Letter from Jan Patočka written 16.02.1948

Hostálkova 103
Prague 18


 n             Dear Professor,

 n      To start with, please forgive me for taking so long to reply. I was waiting for the end of the semester and then started to hesitate. Since I have to travel from Prague to Brno every week, it stops me from arranging and discussing things properly during the semester. Things seem to be taking shape more now though.
 n       I would not be able to translate your books myself; I regret to have to say that my command of Polish is not good enough. I would be delighted to assist with translations under preparation though. I do not know whether I have already mentioned it to you in a letter, but one of your great admirers, Professor Frank Wolman, lectures at the Faculty of Arts in Brno. He has based his interpretations on comparative Slavic literature on Das literarische Kunstwerk [The Literary Work of Art] and O poznawaniu dzieła literackiego [The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art]. There are also other people interested from [Jan] Mukařovský’s set, in particular Dr Pavel [illegible], with whom Dr. [Antonín Stanislav] Mágr from the Orbis publishing house is currently negotiating a translation. So two projects are taking shape: one of which is more from a literary perspective, with Professor Wolman expressing the most interest – a translation of your work in Polish O poznawaniu dzieła literackiego [The Cognition of the Literary Work of Art], perhaps with some articles from Szkice z filozofii literatury [Sketches on the Philosophy of Literature]. I should point out that Wolman is a Communist and focuses solely on aspects relating to formal analysis of a work, based on your interpretations, not your general philosophy. The second project, more from a generally aesthetic perspective, would be the Orbis project. Professor Wolman would probably come up with a translator himself – his son, who is doing a doctorate in philosophy. In any case I would reserve the right to revise the end product, subject to your consent.
 n       I have also discussed with Professor Wolman about how wonderful it would be if we could invite you to come to Brno to give some lectures. I have not yet been appointed to a chair though and our whole faculty (the Faculty of Arts) is not yet fully constituted, but as soon as it is, and that cannot take too much longer, I will endeavour to ensure that both faculties invite you as a guest lecturer.
 n       I am going to end this letter now. Once again please forgive me for taking so long to send you this letter.

 n         n         n         n      With my deepest respects,

      n         n         n      Jan Patočka

16 February 1948