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Zdzisław Najder and Hans van Marle

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 March 2024

Jolanta Dudek
Affiliation:
Jagiellonian University, Krakow
Andrzej Juszczyk
Affiliation:
Jagiellonian University, Krakow
Joanna Skolik
Affiliation:
Uniwersytet Opolski
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Summary

The Hans van Marle Collection, catalogued in Special Collections at Senate House Library, University of London, preserves the letters and papers of Hans van Marle, including his extensive correspondence with Zdzisław and Halina Najder over a period of forty years. The letters to and from the Najders fill twenty-three archive folders and represent the second-largest correspondence in the collection, exceeded only by Hans's epistolary exchanges with John Stape. The correspondence with the Najders covers a multitude of Conradian subjects and many other topics, and provides a unique and permanent record of a remarkable and warm friendship.

When Hans realized in the summer of 2001 that he would not be leaving the hospital, his wish was that his friend Zdziś should have the first choice of any books or materials from his collection that he might find useful. I well remember how the Najders made a special detour to Amsterdam on their return from France back to Poland, stopping their car in front of Hans's house on the Weteringschans and filling every available nook and cranny in the vehicle with Hans's (thoroughly annotated!) copies of Conrad journals and periodicals destined for the library of the new Joseph Conrad Study Centre that would open that December at the University of Opole.

A selection from Hans's letters (including eight letters to Najder) was published in 2005 as a special issue of The Conradian (vol. 30, no. 2) entitled A Joseph Conrad Archive: The Letters and Papers of Hans van Marle. Finally, in December 2009, thanks to the unflinching help and support of the Joseph Conrad Society (UK), the library of the Polish Social and Cultural Centre (POSK) in Hammersmith, and the library staff at Senate House, the remainder of Hans's archive—enough to fill twenty-three archive boxes—was catalogued and delivered to Special Collections in the massive tower just behind the British Museum where Hans and I had enjoyed doing research, especially in the (then) open periodical stacks. A detailed catalogue of the Hans van Marle Collection (MS1169) is available online at: https:// archives.libraries.london.ac.uk/resources/MS1169.pdf.

The Archivist at Senate House Library, Richard Temple, has told me that the Hans van Marle Collection is one of their largest and most frequently consulted collections, which bodes well for its future preservation.

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Publisher: Jagiellonian University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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