Jan. 4, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 7

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    Expert on Polish theater, Terlecki, dies at 95

    Tymon Terlecki, an influential authority on the Polish theater and dramatic literature, died Monday, Nov. 6, at his home in Oxford, England. He was 95.

    Terlecki, Professor Emeritus in Slavic Languages & Literatures, was known internationally as a historian of Polish literature and a critic and essayist. Terlecki was the author of numerous books and articles on the history of Polish letters and the theater. His major works include Christian Existentialism, Personalistic Criticism, Pani Helena (Life of Helena Modjeska), Theatrical Matters, In Search of Equilibrium and Kindred Encounters. He was the editor of a two-volume collective work, Polish Literature Abroad 1940-1960, and he also translated into Polish Charles PÈguy, Jules Supervielle and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon.

    Born in Przemysl, Poland, Terlecki received his Ph.D. in 1932, from King John Casimir University in Lwow, Poland. From 1934 to 1939, he served as a professor at Panstwowy Instytut Sztuki Teatralnej in Warsaw, where he lectured on the history of world drama, and edited art and literary periodicals, including the monthly Theater and the quarterly review The Polish Stage. In 1939 in France, Terlecki was a cofounder of the weekly publication Fighting Poland and was its editor-in-chief in CoÎtquidan, Paris and London until 1949.

    Beginning in 1948, Terlecki taught at the Polish University Abroad. In 1964, Terlecki came to the University as a Visiting Lecturer in Slavic Languages & Literatures. In 1965, he accepted an appointment as Professor in the department, where he taught until 1972.

    “He played a central role in the development of Polish Studies at the University,” explained Howard Aronson, Acting Chair and Professor in Slavic Languages & Literatures. “Tymon Terlecki was only our second professor of Polish literature, and much of our subsequent growth as a major center of Polonistica is due to the firm foundation of scholarship and teaching that he established.”

    Terlecki recently was named a member of the honorary committee for celebrating the 70th anniversary of Panstwowy Instytut Sztuki Teatralnej in Warsaw.

    He also served on the Philological Commission of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Polish Society of Arts and Letters Abroad and the Polish Historical Society. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Wroclaw.

    His wife, Nina Taylor-Terlecka, a teacher of Polish literature at the University of Oxford and the Polish University Abroad in London, survives him.

    A funeral mass was held at Black Friars, St. Giles, Oxford, followed by burial at Wolvercote Cemetery.