Wydawnictwo Ossolineum was established in 1827 in Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) and remains the longest-running publishing house with a continuous presence in Poland. Founded by Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński to publicize historical and literary research into the Ossolineum collections, it soon became a major part of the Polish publishing landscape.
In the interwar period, the Ossolineum was the sole publisher of works by Henryk Sienkiewicz, a Literature Nobel Prize laureate. In 1933, the publishing house acquired from an insolvent Cracow publisher, Krakowska Spółka Wydawnicza, the right to issue their book series called Biblioteka Narodowa (National Library). Encompassing Polish and world classics edited and annotated by eminent literary scholars, the series has continued to be published by the Ossolineum to the present day.
The Ossoliński National Institute was relocated to Wrocław after the Second World War. It became an institution subordinate to the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1953. The Ossolineum Publishing House, with branches in a number of Polish cities, has achieved the status of Poland’s publishing leader, particularly in research and scholarly literature. The 1990s privatization of the Publishing House was followed by the Ossoliński National Institute becoming its majority owner in 2007 and reincorporating it six years later.
The first head of the Publishing House was Julian Pelc who worked there before the Second World War. He was followed by, among others, Ignacy Pochwicki, Jan Trzynadlowski and Eugeniusz Adamczak. After the Ossolineum Publishing House had been reincorporated into the Ossoliński National Institute, the editor-in-chief position was taken up by Dariusz Sośnicki who shaped the present profile of the publisher by initiating the following book series: From Poland and Abroad, The Art of Reading and Monographic Studies.
As we write the next chapter in the history of the Ossolineum Publishing House, we aim for the most valuable and the most ambitious in literature. We keep asking the question about the role of the literary canon in the contemporary world, and we open new perspectives on the Polish heritage by approaching it from unconventional angles.
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