Winner, 1997 National Book Award for Poetry
Winner, 1993 PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize
Published in 1776 and considered the first Polish novel ever written, The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom is a picaresque tale following the naïve title character's coming of age. Having conquered (and fled) sophisticated Warsaw, Nicholas enjoys many adventures across Europe, South America, and the high seas. He finally lands among the natives of an unknown isle who reject his allegedly superior European ways and instead tutor him for an "enlightened" existence. Resonant with Enlightenment ideas, The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom provides a sly portrait of the era's Polish society and a fascinating perspective on the broader problems of eighteenth-century European culture.