What is it about?

This article is the first account in English of the origins and development of the earliest anti-Jesuit literature in the Commonwealth of Poland–Lithuania from the publication in 1577 of the first anti-Jesuit work until the publication in 1614 of the most famous and most influential anti-Jesuit work not only in Poland but also in other parts of Europe, the Monita privata [secreta] (Private [hidden] instructions). The essay places the Polish anti-Jesuit literature, written mostly in Latin but also in Polish, within its broader context of such literature in western Europe, of which it was an integral part, for the texts from both younger and older Europe influenced each other and borrowed from each other. Such a presentation aims at showing the indisputable importance of anti-Jesuit literature for the culture and politics not only of the early modern but also of the modern history of Europe, including Poland, whose contours were shaped by the Jesuits, for better or worse, to a degree exceeding that of all other Catholic religious organizations.

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Why is it important?

Several topoi examined here fed into anti-Jesuit conspiracy theories. These conspiracy theories gave legitimacy to the aim of expelling the Jesuits, who were portrayed as forming a secretive society that had invaded Poland–Lithuania to fulfill the agenda of foreign powers through deception and assassination.


This publication is part of my broader research project on anti-Jesuit literature in Poland from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century. Anti-Jesuit literature is not only important for the history of Poland, where the Jesuits played a very significant religious, political, and cultural role but also to understand the dynamics of construing conspiracies and conspiracy theories that are so popular also today.

Robert Maryks

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: “Idźcież już precz!” [Come on, get out already!]: The Origins and Development of the Earliest Anti-Jesuit Literature in the Commonwealth of Poland–Lithuania, 1577–1614, Journal of Jesuit Studies, January 2023, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/22141332-10010004.
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