Letter: Conrad and the Polish laureates

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Sir: I. I. Magdalen's admirable survey of modern Polish writing ('Men of letters hit by history', 16 October) lists three Nobel laureates in literature 'produced' by Poland (Sienkiewicz, I. B. Singer and Milosz) and adds she 'should have had four, had Conrad been honoured'.

This list excludes the novelist Wladyslaw Reymont, who was awarded a Nobel prize in 1924. On the debit side, the attribution to Poland of Isaac Bashevis Singer, whose Nobel award reflected recognition of his distinction as a Yiddish writer, is questionable. So too would be the claim concerning Joseph Conrad, notwithstanding recent assessments of his work which acknowledge the influence upon him not only of his native land, but also of his native


Yours sincerely,



18 October