Juliusz Słowacki (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjuljuʂ swɔˈvat͡ski]; French: Jules Slowacki; 4 September 1809 – 3 April 1849) was a Polish Romantic poet. He is considered one of the “Three Bards” of Polish literature — a major figure in the Polish Romantic period, and the father of modern Polish drama. His works often feature elements of Slavic pagan traditions, Polish history, mysticism and orientalism. His style includes the employment of neologisms and irony. His primary genre was the drama, but he also wrote lyric poetry. His most popular works include the dramas Kordian and Balladyna and the poems Beniowski and Testament mój.
Słowacki spent his youth in the “Stolen Lands“, in Kremenets (Polish: Krzemieniec; now in Ukraine) and Vilnius (Polish: Wilno, in Lithuania). He briefly worked for the government of the Kingdom of Poland. During the November 1830 Uprising, he was a courier for the Polish revolutionary government. When the uprising ended in defeat, he found himself abroad and thereafter, like many compatriots, lived the life of an émigré. He settled briefly in Paris, France, and later in Geneva, Switzerland. He also traveled through Italy, Greece and the Middle East. Eventually he returned to Paris, where he spent the last decade of his life. He briefly returned to Poland when another uprising broke out during the Spring of Nations (1848).
Słowacki died in Paris on 3 April 1849 from tuberculosis, and on 5 April he was buried in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris. He never married. Only about 30 people attended his funeral. Krasiński, although estranged from Słowacki in the last few years, wrote of the funeral:
|“||There were 30 compatriots at the funeral – nobody rose to speak, nobody uttered even one word to honour the memory of the greatest master of Polish rhymes||”|
Słowacki’s tombstone at Montmartre was designed by his friend and executor of his last will, painter Charles Pétiniaud-Dubos; it did not weather the passage of time well however, and in 1851 a new, similar tombstone was put in place, this one designed by Polish sculptor Władysław Oleszczyński. In 1927 Słowacki’s remains were moved to Wawel Cathedral in Poland, but an empty grave still remains at Montmartre.