World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Janusz Szpotański

Article Id: WHEBN0022287730
Reproduction Date:

Title: Janusz Szpotański  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Polish-language poets, Paweł Jasienica, History of Poland (1945–89)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Janusz Szpotański

Janusz Szpotański, (pen names Władysław Gnomacki, Aleksander Oniegow) (born January 12, 1929, Warsaw, died October 13, 2001, Warsaw) was a Polish poet, satirist, critic, translator, literary theorist and chess player (a three times chess champion of Warsaw, he also held a nationwide title of Master).

He was the creator of satirical tragi-comedic poems which ridiculed the communist government of Poland. These works were often written in an absurdist, grotesque style, and specifically lampooned prominent members of the Polish communist party, as well as the general "low life" mentality of the average Communist Party member.

He is best known for creating the character of "Towarzysz Szmaciak" (literally: Comrade Dishrag, but idiomatically Comrade Cretin or Comrade Scumbag) - an uneducated, dull, cynical, sadistic, anti-semitic and stupid individual who supported the communist party out of opportunistic, not ideological motives. The metaphor of a "dishrag" alludes to the fact that these kind of individuals, while forming the support base of communism in Poland at the time, where considered useful by the party elite (much like a dishrag is necessary to clean up dirt) but at the same time despised by them (since the dishrag itself is dirty). For ridiculing Władysław Gomułka in his poem "Cisi i gęgacze" (The Silent and the Blabbers) he was arrested in 1967 and in 1968 sentenced to three years in prison on the charge of "spreading information harmful to the interests of state". During the March events of 1968, Gomułka referred to him in several of his official speeches, calling him "a man with a mentality of a pimp" and referring to his work as "reactionary doggerel" which "breathed with poisonous sadistic venom against our (communist) authority".[1]

Szpotański was a member of the Stowarzyszenie Pisarzy Polskich (Union of Polish Writers).

On September 23, 2006, he was posthumously awarded the Polonia Restituta Commander's Cross by the President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński.


  • Cisi i gęgacze czyli bal u prezydenta, 1964
  • Targowica czyli opera Gnoma (poświęcona obchodom milenijnym), 1966
  • Ballada o cudzie na Woli: W Warszawie na Woli ukazał się duch Bieruta i sprzedawał kiełbasę po 26 zł za kilo, 1966
  • Lament Wysokiego Dygnitarza, 1966
  • Ballada o Lupaszcze, 1968
  • Rozmowa z Kartoflami, 1968
  • Gnomiada, 1976
  • Caryca i Zwierciadlo, 1974
  • Towarzysz Szmaciak, 1977
  • Szmaciak w Mundurze, Czyli Wojna Pcimska, 1983
  • Sen Towarzysza Szmaciaka, 1984
  • Bania w Paryzu (Unfinished), 1974-1979


  • Dziennik Teatralny, "Zmarł Janusz Szpotański", 10/5/2001, [1]
  • Antoni Libera, ed. "Janusz Szpotański, Fragmenty nienapisanej biografii" (Janusz Szpotański, Fragments of an unwritten biography), [2]
  • Janusz Szpotański, "Utwory Zebrane" (Collected Works), [3]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.