Presidential couple launches National Reading Day
Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda inaugurated the 9th National Reading Day at the Saski Garden in Warsaw on Saturday, with a reading of 'Balladyna,' a drama written by Polish Romantic-era playwright and poet Juliusz Słowacki.
The annual event was scheduled to take place in over 1,300 locations across Poland and abroad.
The president said that Juliusz Słowacki's "Balladyna" is literature that "is deeply rooted in our Polish history and mentality. (...) Literature, which I can confidently say, is absolutely part of our identity, our Polish culture and Polish soul."
He also said that, in Balladyna, there is a lot of universal content which builds attitudes that teach, because Słowacki not only dreamed and showed what he wanted to be beautiful, and because he was also able to "point out to Poles their vices, to teach them not to act in this manner, by recalling everything that had led to the fall of the Republic of Poland."
First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda noted that Słowacki's work belongs to "the most famous and outstanding works of Polish Romanticism."
Over 60 Polish actors and actresses were invited to take part in the joint reading session, which was a record-high attendance for a reading of the novel.
Balladyna was written by Polish Romantic-era playwright and poet Juliusz Słowacki. The 1834 play, believed to have been influenced by Shakespeare's Macbeth, tells the tale of the rise and fall of a Slavic queen.
Juliusz Słowacki (1809–1849), the greatest Polish dramatist, poet and philosopher is, alongside Adam Mickiewicz, the greatest representative of Polish Romanticism. He authored lyrical poems (Hymn, Smutno mi, Boże! [I Feel Sad, Lord!], Testament mój [My Testament]) and epic prose poems (Lambro, Godzina myśli [An Hour of Thought], Beniowski, Anhelli, Król-Duch [The Spirit King]) which are among the classics of Polish literature.
The National Reading campaign, an initiative established in 2012, involves public readings of outstanding works of Polish literature. The annual event is organised by groups of neighbours, social organisations, local governments, as well as schools, libraries, and theatres. It aims to popularise the wealth of the Polish literary tradition, to promote reading and strengthen national identity.