Acta Structuralica

international journal for structuralist research

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The correspondence of Mihai Pop & Roman Jakobson

edited byRucsandra Pop

pp. 12

The correspondence of Mihai Pop & Roman Jakobson Archiving of XML in sdvig press database Open Commons December 17, 2019, 4:57 pm ( )

Editors notes:

1The Roman Jakobson Papers hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Institute Archives and Special Collections) contain 9 letters sent by Mihai Pop to Roman Jakobson and 7 letters sent by the Russian linguist to the Romanian scholar between 1957 and 1971. Most probably, this is just a fraction of the correspondence exchanged by the two intellectuals throughout their lives, but their content is relevant for their relationship.

2As the letters are in English, a language that Mihai Pop only learned in 1964 when he visited USA for the first time as a fellow of Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, we edited his letters, with the purpose of offering to the readers a better experience. We tried to be faithfull to the original text. In some of the cases we only changed the word order for a more correct grammar form. We marked in italics the words which were edited.

I. Pop to Jakobson

MINISTERUL CULTURII
INSTITUTUL DE FOLCLOR
str. Nikos Beloiannis nr. 25
București

Prof. Roman Jakobson
The Harvard University
CAMBRIDGE – MASSACHUSSETS
Holyoke 29

Dear Mr. Jakobson,

3Professor Emil Petrovici, who had the pleasure to meet you in Prague, told me a great deal about the interesting discussions you had. It reminded me, not without nostalgia, of our philological club in Prague and of linguistics that I gave up for folklore.

4I send you under separate cover the “Revista de Folclor”, published by the Romanian Folklore Institute, which appears under my editorship.

5If I am not mistaken, Mrs. Jakobson took great interest in folklore and I hope the magazine will please her. Moreover if she is interested in Romanian Folklore, which has many similarities with the folklore of the neighboring Slavonic people, I should be glad to send her some more publications of our Institute and to establish in this way permanent exchange between us.

6I hope that the Congress of Slavistics1 which will take place next year will be a happy opportunity for me to meet you again after so many years.

Yours, very sincerely,

Mihai Pop

II. Jakobson to Pop

November 7, 1957

Mr. Mihai Pop
Str. Nikos Beloiannis 25
Institutul de Folclor
Ministerul Culturii, Bucharest, Romania

Dear Mr. Pop:

7Many thanks for your letter and for the extremely interesting “Revista de Folclor.” Mrs. Jakobson who is very interested in Romanian folklore will be delighted to stay in permanent contact with the Romanian Folklore Institute and to receive its publications. In a few days, we shall send you some of our studies. I am looking forward to seeing you at the prospective Congress of Slavicists.

8With best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Roman Jakobson

III. Pop to Jakobson

MINISTERUL CULTURII
INSTITUTUL DE FOLCLOR
str. Nikos Beloiannis nr. 25

București 17.XI.1958

Dear Mr. Jakobson,

9I have pleasure in sending you five photographs taken at COȘ during your lecture on mathematical linguistics.

10We shall never forget your visit in Bucharest. Your lecture roused great interest among our specialists and students. They are still fervently discussing the principles set forth in your lecture.

11I hope Mrs. Jakobson was satisfied with the documentary material I sent her. If further information is necessary I am always at her disposal.

12Please remember me kindly to Mrs. Jakobson.

Sincerely yours,

Mihai Pop

IV. Jakobson to Pop

December 12, 1958

Professor M. Pop
Str. N. Beloiannis nr. 25
Institutul de Folclor
Bucuresti, Rumania

Dear Professor Pop:

13Many thanks for the nice photographs and for your warm and pleasant letter. Both Mrs. Jakobson and I are very grateful to your for the most valuable folklore material. I shall quote you and use all your material on peperuda2 in my planned monograph Slavic Gods and Demons. I hope to write you soon quite concretely about your beautiful ethnographic film. I was glad to observe when talking about my very pleasant Romanian cultural experiences with the people of the American foundations and at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that the problem of exchanging older and young scholars and scholarly publications meets with full understanding. I hope that much will be done for the development of cultural relations which I had the pleasure to discuss with Minister Joja.

14I often think about the beautiful days which I spent in your country and once more I heartily thank Mrs. Pop and you for your splendid hospitality and wish you both a happy and fruitful New Year. Many thanks for the new issue of your journal with your very interesting article on buka-muka. I hope that you received both my semi-folkloristic study “Medieval Mock Mystery” and the English version of Propp’s Morphology of the Fairy Tale which I sent you in November.

Yours sincerely,

Roman Jakobson

V. Pop to Jakobson

MINISTERUL ÎNVĂȚĂMÂNTULUI ȘI CULTURII
INSTITUTUL DE FOLCLOR
Str. N. Beloiannis 25

București, 12/V/1959

Prof. Roman Jakobson
Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences

Dear Professor Jakobson,

15I thank you heartily for your excellent work: Medieval Mock Mystery and for Propp’s Morphology of the Fairy Tale which you were so kind to send me. Their lecture was of particular interest for me and my colleagues of the Institute.

16I have informed Minister Joja about the reference you made in one of your letters to the possibility of establishing an exchange of scholars and scholarly publications. Minister Joja was pleased to learn that this problem meets full understanding in your country.

17I have also contacted the competent authorities in the problem of forwarding a copy of our ethnographic film to the Peabody Museum3, and I shall inform you as soon as possible of the way the film will be sent to you and the exact amount to be paid for it.

18We are now extremely busy with the local organization of the 12th IFMC Conference which will take place, as you are probably informed, from 12 to 17 August, at Sinaia. I was therefore glad to learn your intention to visit Poland in August hoping that you or your wife might be able to attend the proceedings of this Conference. Many specialists from all over the world have already expressed their wish to participate to the 12th Conference. Last year, at Moscow, I spoke to Mrs. Jakobson about this Conference but she doubted that she would be able to attend it. Perhaps she has changed her intentions meanwhile. We shall be happy to welcome you and your wife in our country.

19You wrote me about the interesting problems you are presently discussing with several distinguished American and English anthropologists. Will the papers read at the symposium be printed? As you presume I shall be particularly glad to have the opportunity to read some of these papers concerning myths and ritual.

20I am looking forward to receiving the promised new reprints.

21Hoping to hear from you in the near future, I remain,

Yours, most sincerely,

Mihai Pop

VI. Jakobson to Pop

Boylston Hall 301

4 March 1960

Professor M. Pop
Institutul de Folclor
Str. N. Beloiannis 25
Bucuresti

Dear Professor Pop,

22From the letter I have just received from Minister George Macovescu, I was happy to learn that the film “Calusul” will be sent to us in about a month. I am sure this film will be a genuine scholarly success when shown in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. At a very pleasant afternoon I spent in Macovescu’s house, I was glad to see his very favorable attitude to your work and to the possibility of your acquaintance with the Center for Behavioral Sciences. I wait, however, for an answer from the President of the Romanian Academy on similar problems, before taking new steps.

23Are you still considering Swata's visit for a study of Rumanian folklore? If so, it is recommendable to send her an invitation in the nearest future because a number of preliminary steps are involved. As for her, she is ready and happy to go.

24With warmest wishes for this year from both of us to both of your,

Yours cordially,

Roman Jakobson

VII. Pop to Jakobson

MINISTERUL ÎNVĂȚĂMÂNTULUI ȘI CULTURII
INSTITUTUL DE FOLCLOR
Str. Nikos Belioannis Nr. 25
Tel. {12.03.36 {11.08.18

București March 7th 1960

Mr. ROMAN JAKOBSON
Harvard University
Holyoke, 29
Cambridge 38, Massachusetts

Dear professor Jakobson,

25I have recently received Mr. Wasson’s wonderful work on mushrooms and I thank you most kindly for your efficient intervention.

26The work is indeed of an exceptional scientific and artistic interest. I shall try, in return to send him a valuable material concerning the problem Mr. Wasson is interested in.

27I was very pleased to receive, two weeks ago, a letter signed by the director of the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences, Mr. Ralph W. Tyler. I shall be in a position to send a reply to this letter, very soon.

28The ethnographical film “Calusul” will be at last sent to you. The copy of the film (with an English commentary) is almost ready. The film will be sent, according to your suggestion, to the cultural attaché of our Legation in Washington.

29Mrs. Mayenova wrote me a new letter in connection with the Warsaw Conference. I have started working hard on my paper which is to be presented at this Conference.

30No news came from Mrs. Pomorska. If she is still in Washington, please remember me kindly to her. I am grateful for the interesting books she sent me.

31Please remember me kindly to Mrs. Jakobson too.

32I am looking forward to meet you in Warsaw, this year.

33Hoping to hear from you in a very near future, I remain,

Sincerly yours,

Mihai Pop

VIII. Pop to Jakobson

MINISTERUL ÎNVĂȚĂMÂNTULUI ȘI CULTURII
INSTITUTUL DE FOLCLOR
Str. Nikos Belioannis Nr. 25
Tel. {12.03.36 {11.08.18

București June 22 1960

Prof. Jakobson Roman
Harvard University
CAMBRIDGE, Mass

Dear Professor Jakobson,

34I am so glad to announce you that Mrs Jakobson's visit to Romania has at last been arranged. I have already sent her an official invitation through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

35Perhaps Mrs. Jakobson is willing to come in Bucharest immediately after the Congress of Anthropology or later on in autumn. We would like to be informed as soon as possible of her intentions in order to make all the necessary preparations for her visit. We shall also be happy to make Mrs Jakobson acquainted with our activity at the Institute, our collections and rich folk tradition.

36Professor Rosetti informed me about your plans for this summer and I do hope that we shall meet in Warsaw, in August. Except for this period (1-10 of August) I shall not leave Bucharest.

37I am looking forward to your visit as a new opportunity of interesting and passionate discussions and, I presume, of long walks throughout the country.

38Waiting for your answer, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Prof. M. Pop

IX. Jakobson to Pop

February 13, 1964

Professor M. Pop
Caragea Vode 1
Bucuresti, Rumania

Dear Professor Pop:

39May I ask you, as a member of the International Committee for the organization of the Anthropological Congress in Moscow, to accelerate the answer of the Moscow Committee to my proposal of a paper at this Congress on the role of linguistic evidence in comparative mythology, which you were so kind to forward them. Thus far I have heard nothing from the Committee. I shall be most grateful to you for informing me on this matter because I must take all the necessary steps in order to attend the Congress.

40I hope very much to see you both there and afterward.

With best wishes,
Yours sincerely,

Roman Jakobson

X. Jakobson to Pop

Professor Mihai Pop
Caragea Vode 1
Bucarest
Rumania

June 17, 1964

Dear Professor Pop:

41I corresponded with Stanford and found out that the postponement of your invitation would create serious complications, because the lists of Fellows for later terms are already closed. May I suggest that you do your utmost and come in the autumn to Stanford. Please write me.

42Looking forward to meeting you in Moscow,

Yours sincerely,

Roman Jakobson

XI. Pop to Jakobson

ACADEMIA R.P.R
INSTITUTUL DE ETNOGRAFIE ȘI FOLCLOR
Str. Nikos Beloiannis nr. 25
Telefon: 15.59.00 – 15.73.80

București 11th January 1966

Prof. Roman Jakobson
Slavic Department
Harvard University
Boylston Hall 301
Cambridge, Mass

Dear Professor Jakobson,

43I have no news if you have received the letter which I wrote in the plane while I was passing through Vienne on my way to Brussels and Paris. I hope that you got it and I don't intend to repeat what I already wrote.

44Many things have happened since them. To begin with, in Paris I had the great pleasure to meet professor Lévi-Strauss who told me that you have met and that you had the great kindness and spoke to him about myself. The meeting was very important for me and the lecture I delivered was presented by Lévi-Strauss himself. I hope that thanks to you I have established a good relation with his Center and with the Center for Mass Communication of Rol. Barthes. I attained all this only thanks to you.

45I came back from the States and from Paris loaded with a heap of works concerning the Structural Studies of poetry and I have resumed together with prof. Rosetti and with our young friends the activity of the Circle of Poetics. I may tell you that the things are running smoothly. We have under print a first volume and have prepared a special number of the Revista de etnografie și folclor, the number 2/1966 dedicated to the structural inquire of the folk poetry and are preparing another volume, the second, with studies. I contacted prof. Lotman from Tartu who sent me his work, a very interesting one. Therefore there is a great effervescence concerning the study of the structural poetics with frequent discussions that become more interesting each day. The young people we are working with and of whom you already know a great part, are becoming each day better and none of our meetings goes by without mentioning your name and this not only as a strict scientifical quotation, but with all the value and all the love with which only a guiding personality is referred to.

46Another very moving moment was at the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of prof. Rosetti, in the great hall of the Academy, when in his allocution he mentioned your name together with those of Antoine Meillet and Wigo Bröndal, as that of one of the most brilliant guides of the contemporary linguistics, among those who have contributed to his formation and to directing his scientific activity.

47Now and then I receive some news from Stanford, from Ralph Tyler and Preston and from some of the colleagues I met there, each news I receive enhancing my nostalgia for the delightful days I spent in California.

48Here, in my home, together with my wife, we are often thinking with our hearts and souls to you and Christina, represented by all the beautiful things she helped me to choose, and also at the beautiful fall days you spent in Bucharest. We do wish to see you here again.

49This is all for today. I am greedy to know if the volume about the Slavic Epic is already issued.

50Please to forward my best regards to Christina and those of my wife too, and for you my most friendly sentiments.

Mihai Pop

XII. Pop to Jakobson

COMITETUL DE STAT PENTRU CULTURĂ ȘI ARTĂ
INSTITUTUL DE ETNOGRAFIE ȘI FOLCLOR
Str. Nikos Beloiannis nr. 25
Telefon: 15.59.00 – 15.73.80

București February 10, 1971

Prof. Roman Jakobson
Boylston Hall 301
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass 02138

Dear Professor Jakobson,

51I was so glad to receive your letter after such a long time when I had no news from you. The problem of the Institute of Semiotics in Urbino is really not so clear to me and I am also without any further news after a first dialogue from Mr. Greimas.

52But I can tell you that the Romanian semiotics has evolved in a promising way. A Laboratory for Semiotics was founded at the University of Bucharest and started this autumn with a Symposium concerning the semiotics and the problem of education. Since then we had regular work session each week. The interest is very big among the young linguists and folklorists as well as among other youngsters who deal with literary researches.

53Sanda Golopenția who was for a year in Paris and for another in The States will help us a lot in this direction. We are now interested in organizing eventually this fall, a Symposium with international participation. We will tell you if we will succeed to organize it and perhaps we will have the pleasure to have you with us then.

54Please receive my warm thanks for the interesting study for the Hommage to Shirô Hattori and for the volume "Tönnies Fenne's Low" which I just received.

55Please forward my best regards to Mrs. Jakobson and from my wife and myself and accept our heartiest wishes for happiness.

Prof. Mihai Pop

XIII. Pop to Jakobson

S.I.E.F.
SOCIÉTÉ INTERNATIONALE D’ETHNOLOGIE ET DE FOLKLORE
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR ETHNOLOGY AND FOLKLORE
INTERNATIONALE GESELLSCHAFT FUR ETHNOLOGIE UND VOLKSKUNDE
Professor Roman Jakobson
SECRÉTARIAT GÉNÉRAL

Bucharest le September 16, 1971

Dear Professor Jakobson,

56Please excuse me if I didn’t answer immediately to your letter but I wanted to give an affirmative answer to your proposal. I submitted this proposal to our Ministry of Education as the Romanian semiotic activity conducted here by a Semiotic Laboratoire at the University of Bucharest. The Ministry received favorably the request so that we can consider as our officials virtually accepted that the First International Congress of Semiotics should be held in Bucharest in 1973. I’m taking now all necessary steps in order to make sure that what was accepted in principle will happen.

57I deeply regret that I can’t participate in the meeting in Parma, so that I can personally forward the invitation for the Congress in Romania to the Executive Board.

58The Italian colleagues were very kind to facilitate my participation but my time is very limited. I am hardly back from Paris where I attended at the First International Congress of European Ethnology and where the unhappy event befall me to be appointed as President of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore together with all the consequences concerning this job.

59I am now conducting a field research in Maramureș to which besides the love for my native surroundings I am bound by the memory of our dear and most regretted friend Piotr Bogatyrev. Afterwards, on October 15 I have to leave, for Germany where I will spend some months as a “visiting professor” in Marburg.

60You can understand how busy I am and you will excuse my not participating in Parma.

61I ask you to pass on what I told you concerning the First International Congress of Semiotics for 1975 in Bucharest to the Executive Board. I’ll let you know how our future preparations unfold but I request that you also send me your suggestions about the manner how the Congress should be organized. Eventually if you are still in Europe while I am in Germany we could meet somewhere and discuss personally the matter.

62Please to convey my kind regards to Mrs. Jakobson.

Sincerely yours,

Prof. Mihai Pop

XIV. Jakobson to Pop

Professor Mihai Pop
Str. Caragea Voda 1
Bucuresti, Roumania

21 October 1971

Dear Professor Pop,

63Many thanks for your letters and for your effort on behalf of Semiotic. I'm happy to learn that your own scholarly work and the semiotic contributions of your collaborators develop so brilliantly. It was a great pity that we had to miss you at our meeting in beautiful and hospitable Parma. The Hungarian representative, Szepe, was there, and since we had through him an official invitation to Budapest for an International Semiotic Conference in the second half of 1973, for this time our Committee accepted the invitation to Budapest.

64I hope very much to see you there if not before.

With warmest wishes,
Yours cordially,

Roman Jakobson

XV. Jakobson to Pop

10 December 1971

Professor Mihai Pop
Institutul de Etnografie si Folclor
Str. Nikos Beloianiss nr. 25
Bucharest, Romania

Dear Professor Pop,

65I received a letter from Professor Sebeok saying that you informed our Committee and me about the decision to prepare a Congress of Semiotic in Bucharest, but this letter never reached us and I had from you only a letter stating possible steps of Romanian scholars to gain the permission of the authorities. At the same time we had an offer from Budapest presented by the Hungarian delegate and we had to accept it, as I wrote you on October 21st. It was a real pity that you were unable to join us at the pleasant meeting in Parma.

66May I use this opportunity to ask you about the current status of your plans to publish a Romanian translation of my principal studies in the theory of poetics and folklore as you wrote me March 24th and to which I gave my agreement in a letter of April 7th? I would appreciate it if you would inform me about the present situation of this project.

67With warmest Christmas and New Year wishes from both of us to both of you.

Yours sincerely,

Roman Jakobson

    Notes

  • 1 Pop is refering to the Fourth International Congress of Slavists, that took place in Moscow, in September 1958.
  • 2 Paparuda is a ritual, practiced during drought, with the purpose of invoking the rain.
  • 3 In 1958, a team of researchers from the Institute of Folklore in Bucharest, led by Mihai Pop, made a documentary film about Căluș, a very complex ritual involving a series of incidents and dances, connected to fertility, prosperity and healing.

Publication details

Published in:

Apostolescu Iulian (2019). Romanian Structuralism. Acta Structuralica Special Issue 3.

Pages: 12

Full citation:

(2019). The correspondence of Mihai Pop & Roman Jakobson. Acta Structuralica 3, pp. 12.