Stefan Morawski

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Born October 20, 1921(1921-10-20)
Kraków, Poland
Died December 2, 2004(2004-12-02)
Web Wikipedia-PL

Philosopher and historian of aesthetics. He was Honorary President of the International Committee of Aesthetics and a member of International Society of Semiotics, Polish Semiotic Society, Polish Philosophy Society, and Greek Philosophy Society.


Stefan Tadeusz Morawski was born in 1921 in Kraków, Poland, to Karol Morawski (a court inspector of accounts) and Franciszka Spira.

He studied philosophy at the University of Warsaw (MA, 1945; PhD, 1948), English literature and culture at the University of Sheffield (BA, 1947), and English philosophy at the University of Kraków (MA, 1948).

Morawski was a member of the Polish Socialist party from 1944 to 1948, and the Polish Workers' party from 1949 to 1968. He also participated in the Warsaw uprisings of 1944.

On 20 January 1947 he married Anna Zelazny (divorced in 1952). Ewa Morawska Mezynska was born from this marriage. On 4 May 1957 he married the documentalist Helena Opoczynska.

Morawski began teaching in high schools in Kraków (1947–52), later took an assistant professor position at the State Institute of Art, Warsaw (1953–58). In 1954–68, until the March 1968 events[1], he worked at the University of Warsaw, as an associate professor (1954–62), later as a professor of aesthetics (1964–68), vice-dean (1960–62) and dean (1965–67) of the Faculty of Philosophy, and head of the chair of aesthetics (1962–68). Afterwards he lectured as a visiting professor in the United States and in West Germany, and from 1970 worked as a research professor at the Institute of Arts of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. In the 1980s Morawski was giving seminars at the University of Lodz, and at the end of the 1980s he also returned to the University of Warsaw, where he led the department of philosophy of culture.

In 1960–64 Morawski was the founder and editor-in-chief of Estetyka journal (1960-64), later transformed to Studia Aestetica (1964–68). He was also a member of advisory staff of Polish Art Studies, and honorary staff member of Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism and of Knizevna Kritika, Belgrade.

In 1992 the International Committee of Aesthetics elected Morawski its Honorary President at its congress held in Madrid.

Throughout his career he was an active participant in the Polish and international scientific and cultural life, and - due to the numerous contacts with artists from different disciplines - also in the artistic life. His publications (including a number of articles printed in artistic and literary journals) served as a critical commentary on the events of his time and exerted a considerable influence on changes in the cultural life.


"The philosophy of art, remains my chief subject. Since 1970, I have moved to what I call anti-aesthetics, corresponding to the anti-art movement of our day. My second subject is the history of aesthetic ideas from the eighteenth century until now. [..] It is always hard to answer how I began my writing career. It was most surely a propensity backed by some capacities and by circumstances. I tried to write poetry and short stories. I painted a little, but found the proper expression of my creative powers in philosophical reflections upon art. No doubt I am anchored in the Polish culture. I had excellent teachers in philosophy (the world-known Warsaw analytical school); I drew on the riches of Polish literature, theatre, fine arts and music. I know several foreign languages and I am rather well acquainted with the international achievements in philosophy and arts, but they were assimilated by me against my native background. I am surely no exceptional case--it usually occurs that the foreign influences are moulded into a native stock. I couldn't say that any particular writer was a model for me. [..] My orientation is Marxist-critical and towards the Marxist tradition. Since I was expelled from the Polish Workers' party in 1948, I have become a totally independent scholar. My critical and inquisitive esprit and open-mindedness could not be reconciled with any of the dogmas the party started in the late fifties." (from "Stefan T(adeusz) Morawski", Contemporary Authors Online, Detroit: Gale, 2001)



  • Szkice z podstawowych zagadnień estetyki marksistowskiej, Kraków: Państwowe Zakłady Wydawnictwo Szkolnych, 1951, 213+47 pp; Warsaw: Państwowy Instytut Sztuki, 1952, 288 pp. (Polish)
  • Program sztuki narodowej w krytyce i teorji artystycznej lat 1830-1860, Warsaw, 1955, 99+22 pp. (Polish)
  • Jak patrzeć na film, Warsaw: Filmowa Agencja Wydawnicza, 1955, 116 pp. (Polish)
  • Rozwoj mysli estetycznej od Herdera do Heinego [On the History of German Art Theories from Herder till Heine], Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo naukowe, 1957, 184 pp. (Polish)
  • Miedzy tradycja a wizja przyszlosci, Warsaw: Książka i Wiedza, 1964, 238+[12] pp. Concerns the recent Soviet aesthetics. (Polish)
  • Absolut i forma: studium o egzystencjalistycznej estetyce André Malraux [The Absolute and the Form: A. Treatise on the Existential Aesthetics of Andre Malraux], Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1966, 242 pp. Review: Rieser (J Aesth & Art Crit). (Polish)
    • Assoluto e forma: a proposito della filosofia dell'arte di Malraux, trans. Marina Bianchi, Bari: Dedalo Libri, 1971, 460 pp. (Italian)
    • L'absolu et la forme: l'esthétique d'André Malraux, trans. Yolande Lamy-Grum, Paris: Klincksieck, 1972, 318 pp. (French)
    • "On Mimetism and Realism in the Arts", trans. Lee Baxandall, in Aesthetics in Twentieth-Century Poland: Selected Essays, eds. Jean G. Harrell and Alina Wierzbianska, Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1973, pp 249-269. Trans. of an excerpt. (English)
  • O przedmiocie i metodzie estetki [On the Subject and the Method of Aesthetics], Warsaw: Książka i Wiedza, 1973. (Polish)
    • Predmet i metoda estetike, ed. Miloš Stambolić, trans. Stojan Subotin, Belgrade: Nolit, 1974, 248 pp. (Serbo-Croatian)
  • editor, with Lee Baxandall, Marx & Engels on Literature and Art: A Selection of Writings, eds. Stefan Morawski and Lee Baxandall, intro. Stefan Morawski, St. Louis: Telos Press, 1973, 175 pp; new ed., corr. & exp., New York: International General, 1974, 179 pp; repr., Telos Press, 1983; rev.ed., ed. Macdonald Daly, Nottingham: CCCP, 2006, Excerpt. (English)
  • Il marxismo e l'estetica, pref. Giuseppe Prestipino, trans. Francesca Spano, Rome: Riuniti, 1973, 521 pp. (Italian)
    • Reflexiones sobre estética marxista, pref. Giuseppe Prestipino, trans. Ana María Palos, México: Era, 1977, 442 pp. (Spanish)
    • Marksizam i estetika, 2 vols., forew. Milan Damnjanović, trans. Jugana Stojanović and Maja Herman-Sekulić, Titograd: Pobjeda, 1980, 531 pp. (Serbo-Croatian)
    • Marxismul și estetica, 2 vols., pref. & comm. Ion Pascadi, trans. Claudia Dumitru and Ion Pascadi, Bucharest: Meridiane, 1977, 304 & 352 pp. (Romanian)
  • Inquiries Into the Fundamentals of Aesthetics, forew. Monroe C. Beardsley, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974, xviii+408 pp. (English)
    • Fundamentos de estética, intro. J.F. Ivars, trans. José Luis Álvarez, Barcelona: Península, 1977, 442 pp. (Spanish)
  • editor, with Aleksander Kumor, Studies in Art Theory, Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, 1979, 297+[16] pp. (English),(French)
  • editor, Past and Present, Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, and Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Polskiej Akademii Nauk, 1982, 342+[28] pp. (English),(French)
  • Na zakręcie. Od sztuki do po-sztuki, Kraków: Wydaw. Literackie, 1985, 406 pp. (Polish)
  • editor, Zmierzch estetyki: rzekomy czy autentyczny?, 2 vols., intro. Stefan Morawski, trans. Krzysztof Biskupski et al., Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1987, 547 & 321 pp. (Polish)
    • Sumrak estetike, ed. & trans. Biserka Rajčić, Banja Luka: Novi Glas, 1990, 301 pp. (Serbo-Croatian)
  • Główne nurty estetyki XX wieku: zarys syntetyczny, Wroclaw: Wiedza o Kulturze, 1992. (Polish)
  • O filozofowaniu, perypetiach dzisiejszej kultury i rebus publicis. Z Profesorem Stefanem Morawskim rozmawiają Andrzej Szahaj, Anna Zeidler-Janiszewska, Toruń: Adam Marszałek, 1995, 70 pp. Interview. (Polish)
  • Niewdzięczne rysowanie mapy... O postmodernie(izmie) i kryzysie kultury, Wydawnictwo UMK, 1999. (Polish)

Collected writings[edit]

  • De la estética a la filosofía de la cultura, ed. & trans. Desiderio Navarro, intro. Anna Zeidler-Janiszewska, Havana: Criterios, 2006, 424 pp. [2] Introduction. (Spanish)
  • Wybór pism estetycznych, eds. Piotr J. Przybysz and Anna Zeidler-Janiszewska, Kraków: TAiWPN Universitas, 2007, lxiv+260 pp. (Polish)

Papers, articles[edit]

  • "Realism as an Artistic Category", in IVe Congrès international d'esthétique, Athens, 1960, pp 569-578. (English)
    • "Le Réalisme comme catégorie artistique", trans. Roland Desné, Recherches internationales à la lumière du marxisme 38, Paris, 1963. (French)
    • O realismo como categoria artística, trans. Manuel Simões, Porto, 1968, 76 pp. (Portuguese)