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Brzezinska Katarzyna

Katarzyna Brzezinska


Clare College

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I began my PhD researching the Enthusiasts (Entuzjastki), a nineteenth-century Polish women’s group led by the writer Narcyza Żmichowska. However, in the early stages of my research I came across, and became fascinated by, Wirydianna Fiszerowa, an eighteenth-century Polish noblewoman who lived through and participated in some of the most tumultuous events of Polish history in this period. At the end of her life she recounted her experiences in her memoirs. Offering a fascinating glimpse into the history of eighteenth and nineteenth century Poland, the text intertwines stories of significant political events with portraits of important historical figures and descriptions of the seemingly mundane familial life of a Polish noblewoman. Using the memoirs as a starting point, my project now seeks to examine Polish noblewomen’s role in public life in Poland in the long eighteenth century, and within a broader European context. I am especially interested in the fluidity between public and private spheres.

My broader research interests include European women’s history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, women’s writing, and the European Enlightenment. I am especially interested in women’s self-representation in writing, and in the past I have worked on the British courtesan Harriette Wilson and her memoirs, the Italian courtesan and writer Tullia d’Aragona, as well as the British scientist and writer Margaret Cavendish. 


  • CEELBAS CDT-AHRC Research Training Support Grant for research trip to Poland (2017)
  • CEELBAS CDT-AHRC Doctoral Studentship in Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages and Culture (2016)

Other Teaching and Outreach

  • 2016 - Tutor at HE+, Gower College Swansea
  • 2015 - History tutor at OxFizz: Oxford and Cambridge Summer School
  • 2014 - Guest speaker at Villiers Park Educational Trust

Languages (in addition to English)

Polish (fluent), French (intermediate), Italian (basic), Russian (basic)