Under the impact of humanism, religious reform, and the increasing sophistication of the gentry, the 16th cent. became the golden age of Polish literature. Mikolaj Rej (1505–69) is considered the father of Polish literature; other writers of this period are the great poet Jan Kochanowski; the humanitarian Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski (1503–72); Piotr Skarga (1536–1612), a spokesman for the Counter Reformation; the historian Martin Bielski; and the political writer Stanislaus Orzechowski (1513–66).
After the mid-18th cent. there was a revival of classicism and a new flowering of the arts influenced by the Enlightenment. Modern Polish journalism was born, and light drama flourished under the playwrights Wojciech Bogusławski (1757–1829) and Franciszek Zablocki (1754–1821). Ignacy Krasicki wrote satire and fables. A disciple of Voltaire, Julian Niemcewicz, bridged the classical and romantic periods in Polish literature.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.