Lynn Lubamersky, an associate professor in the Department of History, published an article, “I am a Woman, I am Quite Aware of My Own Capabilities: the Distinctive Voice of Franciszka Urszula Radziwiłłowa on Love, Marriage, and Freedom.”
The article is featured in a collection spanning Europe in the modern and early modern period, “Wheels of Change: Feminist Transgressions in Polish Culture and Society,” published by Warsaw University Press. Using rich and varied narrative, excerpts from philosophy and sociology, musicology, theater and film studies, this collection depicts a new reality, language, and values to understand the life, goals, and social achievements of women in Polish culture.
Franciszka Urszula Radziwiłłowa (1705-1753) wrote for the theater, cast actors from her own court, introduced tragedies, comedies, one-act plays and ballets and could be called “the mother of Polish theater.”
About her subject, Lubamersky wrote:
“Radziwillowa transgressed the limitations placed upon women of the time, since rather than being limited by conventional forms of expression and behavior expected of women in her place and time, she found a different form of private and public expression. Being a playwright was not her only contribution. Radziwiłłowa founded the longest running courtly center of theater at Nieśwież and constructed the building housing the archive there. In the end, in the words of Karol Estreicher, ‘it is a remarkable thing that only one person, and a woman at that, should have made so bold a move as to override the conventions imposed on poets.’ She was a woman who had found her own voice and used it. She wrote, ‘I am a woman, I am quite aware of my own capabilities,’ and she used these capabilities to reject the patriarchal culture in which she was living, and to express her own ideas regarding love, marriage, and freedom.”