The provincial actors of Poland are sometimes colloquially called “comedians,” as distinguished from their more pretentious brethren of the metropolitan stage in Warsaw. The word, however, does not characterize a player of comedy parts. Indeed, the provincials, usually performing in open air theatres, play every conceivable rôle, and as in the case of Janina, the heroine of this story, the life of the Comedienne often embraces far more tragedy than comedy.
Wladyslaw Reymont is the most widely known of living Polish writers. The Academy of Science of Cracow nominated him for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He is the author of numerous novels dealing with various phases of everyday life in Poland, many of them translated into French, German, and Swedish. The Comedienne is the first of his works to appear in English.
Reymont himself was a peasant, rising from the bottom until to-day the light of his recognized genius shines in the very forefront of the Slavic intellectuals.