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)



  • Jak patrzeć na film, Filmowa Agencja Wydawnicza, 1955. (Polish)
  • Rozwoj mysli estetycznej od Herdera do Heinego [On the History of German Art Theories from Herder till Heine], Warsaw: Scientific Publishers, 1957. (Polish)
  • Studia z historii myśli estetycznej XVIII i XIX wieku [Studies in the English, French and Polish Aesthetics in the 18th and 19th Centuries], Scientific Publishers (PWN), 1961. Review: Pazura (PamLit 1962). (Polish)
  • Miedzy tradycja a wizja przyszlosci, Warsaw: Book and Knowledge Publishers, 1964. 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, 1965. (Polish) Also translated to Italian and French.
  • O przedmiocie i metodzie estetki [On the Subject and the Method of Aesthetics], Book and Knowledge Publishers, 1973. (Polish)
  • editor, with Lee Baxandall, Marx and Engels on Literature and Art, St. Louis: Telos Press, 1973; International General, 1974; Nottingham: CCCP, 2006, Excerpt. (English)
  • Inquiries Into the Fundamentals of Aesthetics, MIT Press, 1974. (English)
  • Na zakręcie. Od sztuki do po-sztuki, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1985. (Polish)
  • editor, Zmierzch estetyki: rzekomy czy autentyczny?, Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1987. (Polish)
  • 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, Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, 1995. (Polish)
  • The Troubles with Postmodernism, forew. Zygmunt Bauman, Routledge, 1996; repr., 2013, xv+138 pp. (English)
  • 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]