Childhood and Youth
Henryk Adam Aleksander Sienkiewicz was born on
the 5th of May 1846 in Wola Okrzejska. His mother was Stefania
Cieciszowska, who descended from the old senatorish family and
had very good connections; father - Jozef Sienkiewicz had a much
modester genealogy, because his familiy recieved the title in
XVIII-th century. Henryk was a second child, born after
Kazimierz., later appeared in turn: Aniela, Zofia, Helena and
[(Kazimierz in 1863 took part in January Insurrection (powstanie styczniowe) and after that he had to leave to avoid arrest. He went to France and never came back killed in Orlean in 1871 during fighting with Garibaldi.
Helana in 1878 decide to go to canons' cloister (klasztor kanoniczek), which had special rules: opportunity to get marreied, no clause, no frocks and no ascetisizm.]
Generally family had a very good ancastors but no money. They lived by memories but it couldn't last long, in 1861 they sold the estate - Wezyczyn and moved to Warsaw. For Henryk it was even better, because since 1858 he lived there and learnt at Grammar School. After the removal, he took lodgins with family on Nowy Swiat (New World) Street number 7. At school he wasn't a genius, he had 'E' only for Polish language and history for the rest subject only- 'C'. He changed schools few times and finally as a 20 years old man obtained secondary school certificate. As a boy he was reading such authors as: Walter Scott, Alexander Dumas, Shakespeare and Homer.
In 1865 he announced to his friend that he was writting a novel titled "Sacrifice" ("Ofiara"). He didn't like it and also his friend criticised it so he probably destroyed it. In 1867 he started to study in the Main Shool (Szkola Glowna) - first he chose thelaw, after medicine (because of mother's insistence) and finally - philology and history. When he decided what he wanted to do his mother was upset - she didn't believe that as a writer he would achave much and would have enough money to live, in a letter to acquintance she has forseen that the result of Henryk's works would be "erudite dissensions" read by none. She couldn't convince herself that it ended completely different, she died in 1873, when he was just atthe beginning of his career.Main School opened a new chapter in Henryk's life. It was a kind of college, the most modern in Polish territory. A lot of remarkable intellectualists of Sienkiewicz's generation were alumnus of this shool and they influenced his future. In that time he led normal student's life but also obstinately tried to get to the periodicals.
In 1871 "Wieniec" (Warsaw's newspaper) printed his novel titled "Into thin air" and we may say it succeeded especially that one of famous Polish writers estimated it very positively. His first job was for a newspaper. His two short-stories printed in 1872 were typical tendentions works and showed author's connections with positivists and with the Main School. He didn't finish school, he stoped to study in 1871.