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ON THE FIELD OF GLORY: HISTORICAL FICTION OF POLAND (ANNOTATED)

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A memorable cast of characters, ready for battle, duelling, or love in this last completed historical novel of the Nobel Prize winner.


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A memorable cast of characters, ready for battle, duelling, or love in this last completed historical novel of the Nobel Prize winner.

30 review for ON THE FIELD OF GLORY: HISTORICAL FICTION OF POLAND (ANNOTATED)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Topher Marsh

    The reader’s experience of a novel written in one language and read in another is as much affected by the talent of the translator as it is that of the author – more so in many cases. On the Field of Glory is compromised by both. In this case the author Henryk Sienkiewicz, wrote this novel as the first book in an intended trilogy. Sienkiewicz intended this book to serve as a prelude to the real action and lay the basis of a love story. However, Sienkiewicz died before he could write the rest of The reader’s experience of a novel written in one language and read in another is as much affected by the talent of the translator as it is that of the author – more so in many cases. On the Field of Glory is compromised by both. In this case the author Henryk Sienkiewicz, wrote this novel as the first book in an intended trilogy. Sienkiewicz intended this book to serve as a prelude to the real action and lay the basis of a love story. However, Sienkiewicz died before he could write the rest of the intended trilogy. So, the story is slow and, essentially, incomplete. More problematic is the translation. Sienkiewicz is a great storyteller. His descriptions and plotting wonderful. However, he relies a lot on dialogue. In the hands of a capable novelist, the stories are enthralling. On the Field of Glory in the hands of Miroslaw Lipinski, the story is turgid and purple. Some of that fault lies with Sienkiewicz. A note at the beginning of the novel states that the translator’s intent was to “render a translation that is as true in style, spirit and content to the original as possible.” However, it has been commonly reported that Sienkiewicz had his characters use the Polish language as he imagined it was spoken in the seventeenth century, which in reality was far more similar to 19th-century Polish than he imagined. This dialogue is what bloats the narrative. I previously read and enjoyed Sienkiewicz's In Desert and Wilderness, With Fire and Sword, The Deluge, and Fire in the Steppe. The first of these four books was translated by Miroslaw Lipinski. Lipinski also translated On the Field of Glory. I enjoyed In Desert and Wilderness immensely. Lipinski was not handicapped in translating In Desert and Wilderness by the imagined style of dialogue used by characters in In the Field of Glory. Hence, it’s a snappy read. The other three books, Sienkiewicz's Trilogy, were translated by W.S. Kuniczak, a "bilingual, Polish-born, British-trained American novelist whose passion for the Trilogy led him to suspend his own literary career, abandon his own writing, and sacrifice more than eight years to this gigantic task. Kuniczak mirrors Sienkiewicz’s imagery, recreates his language within another culture, and bridges the gaps in readers’ understanding of those distant and unknown historical events." [Thomas Napierkowski’s “Introduction to The Deluge”] So, read Sienkiewicz's other superb novels. Skip Lipinski’s translation of Sienkiewicz's On the Field of Glory

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve R

    A relatively short, as far as Sienkiewicz goes, love story about a beautiful, orphaned girl, Anulka, and her long-time admirer, Yatsek, and the problems they encounter prior to the happy-ending marriage on the eve of the groom going off under the banner of John Sobieski to fight the Turks. The dastardly Pan Gideon, who intends to marry Anulka to keep his land for himself and his successors, and away from his relations from his deceased wife, manages to keep Yatsek and Anulka apart until the cele A relatively short, as far as Sienkiewicz goes, love story about a beautiful, orphaned girl, Anulka, and her long-time admirer, Yatsek, and the problems they encounter prior to the happy-ending marriage on the eve of the groom going off under the banner of John Sobieski to fight the Turks. The dastardly Pan Gideon, who intends to marry Anulka to keep his land for himself and his successors, and away from his relations from his deceased wife, manages to keep Yatsek and Anulka apart until the celebration of his betrothal to the much younger girl, when he suffers an apoplectic fit and dies. The real stars of the story are the four Bukoyemski brothers, whose buffoonery and well-meant- faux-pas cause much mirth. The elderly and wise counsels of Father Voynovski and Pan Serapin Tsyprianovitch manage to right the wrongs done to Yatsek and Anulka in time to allow them to finally be joined in holy matrimony. There are no battle scenes at all, and the subtitle: 'A story of the time of Sobieski' is much more accurate than the 'On the Fields of Glory' title. Riddle - what has two heads, four feet and is holy? Answer - Holy Matrimony! (told by Prelate Trovkovski when he meets with Pan Gideon prior to counselling the poor Anulka to marry her much older guardian). Finally, despite the fun the author has with the doltish Bukoyemski brothers, nothing in the six novels of Sienkiewicz I've read matches his description of Martian Krepetski, so-called the 'stump' due to the fact that he has virtually no neck, his shoulders come up to his ears, he is bow-legged and his arms reach down to his kneecaps. His hair sticks up, and he is said to have a goat's face. When he beats the heroine for refusing his advances, the Bukoyemskis wait for him by a tar pit, and after tar-and-feathering him, tie his legs under his horse and chase it to a courtyard, where people are astounded at this beast none of them has ever seen before. Later, he challenges the brothers only to lose an ear in the ensuing swordplay. A lot of fun and a true delight to read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ioana Savin

    Un roman cu o scriitură impecabilă, numai cum H. Sienkiewicz poate s-o scrie. Romanul uimeşte prin simplitatea personajelor, abundând în acelaşi timp de trăirile lor. Fiecare personaj este bine conturat, diferit faţă de celelelalte prezente, ceea ce le face să pară atât de reale. Un roman care trebuie citit într-o viaţă. Păcat că nu mai apare nicio ediţie nouă. :(

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Dated but solid story of Poland prior to the late 17th century invasion by the Ottomans. While this focuses on a love story, there is much about the tactics and combat of the day to be useful to the wargamer.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Never got to a battle as Sienkiewicz died before he could finish the series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Viel Nast

    this is the last book about Polish history. it has a new cast and has the well known narrative power of all Sienkiewicz books but it lacks in creativity. maybe the writer is old now and can't afford to build a nice story. the story is a classic romance with misunderstandings in the beginning but with a happy ending. the background is the siege of Vienna by the turks and the preparations of Poland to help their allies despite their many wars and problems for nearly the past fifty years. unexpecta this is the last book about Polish history. it has a new cast and has the well known narrative power of all Sienkiewicz books but it lacks in creativity. maybe the writer is old now and can't afford to build a nice story. the story is a classic romance with misunderstandings in the beginning but with a happy ending. the background is the siege of Vienna by the turks and the preparations of Poland to help their allies despite their many wars and problems for nearly the past fifty years. unexpectantly the book ends before the heroes battle in the siege and enter the "field of glory'! I am not sure if this is intentional or the writer died before finishing his work but leaves the reader with a feeling of dissatisfaction and unfinished tale. There is an epilogue which describes the events of the battle and how Polish cavalry played a key role in the siege and the destruction of the ottoman army. the siege of Vienna is a major event in European history it is of the same significance of the fall of Constantinople but in the opposite direction. the muslims after many attempts to enter central and west Europe they were finally defeated and the process of decline started which was continued with the many revolutions in the Balkan region during 18th and 19th centuries and the great losses of 20th centuries which ended the ottoman empire. with the victory of Vienna europe escaped islam and remained a free region counter to eastern Europe which fell under muslim occupation for many centuries as the Iberian peninsula (although arabs contrary to turks were more educated and cultivated). PS the great cavalry march of Polish forces with their king in front reminds me greatly of the march of Rohan... I haven't read if Tolkien had this historic event as his inspiration but for sure seem very similar.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nezka

    I had such high hopes and expectations for this book, as I LOVED Sienkiewicz's QUO VADIS? and am intrigued about the 1683 battle of Vienna and the forces of Polish king Jan Sobieski III. While the love story between the two main characters has its touching moments, and there is a portrait created of rural and noble Polish life, this novel is a disappointment as the narrative and structure are quite simplistic and the character development is just not as well done as in QUO VADIS? This apparently I had such high hopes and expectations for this book, as I LOVED Sienkiewicz's QUO VADIS? and am intrigued about the 1683 battle of Vienna and the forces of Polish king Jan Sobieski III. While the love story between the two main characters has its touching moments, and there is a portrait created of rural and noble Polish life, this novel is a disappointment as the narrative and structure are quite simplistic and the character development is just not as well done as in QUO VADIS? This apparently was Sienkiewicz's last published book and I read somewhere that it may have been the beginning of yet another of his historical fiction trilogies, but I must admit I am thankful he did not continue it. The historical epilogue is very interesting and gives an account of the battle, but I will need to look elsewhere for more on this subject and story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Filip

    Sienkiewicz nie zawodzi. Warto przeczytać dla samego słowa. Aczkolwiek nie jest to jego najlepsza książka.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    Just enjoying some Polish lit in translation before a trip to Cracow...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Burlacu

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ewelina

  12. 4 out of 5

    Grzegorz

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katarzyna

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daimon

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Gasper

  17. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Honfleur

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah Randolph

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steve Pavlech

  20. 4 out of 5

    Greg Stafira

  21. 4 out of 5

    Андрей

  22. 5 out of 5

    Olimpia Cruceru (Rusu)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sylwia

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lucille

  25. 5 out of 5

    juan enjamio

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan Gettinger

  27. 4 out of 5

    Arthur E. Michalak

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janez Stare

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Bradshaw

  30. 5 out of 5

    Monia

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