Meaning of WITTLIN, JZEF in English

born Aug. 17, 1896, Dmytrw, Austria-Hungary [now Dmytriv, Ukraine] died Feb. 29, 1976, New York, N.Y., U.S. Polish novelist, essayist, and poet, a master of the Polish language. Having graduated from the classical gimnazjum in Lemberg (Polish Lww; modern Lviv), Wittlin studied philosophy at the University of Vienna. Mobilized in 1914 in the Austro-Hungarian army as a soldier, he took part in a few battles on the Russian front but two years later was freed from military service because of his poor health. He started writing, and in his early poetry collection Hymny (1920; Hymns) he voiced a humanistic protest against the debasement of individuals as the victims of powerful states and social systems. In 1924 he published a new Polish translation of Homer's Odyssey. The work that ensured Wittlin a place in Polish literature is Sl ziemi (1936; Salt of the Earth). The book is a tale of a patient infantryman, an illiterate Polish peasant who is unwillingly drafted into the Austrian army to fight a war he does not understand. The novel treats not war itself but the bewilderment of a man involved in fighting against will and national interest. Wittlin left Poland a few weeks before World War II began; he stopped in Paris and then in London. From 1941 he lived in New York City, where he wrote a warm book of yearning for his native city, Mj Lww (1946; My Lww). He became a U.S. citizen in 1949.

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