Our Hack by Maria Konopnicka
(translated by Joanna Diane Caytas)
Women Online Writing Journal
Issue No 2, August 2014
Nasza Szkapa (Our Hack, 1890), a short story by Maria Konopnicka. First translation by Joanna Diane Caytas.
Complete Issue of WOW 2 (2014) ISSN 2056-4791 Full Text of Our Hack with Introduction and Epilogue
Introduction to Our Hack by Damian Makuch, pp. 3-10
Translator's Note, p. 43
Biographical Note of the Translator, Joanna Diane Caytas
Biographical Note of Damian Makuch
Introduction discusses works and publications of Lena Magnone, the monographer of Maria Konopnicka
Biographical Note of Lena Magnone, the Author of the Monograph on Maria Konopnicka Lustra i symptomy: Konopnicka (2011)
It is not easy to assemble the image of Maria Konopnicka. It has been broken down into fragments by her works, by incomplete analyses and by warped interpretations of her biography. It is a loose assimilation of facts glued together with ideological tape, which has consolidated for the reader into a stereotype for an amazingly long time. Hence, the question ‘Who was Konopnicka?’ requires quite some contemplation on who she truly was - but for whom? This Polish writer looked into many mirrors, searching for her own reflection throughout her life.
(From the Introduction, p. 3)
Maria Konopnicka (1842-1910) was one of the most popular and most discussed Polish authors in her days. Known for her novels, poetry, short stories, literary criticism and journalism, Konopnicka revolutionized the genre of children’s literature by endowing it with artistic esthetics that replaced a moralizing approach. Having left an arranged marriage of 16 years to raise her six children in Warsaw as a writer and tutor, she was awarded a rural farming property for her accomplishments of 25 years as a poet. Her life partner became Maria Dulębianka, a portrait painter and feminist twenty years her junior who introduced Konopnicka to the women’s movement. Maria Konopnicka became an activist for women’s rights, but she rejected the label of a feminist.
“Nasza szkapa” (“Our Hack”), first published in 1890, is a prominent example of Polish literary realism. At once confrontational and stirring up deep consternation and a sentiment of inevitability as its young protagonist relates the story with shocking indifference and superficiality that are his tools for survival, this novella portrays the life of poor urban street urchins under Poland’s occupation by the partitioning powers Russia, Prussia and Austria. Konopnicka’s literary techniques, though obvious, are also subtle and profoundly compassionate – yet it is always the reader who is gently led to the most damning conclusions of his or her own.
(From the Note of the Translator, Joanna Diane Caytas, p. 43)
All articles and essays published in this journal are under copyright protection. Authorization is given for an individual to download, save, or print out one copy of any article in this journal, without securing written permission. This authorization does NOT extend to copies made for sale, for general distribution, for advertising or promotional purposes, or for creating new works or anthologies.