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Wladyslaw Reymont

AKA Stanislaw Wladyslaw Rejment

Born: 7-May-1867
Birthplace: Kobielo Wielkie, Russia
Died: 5-Dec-1925
Location of death: Warsaw, Poland
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Powazki Cemetery, Warsaw, Poland

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Author

Nationality: Poland
Executive summary: The Peasants

Wladyslaw Reymont was a sickly child who loved reading. He was one of nine children in an oppressive, dogmatically Catholic family, and his formal education ended after third grade, when he failed the required test for entrance to secondary school. He trained as a tailor but never finished his apprenticeship, and instead joined a travelling troupe of actors. He worked as a store clerk, telegraph operator, railroad gatekeeper, farm hand, and served as a spiritualist's assistant until he realized that the customers were being duped. He lived for several years in almost complete solitude, occasionally selling stories but just as often contemplating suicide. For obscure reasons, he very slightly modified his surname, possibly because the family name was phonetically similar to a Polish-language insult.

His early novels Komedjantka (The Comedienne) and its sequel Fermenty (Ferments) earned him enough money to visit the major cities of western Europe, but in 1902 Reymont was severely injured in a train accident. He never fully recovered, but he married his nurse, continued writing popular novels, and the financial settlement with the railroad company left him a relatively wealthy man. He spent two years writing Chlopi (The Peasants), then grew disgusted with it, burned the manuscript and started over. When Chlopi was finally completed -- in four volumes, telling ten months of rural Polish life in vivid peasants' dialect -- it became his best-known work. His starkly cynical novel of urban hell, Ziemia Obiecana (The Promised Land), was filmed by Andrzej Wajda in 1975, and nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Reymont received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1924, but received it by mail, as he was bedridden with heart problems and unable to attend any ceremonies. In his note to the Nobel Committee, Reymont wrote, "I still have many things to say and desire greatly to make them public, but will death let me?" He died the following year.

Father: Józef Rejment (church organist)
Wife: Aurelia Szacnajder Szabłowska (nurse, m. 1902)

Author of books:
Pielgrzymka do Jasnej Góry (Pilgrimage to the Mountain of Light) (1895, travelogue)
Komedjantka (The Comedienne) (1896)
Fermenty (Ferments) (1897)
Ziemia Obiecana (The Promised Land) (1899)
Lili (1901)
Z Konstytucyjnych Dni (From the Days of the Constitution) (1905)
Chlopi (1909, four volumes)
Z Ziemi Chełmskiej (From the Chełm Lands) (1910, non-fiction)
The Dreamer (1910)
Wampir (The Vampire) (1911)
Rok 1794 (The Year 1794) (1918, three volumes)
Za frontem (Beyond the Front) (1919, non-fiction)
Bunt (Defiance) (1924)

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