Letter to Jaromír John (1946)

Plzeň, 16 Jul. 1946
My Dear Friend,
I don’t know if I should just congratulate you on joining the faculty of Olomouc University, or if it wouldn’t be more appropriate to congratulate the faculty, the university itself, since a scholar is joining it that is as wise as he is vibrant. This is a rare combination in people, those chosen by culture to give away the best. I sincerely hope to hear that you like Olomouc, that you enjoy your new job as much as any that life has had in store for you. I am sure that you will maintain your beautiful spiritual outlook among your young and very young university colleagues. After all, I consider chancellor J. L. Fischer to be a philosophically balanced scholar, with whom those with adequate life experience will get along.
It is in literature that those more advanced in years will be worse off with the young and youngest generation. And not just those who are older: even those not yet encumbered with middle age, as seen in the case of V. Černý, though he is a collector of hostilities, a bit like Šalda. It won’t be so bad if Černý is thoroughly
immersed in the hustle and bustle of polemical debate, as can be expected. I myself remain calm in anticipation of the future riffs and arguments between generations (and within them); my main concerns extend far beyond the horizon of the living space that is still more or less in our hands. But this actually has almost nothing to do with literature.
I don’t fully understand the first sentence of your lovely letter, i.e. – I probably wouldn’t dare to properly realize its meaning. You nearly startled me by hinting at a matter that I consider to be purely phantomatic, if not quite “not here nor there and imperceptible”, to comment on the approximate use of expressions from the stock of our Halas. Even so, rest assured that I feel very honoured by the evidence of your precious empathy; I feel that I would not like to, even in the slightest, remain a debtor to you in this aspect.
It is a pity that I won’t get to eastern Bohemia this year to disrupt you in your Slatiňany for at least a while. Though I’m on holiday, I’m staying put in Plzeň,
save for a short trip. I have taken on tasks and will be consumed with them for the remainder of my holiday. Then all I have left is to look forward to a good opportunity of a different nature. Am really looking forward to it!
Very best wishes,
B. Polan
Subject: In the network
Author: Polan, Bohumil
Title: Letter to Jaromír John (1946)
Licence: Free license

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