997.
  • Brewiarz Europejczyka, Warszawa: Biblioteka Więzi, 1998.
  • Literatura Greków i Rzymian, Warszawa: Świat Książki, 1999.
  • Uśmiech Kore, Warszawa: Więź, 2000.
  • Nowy brewiarz Europejczyka, Warszawa: Więź, 2001.
  • Dzieje Greków i Rzymian, Warszawa: Świat Książki, 2002.
  • Twarde do snu, Warszawa: Noir sur Blanc, 2002.
  • Grecy o miłości, szczęściu i życiu, Warszawa: Rebis, 2002.
  • Piękno i gorycz Europy. Dzieje Greków i Rzymian, Warszawa: Świat Książki, 2003.