Zbigniew Herbert papers
Scope and Contents
The Zbigniew Herbert Papers consist of letters, manuscripts, and personal papers documenting the life and work of Zbigniew Herbert. The collection spans the years 1968-1989, with the bulk of the material dating from 1985-1989.
The collection is housed in 3 boxes and organized into three series: Correspondence, Writings, and Other Papers. Box 3 contains Restricted Fragile Papers.
Series I, Correspondence , consists of incoming letters from over 30 correspondents, as well as a number of outgoing items, including a series of postcards from the poet to his wife. The majority of the correspondence is in Polish, but there is material in German, English, French, and Italian in the collection. All but one of the letters were written between the years 1985 and 1989.
The correspondence allows a glimpse of the poet's private and professional life, as it comprises messages from publishers, translators, fellow writers, and friends. These include the Polish painter and writer Jozef Czapski, as well as the poet's translator into Serbo-Croatian, Petar Vujicic.
The Czapski file includes an outgoing message, several handwritten notes, and seven typed letters in which the 90-year-old painter shares his opinions and feelings on issues of poetry, art, politics, Polish history, and morality.
The Petar Vujicic file contains only two letters, but they appear to provide the context to a poem Herbert dedicated to his Yugoslavian translator. Vujicic writes about the importance of Herbert's poetry in his country, explains his choices for a Herbert anthology, and draws a parallel between the political situations in Poland and Yugoslavia.
Other noteworthy correspondents represented in the collection include Konstanty Jelenski, the literary critic and historian Jacek Trznadel, the poets Adam Zagajewski and Stanislaw Baranczak, and writers at the American Center of P.E.N.
Series II, Writings , includes notes, holograph and typescript drafts, and copies of final versions of four poems from the collection Elegia na Odejscie (1990) and five essays from the collection Martwa Natura z Wedzidlem (1993). The series is subdivided into autobiographical writings, essays, and poems, with individual essays and poems arranged alphabetically by title. The materials illustrate Herbert's writing and editing methods. Manuscripts are often represented by notes and multiple drafts, and manuscript leaves often appear on the versos of correspondence and documentation. Where multiple drafts are present, they are arranged chronologically. Where leaves appear on the versos of correspondence from individuals or institutions with established name headings, cross-references have been added to the finding aid from the correspondence to the writings.
Series III, Other Papers , includes addresses and a list of names.
Restricted Fragile Papers are housed in box 3.
Language of Materials
Chiefly in Polish; some materials in German, English, French and Italian.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Box 3: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.
Conditions Governing Use
The Zbigniew Herbert Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Zbigniew Herbert Papers were acquired by purchase in 1989 on the Library Associates Fund.
0.84 Linear Feet (3 boxes)
The collection consists chiefly of correspondence and writings relating to Zbigniew Herbert from 1968-1989. There is personal and professional correspondence with Polish literary and cultural figures, publishers, translators and scholars. Noteworthy correspondents include Stanislaw Baranczak, Jozef Czapski, Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski, Konstanty Jelenski, Alina Kalczynska, Susan Sontag, Jacek Trznadel, Petar Vujicic and Adam Zagajewski. Writings include holograph and typescript drafts of essays and poems in the collections Martwa natura z wedzidlem and Elegia na odejscie respectively.
Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998)
Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998) was a Polish poet and writer whose work has been extensively translated. He was born in Lwow, Poland, and after the war earned degrees in economics, philosophy, and law. His first book of poetry, Struna Swiatla (Chord of Light), was published in 1956. Other collections include Hermes, Pies i Gwiazda (Hermes, a Dog and a Star), Studium Przedmiotu (A Study of the Object), Pan Cogito (Mr. Cogito), Raport z Oblezonego Miasta (Report from the Besieged City), Elegia na Odejscie (Elegy for the Departed), and Martwa Natura z Wedzidlem (Still Life with a Bridle). Zbigniew Herbert was survived by his wife Katarzyna Herbert.
Biographical information taken from the online Gale Biography Resource Center.
This material was formerly classed as Uncat MS Vault 552.
- Authors, Polish -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Barańczak, Stanisław, 1946-2014
- Czapski, Józef, 1896-1993
- European literature -- 20th Century
- Herbert, Zbigniew, 1924-1998
- Herling-Grudziński, Gustaw, 1919-2000
- Jeleński, Konstanty A. (Konstanty Aleksander), 1922-1987
- Kalczyńska, Alina, 1936-
- Polish literature -- 20th Century
- Sontag, Susan, 1933-2004
- Trznadel, Jacek
- Vujic̆ić, Petar
- Zagajewski, Adam, 1945-
- Guide to the Zbigniew Herbert Papers
- Under Revision
- by Michael L. Forstrom and Olga Lopusiewicz
- March 2005
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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