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Originally published in 1912, this lyrical vel is set in a mar house in central Poland during the January Uprising of 1863 to 1864, when a volunteer Polish army futilely fought the Russian occupation. A wounded soldier appears outside the house and is cared for by Salomea, the young ward of the absent owners, who has been left in the mar with an aged servant. As the two strive to conceal the soldier's presence during brutal and invasive visits by the Russians, Salomea finds herself falling in love with her patient.
Stefan Zeromski (1864-1925) was the leading Polish novelist of his generation and is widely acknoweldged to be one of the greatest writers his country has ever produced. Czeslaw Milosz has called him the conscience of Polish literature. His work has been translated into dozens of languages, and in the 1920s he was a contender for the Nobel Prize. Among his other novels are Ashes (1904), The Homeless (1900), and Before the Spring. Bill Johnston teaches at the University of Minnesota. His translation of Boleslaw Prus's The Sins of Childhood and Other Stories was published by Northwestern University Press in 1996. His other translations include two novels by Andrzej Szczypiorski and work by Adam Zagajewski, Jerzy Pilch, and Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski.