Born on 12 January 1916 in Lwow; son of the merchant Artur Bartosz and the embroiderer Józefa Hutnikiewicz. He completed his secondary education in 1934 at the classical Stanisław Staszic State Grammar School No. VI before studying Polish philology, Classical philology and history at the Jan Kazimierz University (UJK) in Lwow. He graduated with a master of philosophy degree in Polish philology in June 1939. In 1932, he joined the Southeast Lesser Poland District Executive Branch of the Straż Przednia (Avant-Garde) Youth Organization of Civil Labour (Organizacja Pracy Obywatelskiej Młodzieży), serving as an instructor and its secretary from 1934. During his studies, he was deputy chair of the Circle of Polish Philology Students at UJK and a member of the Slavic Academic Society. In 1939, he became a voluntary assistant at the Chair of Comparative Polish Literature at UJK. Following the outbreak of World War II and the Soviet occupation of Lwow, he studied history at the Ukrainian Ivan Franko University until 1941. During the German occupation, he worked as a labourer who was conscripted into the Baudienst, while from 1942 he was a laboratory assistant at the Behring Institute, which produced typhus vaccines. He was involved in underground cultural life in Lwow. After Soviet forces entered the city in 1944, he continued his studies in history at the Ivan Franko University there. In August 1945, he left for Wałcz in Western Pomerania as part of the population transfers officially known as "repatriation", where he became a secondary school teacher. In 1946, he made his debut in the one-off publication "Głos Wałcza" with an article on his school, Państwowe Gimnazjum w Wałczu (State Grammar School in Wałcz). In late 1946, he moved to Torun where he was appointed senior assistant at the Chair of Literary Theory and Comparative Literature at the Nicolaus Copernicus University (UMK). In his research, he focused on the history of literature of Young Poland and the interwar period. He made his debut as a literary history in 1947 with a review of Tadeusz Mikulski's book Adam Czahrowski z Czahrowa (Adam Czahrowski of Czahrów), which appeared in the Lodz-based bimonthly "Życie Literackie" (vol. 3/4). He was awarded a doctorate from UMK in 1948 for his dissertation Forma motywacyjna w kompozycji powieści Żeromskiego (Motif Forms in the Construction of [Stefan] Żeromski's Novels), which was supervised by Prof. Eugeniusz Kucharski. During this period, he published numerous articles and reviews in periodicals including "Dziś i jutro" (1948-55), "Warszawa" (1948-49), and the Catholic weekly "Tygodnik Powszechny" (1950-52). He was appointed lecturer in 1950 and qualified as a senior lecturer in 1956 on the basis of his study Żeromski i naturalizm (Żeromski and Naturalism). Between 1956 and 1958, he was associate dean of the Faculty of Humanities at UMK, while from 1958 to 1960 he was the Faculty's delegate to the university's Academic Senate. At the same time, he was head of the Department of Twentieth-Century Polish Literature from 1957 to 1968. From 1957, he was an active member and secretary of the Philological-Philosophical Section of the Scientific Society in Torun, while from 1960 to 1989 he was a member of its board and editor-in-chief of the Society's publications. In 1958, he joined the editorial team of the publication series on Young Poland, Obraz literatury polskiej XIX i XX wieku (The Image of 19th and 20th-century Polish literature), which was based at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IBL PAN). In 1962, he was made associate professor. From 1966 to 1981, he served on the Scientific Council of IBL PAN. He was a member of the Polish Writers' Union (ZLP) from 1967 to 1981. He was made a member of the Committee on Literary Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences (KNoL PAN) in 1970. From 1972 to 1977, he served on the editorial committee of "Pamiętnik Literacki". He was awarded the prize of the Minister of Science, Higher Education and Technology in 1972. The following year, he was made full professor. Between 1973 and 1986, he was head of the Department of the History of Polish Literature at UMK, while from 1980 to 1986 he served as director of the Institute of Polish Philology. In 1973, he started writing a diary, which he maintained almost until the end of his life. In 1980/81, he was involved in lectures and publication initiatives with the Independent Self-governing Trade Union Solidarity. He became an active member of the Historical-Philosophical Section of the Scientific Society of the Catholic University of Lublin in 1981. In 1986, he was made an honorary member of the Adam Mickiewicz Literary Society and in 1988 an honorary member of the Stefan Żeromski Society in Kielce. He retired in 1986. From 1989, he was chair of Section II of the Scientific Society in Torun and a member of the Polish Writers' Association (SPP). In 1990, he was awarded the Alexander Brückner prize by the Social Sciences Division of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1990, he joined the Regional Council of the Democratic Union party. From 1990 to 1993, he was again a member of the Scientific Council of IBL. In 1993, he rejoined the Committee on Literary Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences (KNoL PAN). In 1995, he was made an honorary member of the Philological Section of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (PAU). UMK held a formal renewal of his doctoral degree in 1998. He was made an honorary citizen of the city of Torun in 2002. He received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1973, the silver medal for services to the Development of the Scientific Society in Torun in 1975, the Gold Medal of the Union of Polish Teacher in 1975, the Medal for Services to the Development of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in 1980, the Meritorious Activist of Culture medal in 1981, the Papal Order of the Holy Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice in 1991, the Medal of the Commission of National Education in 1993, and the Gold Semper Fidelis Medal of the Society of Admirers of Lwow in 1994. He died on 16 April 2005 in Torun and is buried at the city's St George's Cemetery. He was married to Zofia, née Łucka.
1. Żeromski i naturalizm. Toruń: Towarzystwo Naukowe w Toruniu 1956, 207 s.
2. Twórczość literacka Stefana Grabińskiego (1887-1936). Toruń: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe 1959, 481 s. Towarzystwo Naukowe w Toruniu.
3. Stefan Żeromski. Warszawa: Wiedza Powszechna 1960, 207 s. Wyd. nast. tamże: wyd. 2 1961, wyd. 3 1963, wyd. 4 1964, wyd. 5 1967, wyd. 6 1970, wyd. 7 1973, wyd. 8 poprawione 1991.
4. Od czystej formy do literatury faktu. Główne teorie i programy literackie XX stulecia. Toruń: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe 1965, 225 s. Towarzystwo Naukowe w Toruniu. Wyd. nast.: wyd. 2 uzupełnione tamże 1967; wyd. 3 Warszawa: Wiedza Powszechna 1974, tamże: wyd. 4 1976, wyd. 5 1988, wyd. 6 1995, wyd. 7 1997, wyd. 8 1999.
5. „Przedwiośnie” Stefana Żeromskiego. Warszawa: Państwowe Zakłady Wydawnictw Szkolnych 1967, 115 s. Biblioteka Analiz Literackich Wyd. nast.: tamże: wyd. 2 1968, wyd. 3 1971, wyd. 4 1974, [wyd. 5] Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo M. Rożak 1994.
6. „Hymny” Jana Kasprowicza. Warszawa: Państwowe Zakłady Wydawnictw Szkolnych 1973, 147 s. Biblioteka Analiz Literackich.
7. Portrety i szkice literackie. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe 1976, 289 s. Towarzystwo Naukowe w Toruniu.
8. Żeromski. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe 1987, 457 s. Wyd. nast. tamże: 2000, wyd. zmienione 2003, 2007.
9. Młoda Polska. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN 1994, 484 s. Instytut Badań Literackich Polskiej Akademii Nauk. Wielka Historia Literatury Polskiej Wyd. nast. tamże: wyd. 2 1996, wyd.  1997, wyd.  1997, wyd. 5 1999, wyd. 6 2000, wyd. 7 2001, wyd. 8 2002, wyd. 9 2004, wyd. 10 2007, wyd. 11 2012.
10. To co najważniejsze. Trzy eseje o Polsce. Bydgoszcz: Kujawsko–Pomorskie Towarzystwo Kulturalne 1996, 75 s.
11. Z pism rozproszonych. Wybrał i komentarzem opatrzył J. Kryszak. Oprac.: R. Moczkodan. Bibliografia: B. Burdziej i W. Lewandowski. Toruń: Adam Marszałek 2006, 172 s.
Artykuły w czasopismach i książkach zbiorowych, m.in.
Prace edytorskie i redakcyjne
Analyses and reviews
• Questionnaire for IBL PAN 1973, 1988, 2004.