Maria Janion, (born on December 24, 1926 in Mońki)
Honorary Citizen of the Capital City of Warsaw since June 2013.
A historian of literature and ideas, a researcher of Polish culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, teacher of many generations of scholars, literary critic, expert on Polish and European romanticism, full member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Professor at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
She studied Polish philology, first at the University of Łódź, then at the University of Warsaw. During this time, she started to publish articles in literary journals. After earning her Master's Degree in 1951, she quickly climbed the academic career ladder, becoming successively an Assistant Professor at the University of Warsaw (1954), a candidate for philological sciences (1955), a docent (1957), an Associate Professor (1963) and a full Professor (1973). Since 1989, she has belonged to the Polish Writers' Association, since 1990, she has been an active member of the Polish Academy of Learning, and since 1991 a member of the Polish PEN Club. She has lived in Warsaw since 1949.
From 1948 until her retirement in 1996, she worked at the Institute of Literary Studies, tutored in doctoral seminars, serving as a scientific secretary and participating in the work of the Scientific Council. From the very beginning, she also tutored classes at the College of Education in Gdańsk, where she was released in 1968, because during the lectures she invited students to reinterpret the Polish literary heritage, which often significantly differed from the official canons and troubled the Communist authorities. Then she taught at the University of Warsaw and the University of Gdańsk, from where she was expelled as a result of political repression in 1982.
In the 70s, she participated in the conspiratory activities of the Society for Academic Courses. In August 1980, she signed up for an appeal of 64 intellectuals supporting the strike of the workers at the shipyard. A year later, she took part in the Independent Congress of Polish Culture..
After the fall of communism, she remained involved in social initiatives. She has played an important role in the intellectual development of the feminist movement in Poland, and she supported a number of initiatives to create a truly democratic society that is open to the multiplicity of views and attitudes that seek to eliminate all forms of prejudice. She is the author of several hundred scientific papers and books.
In 2000-2004, she chaired the jury of the Nike Literary Award. In 1994 she received a degree honoris causa of the University of Gdańsk.
fot. © Elżbieta Lempp