March 3, 1938, Thursday

(A) Drohobych. Bruno Schulz writes a letter to Marian Kister asking him to send the outstanding part of the fee for Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass.

(B) Drohobych. Bruno Schulz writes a letter to Romana Halpern and he shows concern about her state of mind and considers issues related to the trip to Paris. 

(A) The letter has not survived. We only know about it from a mention in a letter to Romana Halpern, written by Schulz on the same day. According to the contract concluded with Rój* on January 23, 1937, Kister*, after publishing Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass* (which happened in November) should pay Schulz the second half of the fee due in monthly instalments: a total of at least 750 zlotys1. (sr) (transl. mw

(B) In a later letter to Romana Halpern, Schulz is concerned about the lack of her response. He is afraid that her state of mind may be similar to his present state of mind, which is as follows: “After a few fairly good months, I have fallen down. I am so upset and so unbalanced that I cannot bring myself to write the most urgent letter. I feel sorry for my lost, stupidly wasted youth: there is a fever, anxiety and panic of ‘closing the gate’ in me”2.

Referring to some earlier exchange of views on a possible departure, he writes: “Nothing so far about my trip to Paris”3. The reason he gives is the lack of payment of the second part of the fee for Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. This sum, probably exceeding 750 zlotys, was to be used as a travel fund. Schulz submitted the finished book to Rój in January 1937. It was printed in November, so, according to the contract, he should receive the entire fee in three equal monthly instalments by the end of February of the following year. Meanwhile, in a letter to a friend, he complains: “Kister is not sending me money”4 and adds that he has just written a reminder to him on this matter.

In a letter to Halpern, he also notes the enthusiastic “sounds of the press” in Lviv about Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass* that reached him. “I don’t read Warsaw newspapers”5, he declares. Finally, he mentions a recent meeting with Natan Spiegel, who encouraged him to go to Paris. (sr) (transl. mw

See also: about the correspondence with Halpern – August 16, 1936, September 19, 1936, September 30, 1936, October 1936, [beginning of November 1936], November 15, 1936, November 29, 1936, December 5, 1936, April 30, 1937, July 24, 1937, August 3, 1937, August 16, 1937, [between August 20 and August 26, 1937], August 30, 1937, September 29, 1937, October 13, 1937, November 16, 1937, January 12, 1938, January 18, 1938, January 23, 1938, February 6, 1938, [about mid-February 1938], February 21, 1938, March 10, 1938, March 20, 1938, March 31, 1938, April 17, 1938, May 15, 1938, May 19, 1938, May 28, 1938, June 8, 1938, [after June 12, 1938], 23 June 1938, July 12, 1938, August 29, 1938, October 13, 1938, October 29, 1938, December 26, 1938, January 21, 1939, [June 1939]. (bt) (transl. mw

  • 1
    It may be suspected that the book price calculated provisionally by the publisher was lower than the final actual price. The second part of the fee, which Schulz eagerly awaited, was therefore greater than simple arithmetic would suggest.
  • 2
    Letter from Bruno Schulz to Romana Halpern dated March 3, 1938, [in:] Bruno Schulz, Dzieła zebrane, volume 5: Księga listów, zebrał i przygotował do druku Jerzy Ficowski, uzupełnił Stanisław Danecki, Gdańsk 2016, p. 168.
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