The splendid growth of Polish Romantic poetry in the second quarter of the nineteenth century almost overshadowed concurrent achievements in artistic prose, which are considerable and diverse.
It is true that the prose fiction of the period did not especially flourish. Nevertheless, Polish Romanticism brought forth one interesting and original prose genre, that of gawęda. Gawęda is a kind of short story which has as narrator an old, rather simple man, telling in a loose way and in colloquial language stories from old Polish life. It is true, the genre quickly degenerated into a stale traditionalism, but at its peak gawęda could boast a volume as noteworthy as Rzewuski's The Memoirs of Soplica. The realism of detail, vivid local color, humor, and raciness of this work command a high position for it in the history of Polish fiction.