Monthly Archives: February 2004

History of Jan Potocki (1761-1815)

A man from a great polish family, count Jan
Potocki (1761-1815) was a prolific traveller, writer, polical activist and scholarly researcher.

He was also an edventurer, having been the first person to make an ascent in a baloon in 1790. He was also a freemasonist, having lived in a contradictory manner all his life. He fought against the russians by befriended the tsar. He was a political opponent of the austrians but fought intheir army. He never kept a diary and his life was one of elusiveness and activity.

A well travelled man, he had the important capability of noting his observations and the events around him in a lively, witty and intellectual fashion, which made his records a pleasure to read.

He was also an avid publisher and educator. Having opened a publishing house, he opened a free library for all to read. He was also a good drawer and play wright.

He committed suicide on 2 or 11 December 1815.

One of his masterpieces, the manuscript of saragossa has been compared to don quixote in wittism and entertainment. I have not finished reading it yet and will provide a full account of my views in due time.