Jan Michalski was born in Poland in 1953. His interest in literature was nurtured by his classical and European culture. He studied sociology and philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin. He completed his education by studying politics and devoted his energies principally to the issue of Poland’s integration into the European Union, first at the College of Europe in Brussels and then at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement) in Geneva. It was in Geneva that he met Vera Hoffmann. They married in 1983 and, three years later, jointly founded the publisher Noir sur Blanc at Montricher. They published novels, narratives and eye-witness accounts from Eastern Europe. Their shared passion for publishing led them to Paris and Warsaw. For Polish readers, they published Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, Paul Auster, Blaise Cendrars, Nicolas Bouvier, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Lawrence Durrell, Donna Leon, Slawomir Mrozek and Umberto Eco.
Based on their conviction that culture is essential for the integration of East and West, Jan and Vera Michalski gained the confidence of historical figures of Polish culture and developed a substantial catalogue of classical and contemporary Slavonic authors in French. In Paris, they relaunched the Librairie Polonaise, Editions Phébus and Maison Buchet-Chastel publishing, among other authors, Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller and Guy Debord. Jan Michalski passed away prematurely in 2002, but his work continues.
A few memories of Jan Michalski
The commitment of Jan Michalski, evoked by Jerzy Lukaszewski.