It is the year 1832. Adam arrives in Paris. He feels lonely and rarely leaves the house. He reminisces about his failed romance with Konstancja, who was willing to divorce her husband for him.

In the autumn he is visited by an acquaintance who shares the news of passing of Adam’s old flame, Maria Szymanowska. Adam finds out that Maria’s daughter, Celina, whom he remembers as a little girl, has been abandoned by her fiancé. Celina is already on her way to Paris…

“Celina is the wife I have been looking for.” The marriage served as a remedy for the spleen the poet had been suffering from over the past several years. In September of the following year Celina gave birth to their first daughter, Maria (later called “plump Misia”). Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz was in awe of the baby girl, whom he held during the baptism ceremony. Four more children followed – Władysław, Helena, Aleksander, Jan and Józef – born at approximately two-year intervals.


The author of Dziady was recognized in the literary milieu of Paris, beyond the émigré circles. He quickly acquainted the French Romantics. Chopin was also helpful by introducing Mickiewicz to George Sand. Not only did Ms Sand offer him to proofread his French works; she also wrote one of the definitive reviews of Dziady.

In 1834, Pan Tadeusz was published at the Pinard printing house. It was widely read – judging by the reaction it had provoked – but not understood. Mickiewicz was accused of altering the serious mood – after the story of Konrad, presenting the tragic Polish history as a national mission, he published a light story. Some people thought the poem was intended as a satire. Finally, the recurring refrain, valid until today, emerged – “why did he write ‘Lithuania, my Motherland”? Pan Tadeusz was the last epic poem by Adam Mickiewicz.



In 1840, the poet took up a post of the Slavic Literature Professor at the Collège de France in Paris. The émigré milieu hoped that Mickiewicz would lecture mostly on Polish literature, and that caused great concern for the French authorities due to its precarious relations with Russia. The poet, however, prepared lectures on subjects related to the broad Slavic field – in his letters at the time he repeatedly asks various acquaintances to lend him books.

In January 1844 Mickiewicz declared that from that point on “he is no longer a professor. He is an organ of the Cause, the organ of the Circle.” It was undoubtedly the Circle of the Divine Cause – a religious group led by Towiański. In his lectures, Mickiewicz continued to attack the Catholic Church and began to devote his lectures to the topic of Poland’s spiritual guidance.


Why was Mickiewicz so smitten with Andrzej Towiański? Was that because he sensed a spirit similar to his own in this “non-bookish” man (as he himself referred to Towiański)? Or perhaps the author of Pan Tadeusz simply awaited a sign heralding major changes and a new era? Perhaps, overwhelmed by his wife’s illness and depressed about the situation in his beloved country, Mickiewicz turned into a devout believer and gradually shifted towards a different kind of religiosity. What was the fluid about? And, finally, was Towiański a hypnotiser?

The émigré milieu was apprehensive not only about the fact that an outsider took “their own” Mickiewicz away but also about the hermetic, sectarian nature of the Circle of the Divine Cause.



In 1848 a series of revolutionary upheavals known as the Spring of Nations swept across the European continent. In Paris, Prince Czartoryski contemplated creating a Polish legion. Mickiewicz decided to act rather than deliberate. He managed to recruit a dozen people in Rome. All in all, the unit totalled approximately 200 soldiers and joined in the fight to liberate Italy. The poet returned to Paris, organized a group of associates and began publishing Trybuna Ludu (People’s Tribune) or, more precisely, La Tribune des Peuples.

Prince Czartoryski sent Mickiewicz east to meet with Michał Czajkowski, also known as Sadyk Pascha, who had been a leader of anti-Russian activities there since the 1840s and organised the life of Polish emigrants who had left the country after the November Uprising. Mickiewicz wanted to organise a Polish legion there, as he had done in Italy, and a Jewish legion as well.


It is difficult to establish the exact circumstances of the poet’s death; ironically, this is not due to the fact that we lack accounts on those circumstances. Quite the opposite, there are too many reports on the last hours of Adam Mickiewicz’s life. As many as thirteen people had been in contact with the author of Pan Tadeusz within the space of his last hours. Each of those thirteen people remembered the events differently. That is why scholars have been reluctant to accept the hypothesis that Mickiewicz had died of cholera and have been regularly reverting to the theory of poisoning.

But even this is not yet the end. It is hard to imagine that the existence in Polish culture of the author of Dziady could possibly be terminated with closing of the crypt. At the turn of the 20th century the poet revealed his true marketing colours – matches, soaps, sweets and even cigars and cigarettes were branded with a well-known portrait. They quickly became a sought after souvenir from, say, a trip to Krakow.