Lynn Lubamersky, associate professor of history, recently published an article titled “Anna Stanisławska’s Orphan Girl of 1685: Autobiography of a Divorce” in the publication Women on the Edge in Early Modern Europe.
In 1685, Anna Stanisławska (1651-1701) wrote an autobiographical epic poem in which she described her marriage to an unbearably violent and mentally ill man who humiliated her: a situation that her culture expected her to stoically accept. Instead of accepting her fate, she used the legal system, patrons and family connections to escape her husband and to arrange a divorce. “Anna Stanisławska’s Orphan Girl of 1685: Autobiography of a Divorce” describes the strategies that she used to extricate herself and serves as a guide to other women that they might learn from her experience. The divorce left Stanisławska in relative poverty and with a husband who felt that he was the victim rather than the perpetrator, but she emerged with her reputation, her freedom, and her honor intact.