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Chronicals of Lake Narocz by Mieczyslaw Lisiewicz

This long out of print autobiographical work by this Polish author is reproduced here in full. I have transcribed the work and present it here for all to read. Copyright remains the property of the owners whoever and wherever they are. If anyone who is reading this has any historical facts, documents, maps or photographs about Narocz I would be very grateful if you would contact me, Alan at Landschaft I hope readers enjoy, as I have, the tales from this forgotten corner of the world.

Dust Cover Notes


The dust cover notes are of their time. Long sentances with circuitous sub-clauses and with an eye to maximising sales. No mention of the gloomy downbeat 1916 Battle of Lake Narocz, for example which takes up three chapters. Instead they concentrate on the natural history and cultural topics. The dust-cover notes are presented in the book in one chunk of solid prose, unbroken by paragraphing. The book was priced 10/6 (ten shillings and sixpence, fifty two and a half pence in modern coin), and represented a considerable investment in 1945. The book 13cm x 19cm in size is printed on flimsy war-issue paper, little thicker than newsprint, comprising 224 pages of typset pages (exc end-papers). The work is published by Polish Library, Glasgow 1945, published (and printed) by William Hodge and Company Ltd of London Edinburgh and Glasgow (who are still in business in Glasgow).

Dust Cover Notes; Front Inner: The Text

A little touch of nature makes the whole world kin, and this literary gem, preserved from the wreckage of Poland that was, through the chaos and confusion of war and the ruthless levelling of cultures, carries over the barriers of nationality and language the candid and courageous yet kindly expression of one man's reaction to the wonders of wild life and the mysteries on an unspoiled, primordial environment. The author, Mieczyslaw Lisiewicz, is afighting Pole who has retrieved from the rubble of his former existence these vivid and moving memories of quiet retreats in the days of peace. His is the rare faculty of making people and places, domestic animals and the creatures of the wilderness, live for the reader. Conoisseures of nature writing will quickly recognise this book as worthy to share a shelf with the classics of it's kind in any language. More than a warm and colourful recording of the marvels of a little known corner of the world, it presents against this picturesque background the comedy and tragedy of human hopes and disappointments, temptations, chagrin and a never dying faith in the goodness that permeates the world's complexities. The woods and waters it's poetic prose subtly conjures up are "away from the war", yet in these primaeval fastnesses are the traces of conflict through the ages and into recent times. History and legend are intertwined in it's trees and reeds and grasses and tangled with the underwater growth. Through all his recollections, reminiscences and spontanious digressions...

Dust Cover Notes; Back Inner: The Text

... into gripping narrative, the individuality of a cultured Pole is couragiously expressed. Soon we know Lake Narocz as an incomparable waterway of escape and quiet contemplation, and Mieczyslaw Lisiewicz as the ideal companion for our inland voyage. he writes as familiarly and sympathetically of dogs and fishes and plants as of people. His shrewd yet gentle eye catches the minute facets of life's myriad brilliance, and his power of descriptive writing is matched by his skill in telling a gripping story, whether it be from the dim and dstant past or from his own thrilling and amusing experiences. The Polish original was completed some time before the beginning of the present war and was in process of pubvlication when the author was uprooted with so many of his countrymen. It secured publication at last in the country after the manuscript had undergone viscitudes which furnish another moving story. The translator, Mrs Ann Maitland-Chuwen, has palced Emglisg-speaking readers in her debt by preparing this version so soon after the appearance of the original, and by contriving to carry over from the Polish the candour, the colour, the feeling and the grace of expression which characterises Lisiewicz's unusual work; and the tasteful photographic illustrations serve as corroboration to a text whick lacks nothing in descriptive clarity and exotic appeal. Is is a singular contribution to that select class of literature which, though unmistakably national in it's origins, belongs ultimately to no one country, but to the world.