Bronze statue of Shakespeare contemporary Jan Kochanowski unveiled in the sculpture garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Poets and nations united
The Polish Cultural Institute in London, in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, have worked together with the Polish community locally to commemorate Jan Kochanowski with a bronze statue in the sculpture garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage on Saturday.
Despite a substantial geographical distance, Britain and Poland have enjoyed deep historical ties, built on shared values and a common heritage, with both countries drawing abundantly on the achievements of classical antiquity and later periods in European history. This expressed itself on many levels, including literature and arts in general.
Much like Shakespeare for Britain, Jan Kochanowski came to be regarded as one of the greatest poets and playwrights of Poland and even the whole Slavic part of Europe. His robust language not only enriched but also laid the cornerstone for Polish literature. Kochanowski’s role in developing Polish literary standards and impact on the region cannot be underestimated.
Academic Charles Kraszewski said: "In English literature we have people like Ben Johnson, and Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. If you take a look at Kochanowski beyond the drama, he is all of these people wrapped into one."
Who was Jan Kochanowski?