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To Whom It Definitely Concerns

I met Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz five or six years before the Second World War. I was then a student, and Witkiewicz sometimes dropped by as a guest to the seminars given by the Philosophy Department of Warsaw University. I knew his two novels and some of his plays that had been published in magazines or were circulating in manuscript copies. I saw many of his paintings; Witkacy (the name he created for himself from the first part of his last name and the last part of his middle name) was very popular as a painter. He was making portraits at a low price, and he often gave them away free of charge. Later on I met some of his personal friends, or rather his “ex-” friends; Witkacy called them his “ideological enemies.” He had the practice of keeping a numbered list of his acquaintances, and whenever he lowered the position of one of them, he would inform him about it with an “official” letter.

—Jan Kott, introduction to The Madman and the Nun and the Crazy Locomotive, by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz

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