Polish literature has a long and complicated history. During the Middle Ages most Polish authors and academics wrote only in Latin, as at the time, this was the 'academic' language which linked Europe together; Jan Długosz broke this trend and became the first author to write the majority of his works in the Polish language. A number of Polish authors have won great renown in the past few centuries, however, this largely stems from the initial success of the works of Adam Mickiewicz, who wrote the first Polish epic, Pan Tadeusz, in 1834.
Influential authors of the late 19th and 20th centuries include Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Reymont, Witold Gombrowicz and Czesław Miłosz.
To date four Polish authors have won the nobel prize for literature, with Władysław Reymont being one of only nine writers to receive the prestigious award for one particular, outstanding literary work (awarded for the great national epic, 'The Peasants' in 1924).