The second edition of the book: ‘Irena Krzywicka. Długie życie gorszycielki’ / ‘Irena Krzywicka. The Long Life of the Debauched Woman’ by Agata Tuszyńska was published in 2009.
Who was Irena Krzywicka? First of all, she was a Polish feminist who believed strongly in woman’s right to sexual freedom. Then she was a columnist, writer and translator, who was born in 1899 in Russia and died in 1994 in France. In her long life she was involved in spread of knowledge about sexual education, contraception and planned parenthood. Before the Second World War she was involved in love affair with a Polish writer, Tadeusz Boy - Żeleński, who shared her feministic point of view. At the same time she was also a wife and mother. Everyone knew about the romance because both of them were public persons. That’s why she had been called the scandalist and debauched woman.
Together with Boy – Żeleński she tried to do her best to educate people, especially women, about their sexuality. In her feministic activity Krzywicka spoke loudly about abortion demanding its legalization. The illegal abortion underground was the fact in Poland (btw. it is the fact nowadays as well) and it was obviously dangerous for women’s lives. Furthermore, she supported the right of gays and lesbians. She called homosexuality the natural sexual behavior. She also expressed and taught about female sexuality and stated that woman should explore her own sexuality. In her opinion (and we’re talking about the time before the WWII) women have the same rights as men what includes their sexual choices. She wrote about it in her books and articles for Polish newspapers and magazines. Krzywicka opened the clinic where people could learn about planned parenthood for free. We can say that her life was dedicated to the battle against religious superstitions and prejudices and - in general - human ignorance.
She also found time to translate into Polish books of Marcel Proust whom she truly admired. And she published a few novels as well. During the war she was hiding under the assumed name. Boy-Żeleński was killed in the massacre of Lviv (currently, in Ukraine) professors in 1941. After the war Krzywicka’s house became the intellectual salon. In 1963 she left Poland and never came back.
Ps. the painting you can see presents Irena Krzywicka. It was painted by the great artist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz a.k.a. Witkacy.
To be continued…