Letter from Irena Krońska written in 10.01.1955
v v v Warsaw, 1/10/1955
Dear and Honorable Professor,
please forgive me that I am only replying now – my job was made much more difficult in recent weeks, Myzia fell ill, she has had scarlet fever for the past thee three weeks. The symptoms are fortunately quite mild, but she still requires my care practically round the clock. In fact, it is only when the evening comes that I can even start thinking about any other work.
v I gave Professor’s remarks on Kołakowski’s introduction to Leibniz to the author, and I also showed them to Prof. Kotarbiński who, influenced by them, read the introduction himself. He offered some detailed comments but described the whole paper as dripping “dripping with intelligence” (the exact expression he used) and deserving to become a preface to Nouveaux Essais. It was also read by Prof. Elzenberg – he made a number of suggestions, many of which were accepted the author. The central issue is the interpretation of the importance of Leibnizian logic for the entire system pointed to by Professor and Prof. Elzenberg – that is, generally speaking, the Russelian interpretation – and at this point the author cannot seem to agree. – Of course, Professor’s underlying postulates regarding the introduction pertain to the general attitude of Marxist methodology. – The accusation of not dealing with the subject matter of Nouveaux Essais in the introduction – is quite correct. – The author, however, was either unwilling to or could not give up his overview of the entire Leibniz system, and the size of the introduction, even at its current length, would not provide enough space for an XXX analysis of this work. The issue of evolution of Leibniz’s thought – again, certainly important (unfortunately I do not know anything about it!) – is one the author refused to undertake in the short amount of time our deadlines XXX. – And it does not help at all that we received the introduction so late (that, in turn, happened because Kołakowski was terribly overwhelmed with classes), and that Professor was unwilling to provide a more detailed assessment, still offended by the insufficient gratitude for his work on Spinoza. – I am writing this letter in a very unofficial and direct way, the same way we are used to in our conversations after the many years of our acquaintance and – I think I can say without fear of being scolded by Professor – friendship. I told Leszek about it and he seemed honestly upset. The system of collective work has become so customary that we can hardly imagine it could be done differently, and at the same time the custom is that you do not thank people who have really helped, whether it be as editors or as reviewers, etc. But this custom could be changed, because it is a very pleasant thing, for the author himself most of all, to thank others for all various forms of help they may offer. Kołakowski regrets that he never thought of it, and he even felt disappointed in me that I never suggested it to him. He is certainly right, as it is my task to see to such matters. Only – to be completely honest – I never thought of it as I worked myself terribly on Morelly and the Groundwork, and the fruits of this labor remained anonymous. – But tradition does not apply in such matters and from now on I will make sure that no transgressions similar to those that arose with Spinoza’s Ethics ever occur again.
v But the matter of the introduction is not the only problem with Leibniz. At the moment, the situation with the text itself is quite upsetting. There are still a lot of editorial corrections in this proof (1st one after typesetting). 60% of them come from Professor, 40% – from Iza and Cierniakówna who is the leading editor in this XXX. It broke out a storm in the publishing house. The director ordered to limit corrections to those absolutely necessary, Cierniakówna has been on this completely pointless task for a week already – all the corrections are in fact necessary, even the purely stylistic ones, and her conscience cannot seem to allow her to give them up. Maybe in the end around 20-30 of them throughout the entire text could be eliminated – and that with a heavy heart –. My scarlet fever quarantine does not allow me to participate in PWN meetings where those things are decided – and Cierniakówna has too little authority. Besides, the position of our editorial staff is difficult, because no author corrections should in fact be introduced after typesetting is done, the costs are huge, especially since the printing house exploits these things. For example, there is a poem which includes a typesetter’s error – the editor uses it to introduce their own correction knowing that it will have to be done over anyway, and yet the printing house does not take the genesis of the change into account when counting the costs anyway. – This whole matter is all the more upsetting, since our editors will not be receiving their bonuses this month. – Well, but what can I do, I cannot let the text go into print as it was before the last revision and let all the effort put into it these last few months by Professor, Dąmbska and Cierniakówna go to waste. – As a matter of fact, XXX some things would still need to be changed – the spelling of ancient names is actually XXX, what is all this Epikuros, Constantinus (we have always only really heard about Emperor Constantine), etc. Iza followed here Ganszyniec’s maniac inclinations which I have once succumbed to myself, but this is does not make sense and is never consistent, because if you do not polonize Pythagoras or Constantine, why, for example, would you write Thomas of Aquinas, etc. – I was looking through the index sent in by Iza, it looks absolutely ridiculous, this pedantism, e.g. Caesar – Gaius Julius Caesar, Epicurus – Epikuros (!) – etc.
v – I cried my eyes out for all this Leibnizian trouble – maybe more than necessary, as I am in a bad shape, very tired, and the trip I had promised myself a lot from never came to fruition.
v I have not forgotten about the protocols containing the Kantian discussions – I will send them to Professor in the next couple of days (every few days I visit our editorial office in the evening). The translation itself has all been rewritten – XXX Dańcewicz and one more proofreading and I am preparing it for printing. When this this work is completed, I will return the original copy to Professor so that you can base your proof on it (I will also return the German and English texts then, is that okay?)
v How is Prof. XXX? I have received a letter from him saying that he had to have a cast on his leg for a while.
v Please forgive me for the very imprecise and all-around messy form of this letter – I am writing it well past midnight, the only time I can write and read at nowadays.
v Thank you very much for your nice New Year wishes. Mine have – hopefully – been with you since January 1 XXX.
with cordial greetings and true devotion,
v v v v v I Krońska
P.S. I never mentioned the most important thing – do you agree to XXX Leszek’s introduction, if the changes are introduced? Please kindly reply to my private address as soon as possible.
P.S. The second Committee meeting will take place in February, after the winter break, around the 15th.