Editor’s note: “The long, shining table: writers in Eastern Europe” by Hortense Calisher appeared in the January issue of The New Criterion. What follows is one of four observations on some of the issues raised in Miss Calisher’s essay.

As someone who comes from Poland and knows a little about Polish literary life, I can only regret that Miss Calisher didn’t brush against my country while traveling through Eastern Europe. She would have seen a couple of things which don’t quite fit into the questionable scheme of alternatives which form the standpoint of her otherwise excellently narrated story. First of all, in Warsaw she wouldn’t have been entertained by any writers union. The Polish Writers Union has been suspended by the military regime, as a retaliation for being too independent and having a democratically elected administration. (So perhaps in...


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