Letter to Władysław Tatarkiewicz written 09.12.1954

Rkp 1529

Cracow, 9/12/1954

            Dear Władysław!

                                  I was supposed to reply to your letter, for which I thank you very much, immediately, but I have so much urgent work now that I was unable to carry out my intention.

            Yesterday I was at the clinic to see Szuman, who mentioned to me that you’d written to him, mentioning, inter alia, that you couldn’t sleep. I think that this is, among other things, a matter of applying appropriate remedies which themselves do less harm than prolonged insomnia and the nervousness associated with it. In future, don’t you think it’d be a good idea to call in Dr Arend (currently a professor of neuroscience at Univ. Wrocław)? He’s a very sensible doctor, from whose advice I’ve often benefitted greatly myself. He’ll definitely consider the whole thing from a neurological point of view and find a remedy that will somehow influence the general conditions in which you find yourself. I suspect the surgeons are thinking first and foremost about your leg, and that they don’t know very much about the rest of you. Maybe a way can be found for Prof. Arend to come see you without offending the local ordinators [hospital executives]. If you consult Dr A., please tell him that I wrote to you about him and that you and I are friends. He’s from Lviv (used to be Damaszewicz’s assistant) and a Lviv ‘connection’ still always means something.

            Szuman had surgery three days ago already (a polyp in the oesophagus and some kind of old fistula); the operation came off successfully, with a good diagnosis (cancer was excluded). Not only that, but Szuman looks good and is in a good state of mind. The surgery was performed under anaesthesia, but without any harm to the heart.

             I’m still sitting on the Leibniz corrections (Iza’s translation; I already have 2/3, but there are still 200 pages to be done); it’s an enormous burden, but I’m willing to do it for Iza, because it’s still possible to remove a series of imperfections. The translation is not good in any case, and that’s why it’s important to me to get rid of these trifles.

            Nota bene: Spinoza’s Ethics has now come out. I put 5 months into this book, after my daily hours of work, and hundreds of my corrections went into the text; however, the translator didn’t want to accept a great many very essential things and left his translation as it was: incompatible with the text. That’s now his affair. But I don’t consider it right that nowhere in the book is there any trace of the work I did on it. The translator could at least mumble in passing that he didn’t accept my suggestions – at least that way there’d be a hint that I worked on it. Anyway, I don’t know whether, in essence, our work is supposed to be completely limited to the committee. I also did a great deal of work on the translations published by the Polish Academy of Sciences ‒ (especially on Brończyk’s) Condillac and Piotrowicz’s Aristotle, but I was publishing them myself then and considered that I could permit myself not to mention my contribution. Now, though, various higher-ups are exploiting my work, which they shouldn’t be covering up so disgracefully. But never mind.

            In closing, I wish you a quick end to this ordeal and hope that in the nearest future you’ll be able to lie down without traction. Maybe they’ll finally put on a plaster cast and the plaster alone will suffice. Then you’d be able to sit and stand.

            Whether I’ll manage to come to Wroclaw before Christmas … I don’t know. I wanted to give a lecture about proximate causation there, but first I have to finish reading Max Born’s Natural Philosophy of Cause and Chance.

                                                                   Cordial greetings,

                                                                                               /signature/ Your Roman


[note in the margin]
Has my daughter-in-law been to visit you?