Modern Classics
Karol Wojtyła
Literary and Theatrical Works. Volume I: Juvenilia

The early literary works of Pope John Paul II – a valuable testimony to the transformations occurring in him during this period of his life


Host of the seas immense! O tender Pelican!

Swell, O wheat-thick era, to mercy-days of bread –

Such a soul is needed, who’ll take the cruse in hand

To sate with Christ’s Flesh and Blood those who would be fed.


Such a soul is needed, who’ll set some ardent brands

At the feet of crucifixes black, their ghast torture

To reach for, that Love there, with wide-spread nail-pierced hands

World-absolving, loosing fardels of misfortune –


And reaching for hearts so wretched, the most brittle;

The glow of that Heart pierced, to those hearts to display,

In both of those hearts a bonfire to enkindle


With an ever fiercer, human yearning to pray;

Each man, now’s the time!, now’s the era to be spurred

To seek the Spirit, longing, brothered in the Word.





Lord, David I, Isaiah’s son

Of Piast I am the scion,

Thou burnst Thy mark upon my heart

My ear follows Thy rhyme.


Thou’st clad with spring, with yearning spring

My flesh, my strength of withers;

May autumn, when it swells, not burst

The strings of my yearning zither.


David am I, a shepherd lad,

I sing in begging strain

That Thou have mercy upon Piast

And let us reap the grain.


And should the hulk Goliath rear

My youth to break with pride,

May Sion and Moriah plead,

Lord – stand Thou at my side!


(thus the matins song)

of David – the Shepherd


Excerpts from David’s Psalter (The Book of the Slavs), translated by Charles S. Kraszewski



(Before the entry of the Prologus

the gates of the theatrum spread open wide

and there you see:

merely steps, arrayed in one tier

a backdrop of three open walls

divided by a colonnade

of double columns, simple rows.)



There was a man in the land of Hus, whose name

was Job, and he walked in righteousness before

both God and man

– and the Lord gave him seven sons

and daughters three

– and multiplied his earthly goods:

seven thousand sheep and camels three,

five times one hundred oxen yoked

– and so too did He fill his house

with servants numerous.




  1. Swag art thou for the ravens black.
  2. Upon thy brow sift ash in sorrow.
  3. For now a terror grips us fast
  4. We must undo thy gall and grief.
  5. Kindle a fire unto the Lord

Bewail thy sins.


(The chorus disperses on all sides

and Job remains there all alone

beside the slab of sacrifice.

Job gets up slowly, shuffles close

and tosses myrrh upon the ash.

The embers flame, the myrrh ignites

and flame and incense climb aloft.

In clouds of incense Job takes voice:)



Blessed forever be Thy Name.

Thou hast given,

Thou takest away.

Thine is the Will and Thine the Power.

Just as it has seemed good to Thee

thus has it come to be –

Thou hast given,

Thou takest away –

Blessed forever be Thy Name.

What is a man before Thee, Lord?

Though he have wealth and dowry,

though he be worthy in his soul,

what is a man before Thee, Lord?

A leaf chivvied by the fall wind,

a blade of grass bent by the gale.

– I thought myself a wealthy man.

I thought me worthy in Thine eyes

and I am naked – naked now –

naked I left my mother’s womb

and I am naked now –

– what of goods?

– what of sons?

Thou tramplest them, for Thine the right;

Thou seizest them, for Thine the right,

and that I naked be,

and that a wretch I be,

exposed to misery

– What is righteousness before Thee?

– What is humanity to Thee? –

Behold – the spirits to Sheol

descend, and what remains of them?

Blessed forever be Thy name.

Thou hast given

Thou takest away –

And I am righteous? – What of that?


Excerpt from Job, translated by Charles S. Kraszewski

Modern Classics
Karol Wojtyła
Literary and Theatrical Works. Volume I: Juvenilia

The early literary works of Pope John Paul II – a valuable testimony to the transformations occurring in him during this period of his life

Publisher: Znak Publishers, Kraków 2019
Translation rights: Wydawnictwo Św. Stanisława BM,

This hefty volume consists of Karol Wojtyła’s juvenilia; that is, texts that he wrote between 1938-1946, while he was, respectively, a student of Polish Philology at the Jagiellonian University, a labourer, and a seminarian at the archdiocesan seminary in Kraków. Poetry predominates. Above all, we have the future pope’s first collection of verse entitled David’s Psalter (The Book of the Slavs), a collection of seventeen sonnets and several longer lyrics. Besides this, his Autumn Poetry and the mature Song of the Hidden God are included among the verse selections. As far as a worldview is concerned, the above-mentioned texts are syncretistic, bringing together as they do traditions classical, Slavic (pre-Christian), and Catholic. One senses in them the influence of Renaissance literature, as well as that of the periods of Romanticism, and that version of early twentieth-century Modernism known as Young Poland.

The volume in hand includes dramatic works as well. There is Job, written at the outbreak of the Second World War, and the later Our God’s Friend (the precursor of the play better known as Our God’s Brother). The first two dramatic works form an artistic commentary on the tragic events of the first phase of the war, yet they are set in the past – the Biblical era, and Poland of the early seventeenth century.

The prose section is very interesting indeed. Here, for the first time, the fragment known as ‘I am still at the same shoreline’ has been published. This is a prose work built up from essayistic and fictional elements, which was discovered by chance during research at the Metropolitan Curial Archives of the Kraków archdiocese. Wojtyła’s letters to his acquaintances from Wadowice have special weight as documents descriptive of the author’s philosophical, aesthetic and meta-literary opinions during the period in which they were written.

Among the addressees are the sculptor and painter Wincenty Bałys and Mieczysław Kotlarczyk – Wojtyła’s older friend and theatrical mentor, who was to found the Rhapsodic Theatre. The letters to Kotlarczyk constitute, especially, a fragmentary quasi-manifesto as far as literature is concerned, and give voice to the author’s Weltanschauung. In them, Wojtyła displays a critical attitude toward current events, contemporary cultural and political realities, while also exhibiting strong prophetic tendencies and neo-messianistic elements.

Krszysztof Dybciak, translated by Charles S. Kraszewski

Selected samples

Julita Deluga
Wojtek Wawszczyk, Tomasz Leśniak
Anna Kańtoch
Andrzej Bobkowski
Wisława Szymborska
Zdzisław Kranodębski
Andrzej Nowak
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jarosław Jakubowski
Anna Piwkowska
Roman Honet
Miłosz Biedrzycki
Wojciech Chmielewski
Aleksandra Majdzińska
Tomasz Różycki
Maciej Hen
Jakub Nowak
Elżbieta Cherezińska
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
作者:沃伊切赫·維德瓦克(Wojciech Widłak), 插圖:亞歷珊德拉·克珊諾夫斯卡(Aleksandra Krzanowska)
文字:莫妮卡·烏特尼-斯特魯加瓦(Monika Utnik-Strugała), 概念和插圖:皮歐特·索哈(Piotr Socha)
作者:亞格涅絲卡·斯特爾馬什克(Agnieszka Stelmaszyk)
尤安娜·日斯卡(Joanna Rzyska)、阿嘉妲·杜德克(Agata Dudek)、瑪格熱妲·諾瓦克(Małgorzata Nowak) Druganoga出版社,華沙2021
艾麗莎·皮歐特夫斯卡(Eliza Piotrowska)
米科瓦伊·帕辛斯基(Mikołaj Pasiński)、瑪格熱妲·赫爾巴(Gosia Herba)
歐菈·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Ola Woldańska-Płocińska)
瑪麗安娜·奧克雷亞克(Marianna Oklejak)
拉法爾·科希克(Rafał Kosik)
亞歷珊德拉·沃丹斯卡-波欽斯卡(Aleksandra Woldańska-Płocińska)
巴托米耶·伊格納邱克(Bartłomiej Ignaciuk), 阿嘉塔·洛特-伊格納邱克(Agata Loth-Ignaciuk)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
文字和插圖:皮歐特·卡爾斯基(Piotr Karski)
羅珊娜·延澤耶夫斯卡-弗魯貝爾 (Roksana Jędrzejewska-Wróbel)
作者:普舎米斯瓦夫·維赫特洛維奇(Przemysław Wechterowicz) 插圖:艾米莉·吉烏巴克(Emilia Dziubak)
尤斯提娜·貝納雷(Justyna Bednarek) 插圖:丹尼爾·德拉圖爾(Daniel De Latour)
尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
瑪格熱妲·斯文多夫斯卡(Małgorzata Swędrowska)、尤安娜·巴托西克(Joanna Bartosik)
Jan Kochanowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Olga Tokarczuk
Władysław Stanisław Reymont
An Ancient Tale
Stanisław Rembek
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Maria Dąbrowska
Stefan Żeromski
Bronisław Wildstein
Zbigniew Herbert / Wisława Szymborska
Karol Wojtyła
Wiesław Myśliwski
Czesław Miłosz
Anna Świrszczyńska / Melchior Wańkowicz
Tadeusz Borowski / Gustaw Herling-Grudziński
Wiesław Helak
Góra Tabor
Adriana Szymańska
Paweł Rzewuski
Mariusz Staniszewski
Radek Rak
Urszula Honek
Kazimierz Orłoś
Rafał Wojasiński
Antonina Grzegorzewska
Józef Mackiewicz
Tobiasz Piątkowski, Marek Oleksicki
Daniel Odija
Bronisław Wildstein
Józef Mackiewicz
Józef Mackiewicz
Witold Szabłowski
Andrzej Muszyński
Wiesław Helak
Bartosz Jastrzębski
Dariusz Sośnicki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Jakub Małecki
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
Elżbieta Cherezińska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Jakub Małecki
Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Przemysław "Trust" Truściński
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
Krzysztof Karasek
Elżbieta Isakiewicz
Artur Daniel Liskowacki
Jarosław Jakubowski
Zbigniew Stawrowski
Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Jerzy Szymik
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło


Marta Kwaśnicka
Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
Jakub Małecki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Wojciech Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Weronika Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Anna Kamińska

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Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
Józef Łobodowski

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Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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