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616 ŻELEŃSKI, Tadeusz Kamil Marcjan (Boy) (1874–1941) Polish physician, social worker, member of the Polish Literary Academy, poet, writer, critic and translator. An activist doctor with a strong social conscience, Żeleński campaigned in the 1920s and 1930s for the reform of marriage legislation and the introduction of sex education and birth control. Author of Piekło kobiet (Women’s hell, 1930), a collection of articles about abortion; first editor of the famous novel Poganka (The pagan, 1846) by Narcyza Żmichowska and author of a monograph on Żmichowska entitled Ludzie żywi (Living people, 1929). Boy-Żeleński’s father, Władysław Żele ński (1837–1921), was a composer from a noble family dating back to the fifteenth century. In 1873, Władysław Żeleński married Wanda Grabowska (1841–1904), who was from a middle-class family. Both families cultivated patriotic Polish traditions. In the eighteenth century, Grabowska’s family had converted from Judaism while the Żeleński family had been traditionally Calvinist (Marcjan Żeleński, Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński’s grandfather, converted to Catholicism in 1828). Although Wanda Grabowska had received an outstanding education , the Żeleński family considered the marriage a mésalliance. Prior to her marriage, Grabowska had been a student and friend of Narcyza Żmichowska. In 1870, Grabowska made her writing debut in the Tygodnik Ilustrowany (Illustrated weekly) with a piece on Żmichowska. Years later her son, Boy-Żeleński, became the first editor of Żmichowska’s work in Poland and his edition of her famous novel Poganka (The pagan woman, 1846) was followed by an excellent biographical study of Żmichowska in 1929, probably the first Polish text (explicitly) about lesbianism. Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński was born on 21 December 1874 in Warsaw (under Russian partition), the second of three brothers [the other two were Stanisław (1873) and Edward (1877)]. The family moved to Cracow (under Austrian partition) in 1881. Between 1892 and 1900, Boy-Żeleński studied medicine at the Uniwersytet Jagielloński (Jagiellonian University), but after making his debute as a poet (1895) in the conservative Cracovian newspaper Czas (Time) he became increasingly interested in literature . In 1904, he married Zofia Pareńska (1885–1956), the daughter of medical professor Stanisław Pareński and his wife Eliza Pareńska (known for her patronage of 617 artists and for encouraging her husband’s doctor friends to buy the work of Polish painters). Boy and Zofia were happily married (until his departure to Lviv in 1939), although they both had extra-marital affairs. In 1905, their only son Stanisław Żeleński was born. From 1905 onwards, Boy-Żeleński was an active member of the Kabaret Zielony Balonik (Green Balloon Cabaret) and became well known as a humorist, while at the same time working as a pediatrician and publishing numerous medical studies. In 1905, Boy-Żeleński founded an association called Kropla mleka (Drop of milk), which aimed to supply poor children with healthy nutrition and provide mothers with free advice. During the first year of its existence, Kropla mleka distributed 20,000 liters of milk. Boy-Żeleński also published articles in the medical and popular press about the importance of proper nutrition for the development of children. In 1906, he opened the the Biuro Porady dla Matek i Dzieci (Office of Advice for Mothers and Children), where he personally advised mothers on childcare issues. During World War I, while a doctor in the Austrian army, he translated French authors into Polish. In 1921, the Uniwersytet Poznański (University of Poznan) offered him the position of Chair of French Literature, which he rejected to become Literary Director of the Teatr Polski (Polish Theatre) in Warsaw from 1922. He was the only person ever to translate the complete works of Molière. For his outstanding contribution to the promotion of French culture, he received the French Légion d’ honneur and the French Academy awarded him the title of l’Officier d’Instruction Publique (both in 1922). Poland became independent in 1918 and one of the most important tasks for the newborn country was to create new laws. In 1920, the work of the Commission of Codification was begun in order to break with the legal traditions of the Partitions and create new Polish laws. There were two phases in Boy-Żeleński’s activism related to the abortion issue. In the first phase, his activities were aimed at influencing the Codification Commission (1920–1932). He advocated the decriminalization of...


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