Letter to Władysław Tatarkiewicz written 08.02.1962

Cracow, 8 February 1962

Dear Władysław,

                       thank you for your letter, received today, and above all I cordially thank you for deciding to read Makota’s work prior to your departure. I don’t think it’ll give you much trouble, as it’s written simply and clearly, and I also think that the author is right in many of her critical remarks. Of course, it’s still quite raw, not very inventive, but taking everything as a whole, it’s not a bad doctoral dissertation. The other review is supposed to be written (and maybe is already being written) by Łobaczewska. ‒ She just told me on the phone that she’s already read part of the work and that the defence can take place after the Szymanowski celebrations. Thus if your review were to be prior to your departure, the defence could probably take place in conjunction with a reading of your review, so that the Makota matter would be settled before the summer holidays.

            Gałecki’s situation, however, is unfortunate. Ossowski was supposed to replace Morawski, not you. In view of his refusal to write a review, and given his promise to take part in the habilitation itself, what is lacking above all is a third review. I just spoke to Łobaczewska, who was reading the work, but she told me that given the state her health, which is still not the best, and her need to catch up on the backlog of master’s theses from the period of her illness, she’s unable to write a review for Gałecki. To salvage the situation, there’s still Iza Dąmbska, who, however, would obviously need to have time to write the review, assuming she agrees to write it at all. Unfortunately, she’s not in Cracow. If we had the review, then it’d still be possible to arrange a meeting to accept the paper, but evidently Gałecki’s colloquium can take place only in October. He’s very unlucky, all because of the antagonism of Wallis and Ossowski, who don’t want to comprehend the situation. I see from this that it’ll now be necessary to force the question of printing his paper, which also creates problems. Gałecki had a certain promise from Wydawnictwo Literackie [Literary Press] in Cracow, but I don’t know whether they’ll ultimately decide to do it, as it exceeds the scope of their publications as well as of their authority. If they can’t manage it, that leaves only Polish Scientific Publishers. But there, I’m afraid, Krońska, who neither likes nor appreciates Gałecki, will create difficulties. At Ossolineum it wouldn’t be easy, because there again, the Marxists will make it impossible to print this paper. Meanwhile, I’ve read his paper for the second time now and, while I agree that it is awkwardly written in clerical language, it is nevertheless a valuable paper. Of course, I have various substantive objections, which I included in my review; nonetheless, I think that this is one of the best papers that I’ve read in recent years in this field. I believe that, had he written it in German, he’d be able to print it without any difficulty. And he certainly would’ve written it better in German than in Polish.

            I’m glad that you’re going and that you’ll see a bit of a different world, but I’m worried for the many reasons I’ve already written about, and also because Gołaszewska’s paper (‘Filozoficzne podstawy krytyki literackiej’ [The philosophical foundations of literary criticism], well written and substantively good) is ready, and I once hoped that you’d be one of the ‘foreign’ reviewers; in view of your departure, the matter will probably fall through. I don’t even know who we’ll ask now. We’re going to ask Markiewicz, but he’s from the same university, so he doesn’t count. That still leaves Elzenberg, but will he want to? Apart from that, Konrad Górski and Julian Krzyżanowski might enter the picture, but their philosophical backgrounds are rather modest.

            Such are the problems. I lost more than two weeks of time on reviews for Gałecki. Now I’ve got to read that Gordon: well over three hundred pages of philosophical primitiveness.

            I’m heading to Warsaw on the 17th; I’ll stay until Sunday, then I’m coming back, because I have lectures on Monday and I can’t get out of them. In any case, I hope we’ll see each other.

                                   Cordial greetings

                                                                       Your Roman


Niemeyer again proposed to publish Spór [Dispute]. Can a decision be made? I didn’t get on very well with Polish Scientific Publishers. In any case, there’s no chance that they’ll publish it the way he can. As well, a representative of some kind from Germany was here two days ago, but I turned him down, citing my relationship with Niemeyer.