Letter to Kazimierz Twardowski written 01.01.1924

Toruń, 1/1/1924


            Most Honourable Professor!

            I thought that during the Christmas holidays I would manage to come to Lviv for a few days; unfortunately, the new increase in rail tariffs meant that the money I’d earmarked for this purpose was enough only for a few days’ trip to Warsaw. This excursion is also the reason I’m writing to you today to offer my warm wishes for a ‘Happy New Year’ and all prosperity. Here’s hoping your situation shapes itself in the coming year so as to enable carefree devotion to original academic work! After all, now that a whole generation of young philosophers has emerged from your care and ventured out into the world, the time is slowly approaching when you’ll be able to think about publishing those papers of yours which have undoubtedly accumulated over so many years of studies. Here’s hoping external conditions facilitate this task as much as possible!

            As for me, everything’s slowly returning to normal, as my father’s now healthy, though he’s not going out yet. The children, all of whom were ill in December, are healthy now as well. Thus I’m hoping that I’ll be able to freely devote myself to my work.

            In this connection, I’m taking the liberty of turning to you with a polite query as to whether you might now issue a verdict on my paper and decide whether to propose printing it to the Scientific Soc. as well as whether it can be accepted as a habilitation thesis.

            I apologise for taking the liberty of raising this question despite being fully aware of the workload resting on your shoulders. However, there are a number of important reasons for wanting to know the fate both of my dissertation and of myself personally.

            As for the latter issue, as of now I don’t want to stay in Toruń any longer than until the summer holiday. Accordingly, assuming I’m not going to Lviv, I’d have to think now about finding a new place to live, one more adapted to cultural life. I consider a longer stay in Toruń as deadly for myself in terms of mentality, and everything in me shudders at the idea of staying here any longer. On the other hand, not knowing if (and if so, when) a habilitation colloquium awaits me, I don’t know how to budget my time – whether I’m supposed to begin preparations, or possibly prepare a habilitation lecture, or whether I can devote myself to continued theoretical studies. This is connected with the fate of my dissertation. Husserl wrote to me recently, proposing that I should send something for Philosophical Yearbook. I’d willingly do so, and will probably send the lecture I gave at the Congress in Lviv, but first I’d like to publish it in Polish. At the same time, however, I’d be happy to send the paper on essential questions. I don’t know if I have the right to dispose of it, though, because I don’t know whether the Scientific Soc. would agree to its being published shortly afterwards in German. However, it’d be very important to me to publish this work in German as well, as I believe it contains new results which I’d like to share with other phenomenologists and generally with readers outside Poland. Not knowing, however, if (and if so, when) I’ll have to prepare for the colloquium, I don’t know if I’ll be able to undertake the translation of my dissertation into German – which in any case will necessarily take a great deal of time. As a result, I haven’t responded to Husserl yet, although many weeks have passed since his last letter to me and I ought to have responded to his proposal a long time ago.

            These are the reasons that have prompted me to initiate this polite inquiry. I believe you’ll agree with me that these reasons are quite important and that it’s not simple curiosity alone that prompts me to learn about the fate of my paper (and of myself). Moreover, consideration of the efforts I’d have to exert in order to obtain a few weeks’ holiday prior to the colloquium also plays a role here.

            I politely ask you not to think ill of me for taking the liberty of asking for a clarification or an early decision, rather than waiting patiently.

            Once again, I wish you all prosperity in the New Year and enclose expressions of the most profound esteem

                                                                                                               Roman Ingarden