Eliza Orzeszkowa (1841–1910) is one of the most prolific and esteemed Polish nineteenth-century prose writers. She was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize in Literature: in 1905 and in 1909. Her influence on Polish literary life was enormous. She inspired Stefan Żeromski, Władysław Reymont, Maria Dąbrowska, and many Polish female writers with her writing and her social justice work. Most of the Polish women’s literature of the post-1863 Uprising period was written with the encouragement and guidance of Orzeszkowa, the most widely appreciated and highly respected Polish woman writer of that time.
Of trailblazing Polish novelist Eliza Orzeszkowa’s many works of social realism, Marta is among the best known, but until now it has not been available in English. Easily a peer of The Awakening and A Doll’s House, the novel was well ahead of English literature of its time in attacking the ways the labor market failed women.