“Sznurek Pereł czyli Romansowy Chińczyk” – a manuscripted satirical periodical from the Duchy of Warsaw
In 1811 Warsaw periodicals “Gazeta Warszawska” (“Warsaw Gazette”) and “Gazeta Korespondenta” (“Correspondent’s Gazette”) no longer attracted public attention. Many readers viewed political news from relatively peaceful Europe as boring. They also lacked heated debates of theatre critics from previous years and simple entertainment, like rhyming riddles. In autumn that year a hand-written satirical periodical “Sznurek Pereł czyli Romansowy Chińczyk” (“A String of Pearlsor a Flirtatious Chinese”) began circulating in Warsaw. Its author – an actor and playwright Alojzy Fortunat Gonzaga Żołkowski – mocked current European and local events, not refraining from frivolous and risky jokes. The article presents the full text of the only surviving copy of the gazette. Because Żołkowski’s jokes are frequently difficult to understand for a contemporary reader, they are amended with comments and explanations. “A String of Pearls…” did not only provide simple entertainment but also served well the purpose of propagating Napoleonic cause.