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One Body with Two Souls Entwined: An Epic Tale of Married Love in Seventeenth-Century Poland

Orphan Girl: The Olesnicki Episode

Edited and Translated by Barry Keane
A page-turner featuring one of literature’s earliest female protagonists.

Written in 1685, Transaction or the Description of the Entire Life of an Orphan by Way of Plaintful Threnodies, often referred to as Orphan Girl, is a valuable, long-lost, seventeenth-century poetic text that documents women’s writing in the early modern period. In this autobiographical account, Anna Stanislawska speaks confessionally and unsparingly about her life, from her infancy to her widowhood and withdrawal from the world. Stanislawska was an incomparable memoirist, revealing the depths of her private life in a manner not to be matched until modern times. One Body with Two Souls Entwined brings together this spirited poetic account with an in-depth introductory and literary commentary by Barry Keane. Together the book offers a remarkable piece of scholarly, translational, and dramaturgical work and puts it in context amid the backdrop of Polish history. 

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Table of Contents

Introduction: One Body with Two Souls Entwined
The Other Voice
Historical Backdrop
Stanislawska’s Early Life
The Aesop Episode
A Sacral Legacy
Old Poland’s Feminist Zeitgeist
An Other (and Yet the Same) Voice: A Note on the Translation
Orphan Girl: The Olesnicki Episode

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