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The Nobel Prize
A Bitter Irony

Writing to a close friend, Wojciech Morawski, on the day after learning that he has received the 1924 Nobel prize for literature, Reymont, a very sick man, reflects of the vagaries of fate.

"I am stunned by this unexpected event and by the circumstances surrounding its occurrence, so much so that it seems to he one of life's more bitter ironies. What good is all this to me. I am sick, I just had pneumonia. I walk from room to room with difficulty, I live in seclusion and on a severe diet. I have inwardly moved away from the world and its concerns. I dream of silence and the possibility of working calmly as the greatest happiness. Suddenly the great doors of fame have opened befi)re me. Unknown yesterday and disregarded even by my countrymen, today I have to assume the posture and visage of a fatuous person. Isn't it laughable. I have suddenly become the pride of my nation! My compatriots are yet ready to read my hooks. How suddenly, I have become interesting, outstanding, and beloved."

Because of Reymont's health, travel to Stockholm to accept the prize was out of the question. A little over a year later, Reymont's life came to a predictable end. Just two weeks before, he wrote to Morawski that he was more or less ready for the event. "Death is not terrible," he wrote. "what's terrible is life and the suffering."

Source: Remont w Ameryce: "Listy do Wojciecha Morawskiego". Leon Or³owski, P1W, Warszawa (1970), translated by Peter K. Gessner

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