Letter to Kazimierz Twardowski written 14.06.1924
Toruń, Mickiewicza 115
Most Honourable Professor!
I’ve just read the summary you wrote of my dissertation ‒ and am absolutely delighted with it. Although I never had any doubt that any summary you wrote would be very good, I didn’t expect that my dissertation ‒ which bore, despite my efforts, signs of clumsiness and opacity ‒ would be so beautified by your report. Not only is the summary completely faithful (with the exception of only a few trifles ‒), and successful in fully representing my intentions, but it is also tremendously clear and transparently reflects the structure of the work, and even improving it through, for example, shifting the matter of the question ‘What is x?’ to the end of the dissertation. The entire summary is marked by what Husserl, in a conversation with me about your dissertations, once called ‘diese fabelhafte klarheit’ [German: this fabulous clarity].
Thus, I am fervently grateful to you with my whole heart for producing this summary, especially since the very fact of writing it must be considered not only as a sign of your extraordinary kindness of to me, but ‒ considering your overload of work and obligations ‒ of great dedication! The more so given that the dissertation is of considerable length, raises difficult issues, and, despite my efforts, is not as clearly and deftly written as it should be. This is a significant overall flaw in my work which I’m trying to avoid, and I’m making all possible efforts in this regard ‒ but I have the impression that avoiding it completely is also a matter of talent, which I lack. Therefore, I don’t doubt that I’d be unable to write a summary like the one I read today.
However, this is linked to the issue of literary property. On the text sent to me, there is no indication anywhere that it’s your work. I don’t know what your principles are in this matter. However, I’d be very grateful to you ‒ (and if I knew that it wasn’t in contradiction with your views, I’d politely ask for it!) ‒ if you wouldn’t mind signing this summary, or even indicating in a note that it’s the work of your pen. According to my views, this is really intrinsically understandable and it was a kind of a surprise for me to find that it wasn’t indicated in the summary. But ‒ as I say ‒ without knowing your principles, I wouldn’t care to influence your decision here, although I hope that my views do not stand in contradiction to yours.
I’ll send the text of the summary tomorrow morning. I’m enclosing the text of the proposed changes ‒ indeed very few. Several of them, it seems to me, are due to printing errors. Because, however, the passages in question are not ‒ as they generally are with printing errors ‒ deprived of all sense and thus might possibly be overlooked, I’ve taken the liberty of calling your attention to them.
According to your wishes, I took no account of printing errors that are visible at a glance. I took the liberty only of – with the aim of facilitating orientation (since counting lines would be too tedious for you) – lightly marking the places I mean in pencil (Arabic numerals, to which the analogous numbers in my text refer).
I thank you very much for both of the letters I received recently from you. Also, the likely date of 25/6 suits me very well. The secondary school takes up so much of my time that the shift to 25/6 is very favourable for me.
Once again, I thank you most cordially for everything, and enclose expressions of my most profound esteem and respect
Would it be possible ‒ at my expense, of course ‒ to obtain a certain number of offprints of the summary? I’m going to receive only 10 copies of my dissertation, which of course are very few, especially since I’ll have to send some to Germany.