The Archive in January
I am glad that the people whose materials I work on have been dead awhile. Some of them have not been dead all that long, and it is true that I would have liked to meet most of them, but thus far I have not run into any restrictions or had to sign any special paperwork in order to read their papers. Moniková, however, has only been dead a few years, so Dawn has to get permission from the widower (fortunately, someone she already knows). I assured her that while this is a nuisance, it is not unusual in regard to the papers of the recently deceased. Nor is it unusual for correspondence to have been returned to the still-living person who originally wrote it.
Perhaps, of course, this sort of thing also applies to the materials I work with, and I simply don’t know how much correspondence is absent.
In the case of the lawsuit, however, I don’t think there is any missing correspondence. Strictly speaking, it is not very closely related to my dissertation in the first place, but I will look at pretty much anything that is informative about the lives, habits, and ideas of the interwar avant-garde. You never know what might pop up. Toyen sent Janský postcards and of course she knew Brouk quite well.
Besides, the folder includes a charming sample of 1936 tabloid journalism. Much more restrained than the present-day variety, it lets its readers know that Ani labuť, ani Lůna (the subject of the lawsuit) reveals the “Sadistický původ Máje: Fantomy sexuálních perversí v Máchově poesii.” I don’t know whether present-day tabloid readers are even interested in whether famous Romantic poets had an Oedipus or castration complex, but Telegraf found this almost as interesting as the latest murder.