To Kari (23 February 1941)

From Karl Polanyi
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Text in English to type

Bennington College … […]

Dear Kari, my dearest daughter - last night there was a party at the President's ostensibly to meet a trustee of fours (he happens to be editor of Harper's Magazine), bu actually to introduce mother to the faculty. You should have been there to see how they all secretly came up to me to congratulate me on mother, for they were utterly overwhelmed by her charm and intelligence and personality. She was precisely the opposite of everything they probably were afraid of, and under the circumstances, not quite without reason. […] …

We have come up here some six weeks ago, and it took us some time to start out (although we fitted ourselves within a few hours from Woolworth and then introduced the best tested Kingsview methods to cut things short). This is a huge apartement - taken for you too, darling - and we have the run of the house as w never had it, because there was never any room to run in the house. … […] Kingsview methods to cut things short). […]

So about four weeks ago I begun writing, and tomorrow I intend to go to New York to hand the Introduction and the first three chapters to the publishers. Curiously enough it is not a draft, but a finished text, ready for print. Of the many surprises the writings was connected with, this is one. When mother arrived, I had only an outline, in 25 chapters, appr. 20 000 words. I vaguely intended to amplify it and make it three times as long, before starting out to write the book. But hardly had I started out, I changed my mind and simply wrote the first chapter, which at once settled the book. For now I knew what I had not even suspected before, namely, the length, shape and character of the book. So, my darling, now I can tell you. It is going to be called LIBERAL UTOPIA, Origins of the Cataclysm. It will be a very straight forward, simple story, easy to read and mainly historical in character, recounting the history of the English enclosures, the Industrial Revolution, Speenhamland. But the two introductory chapters […]

Mother was the greatest help imaginable. She typed the fresh MS pages for me so that I could … [2] … illiteracies of Hogben and Bernal does not affect this proposition. I am sure that Bernal has never given half an hours study to the philosophic writings of Marx, and that the new fangled dialectical materialism of the Victorian period of Russian Revolution is all he knows about it. But for these crudities, all too easy to demolish, Misi would not be in the position to boost laissez-fair of the strenght of his refutation of Hogben and Bernal.

Your loving father.


Letter Informations

KPA: 59/02, 1-2