Letter to Władysław Tatarkiewicz written 24.11.1954

Rkp 1529


Cracow, 24/11/1954[O1]

      Dear Władysław,

                                  I’ve just received your card. I see that you haven’t received the letter I sent you before you left for Warsaw. I addressed it to the Surgical Clinic, without seeing that there are three different ones. Maybe you can ask them to look in other U.W. [University of Wrocław] clinics.

            The accident responsible for your present condition saddened us all. So much time needlessly wasted, yes, but no complications. However, the prospect of lying around until Christmas in solitude is not exactly delightful. It’s not out of the question that I may be in Wrocław before the holidays; in that case, of course, I’ll visit you.

            In Warsaw, I attended[O2]  the meeting. It was generally boring, because most of the meeting was devoted to plans for 1955 and 1956. Then there was a discussion about a possible change of name for the Library of Classics of Philosophy. The suggestion came from the Philosophy Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences, regarding which Tadeusz took the position that the decision was ours, whereas Kazio was of the opinion that the matter would be decided at the Polish Academy of Sciences. The prevailing opinion was that the existing name should be retained, with the potential introduction of a series, e.g. ‘Polish writers’. Kazimierz was of the opinion that operations should be extended to include contemporary philosophy, voicing the opinion that classes of philosophy constitute a history of human stupidity, deceiving himself that, if the range were extended to the nineteenth and to the end of the twentieth century, it would be possible to publish Mach, Poincaré, etc. In any case, the idea of extending the scope towards the present was supposedly put forward at the Polish Academy of Sciences by the president of the Philosophical Committee. Ultimately, however, if our opinion [O3] is of any significance, the name will remain what it has been until now.

            In addition, there was also a discussion about the translation of the term Erscheinung, because Critique is to be sent to the printer in mid-December. I presented the text of Critique (page 251 A) providing that it should be translated rather as przejaw [manifestation], pointing out, however, that if the Committee resolved to stay with zjawisko [phenomenon], I would accept this translation, adding only in the ‘Terminological Appendix’ (which is to be appended following the text) my idea of the translation of this term. The text that I read met with some success, since, whereas until that point everyone had been behind zjawisko [phenomenon], a number of voices were now raised asserting that the text I read calls for declarations in favour of przejaw [manifestation]. In the end, it was decided not to decide anything, but to leave the final decision to me. I must admit that the situation on the basis of which the book will be printed is not entirely in my hands. I was also extremely sorry that you weren’t there, as your opinion would have been very important to me. Because I promised to deliver a final decision in this matter by the 10th, I’d be extremely obliged if you’d be so good as to write to me with your opinion on this question. I don’t want to decide myself without your advice. It must be realised that if I use the term przejaw [manifestation] it will trigger an attack on me for allegedly falsifying Kant. I myself don’t regard przejaw [manifestation] as an ideal term. It has its major drawbacks, and its advantage is actually only that the very sense of the word encompasses a reference to that which constitutes the manifestation of a manifestation. But at the same time Kant’s przejaw [manifestation] (Erscheinung) is so crafted that, apart from the very existence of a thing in itself, nothing of itself is manifested, neither the substrate (das Manigfaltige, bzw. die Empfindungen [the manifold, or rather, the sensation]) nor the sensual form – time and space – nor, finally, does structuring by categories reflects any true moment of the thing in itself.

                         I’d be very grateful to you for a few lines regarding this matter, although I’m aware that, lying in bed without being able to move, you’re able to write only with difficulty. Anyway, my wife and I marvelled at the clarity of your handwriting.

Wishing you the most rapid return to health possible,
I’m sending cordial greetings and regards

                                                                                               /signature/ Your Roman


I’m reading Dufrenne in my spare time. This phenomenon is mysterious. Undoubtedly talented writing, and independently in terms of analyses[O4] . I could cite between ten and twenty places at least (so far I’ve read 290 of 677 pages) where he says things almost exactly like those I wrote in Das literarische Kunstwerk and in other things of mine, citing them very sparingly, and later, when he refers to the concepts of the four layers of a literary work, he offers a completely mistaken caricature. In many analyses he shows that the aesthetic object is not real (irréel), and at the same time he opposes the concept that it is an intentional object, not understanding in any case what it’s really all about. I should write an article about it and publish it there, but my hands are tied. In any case, my book lives on, 25 years after publication. I have at least that consolation.



[O1]Nazwa pliku: 1953. Tutaj: 1954.
[O2]Oryg: byłe, chyba byłem
[O3]Oryg: pinia nasza
[O4]Znaczenie oryginalnej niejasne