SKARBEK, Fryderyk Florian. Damian Ruszczyc. Powieść z czasów Jana III. Wroclaw, [Frydlender] for Zygmunt Schletter, 1840.
Three volumes in one, 12mo. Contemporary Polish quarter calf over boards, original printed wrappers of volume one bound in; pp. -109; [ii], 104; 107 (front wrapper serving as title in volume I, this not present); wear to extremities, but holding firm, occasional light spotting, a good copy from the library of Gwalbert Pawlikowski (1792-1852,) an eminent conservative Galician politician and collector (neat collector's stamps).
First published in Warsaw (1827-8) this is the second edition of an early work by one of the most versatile and prolific Polish intellectuals of the first half of the 19th century, a historical novel situated during the reign of Jan Sobieski, probably the greatest Polish king of the Rzeczpospolita, the 'savior of Christendom,' as he was called after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vienna of 1683, or the 'Lion of Lechistan' as the Turks admiringly called him.
Skarbek was befriended by and godfather to the composer Frédéric Chopin (1810–49), who had been born on the Skarbek estate in Żelazowa Wola and tought the Skarbek children. As well as stage plays, Skarbek wrote on prison reform, fiction, satires, worked on prison reform in Britain, Holland and Russia, and is responsible for the design of the infamous Pawiak prison in Warsaw. Count Fryderyk Skarbek (1792-1866) studied in Warsaw and Paris, where he obtained private tuition in economics from Saint-Aubin and Piotr Maleszewski. ‘In 1818 he was called to the chair of political economy at the University of Warsaw, where he taught with great success until the closing of the institution by the Russian authorities after the collapse of the Polish insurrection in 1831 … His literary legacy includes besides several works on economics, which established his reputation as the foremost Polish economist of his period, a number of studies in the field of history, criminology, statistics and general social reform. While Skarbek regarded himself as a follower and interpreter of the classical school of economics, he departed from its teachings in a number of significant respects. Even in his early writings he drew a sharp distinction between theoretical economics, which has for its purpose the discovery of universal principles on the nature and source of the wealth of nations, and applied economics, in which the general principles shoud be modified in accordance with the geographical location, degree of economic development and other peculiarities of the respective nations' (Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences). Skarbek's early literary influences were that of the European romantic movement, Laurence Sterne, Walter Scott, and Friedrich Schiller.
Provenance: Pawlikowski had two private passions, botany (he created a botanic garden in Lviv) and collecting antiques and books. He amassed one of the country's largest collection of books, manuscripts, engravings, maps, medals, coins, and prints.
The only other copies of this second, Silesian, edition we were able to locate is in the Hofbibliothek Thurn und Taxis, Regensburg, and in NUCAT.