Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Garver


Eliza Orzeszkowa (1841-1910) became one of most popular and influential authors of the Positivist movement in Polish arts, letters, and politics during the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when Poles experienced economic and social instability and foreign political repression. Orzeszkowa achieved renown as a writer of realistic fiction, as a pioneering Polish feminist, and as a vigorous advocate of political and social reform who sought to challenge all discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, and religious affiliation. Many of her publications dealt with the emancipation of women, the assimilation of Jews, and the integration of the Polish peasantry into the Polish nation. Through her writings, Eliza Orzeszkowa exposed and critically examined contemporary problems in Polish society, often by creating memorable fictional characters based upon people whom she came to know well through her association with all social classes and ethnic and religious groups in Russian-ruled Poland and Lithuania. Eliza Orzeszkowa's exemplary professional life and her manifold contributions to late nineteenth century Polish literature embodied her patriotic and reform-minded spirit and earned her the everlasting gratitude of all future generations of Poles. Given the fact that few of Orzeszkowa's novels as well as few publications about her have been translated into English, this thesis seeks to introduce her to an English-speaking audience.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of History and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2005 Aneta Maria Czarnik.