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Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska (1893–1945)

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Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska, née Kossak, was born in Krakow, Poland to a family of artists. Her father Wojciech Kossak and grandfather Juliusz Kossak were both well-known painters. Her younger sister Magdalena Samozwaniec grew up to be a popular writer. Their home was a meeting place for Polish artists and intellectuals, such as Henryk Sienkiewicz and Jan Paderewski. She was educated at home and learned to speak fluent French, English and German. She also painted and wrote poetry. In 1919, she married her second husband, Jan Pawlikowski; the couple divorced after 10 years. In 1922, she published her first volume of poetry, Blue Almonds. She befriended poets in the influential Warsaw-based Skamander group. In the years between World War I and World War I, she published 12 volumes of poetry, earning a reputation as one of the most innovative and talented poets of the day. She also wrote plays: her first one, Archibald the Chauffeur, was produced in Warsaw in 1924. By 1939, she had written 15 plays, many of which provoked scandal with their frank treatment of then-taboo sexual topics. Her 1937 play A Woman of Wonder criticized a fictitious totalitarian regime that was understood to represent Nazi Germany. At the onset of World War II, she and her third husband, Stefan Jasnorzewski, fled to England. She was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1945 at age 51. Her memoir Wojnę szatan spłodził (War Was Begotten by Satan), based on her diaries of 1939-1945, was published in 2012.
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