Fot.Wojciech Plewiński

Adam Tarn (1902 – 1975)

Adam Tarn is the literary pseudonym of Henryk Zalszupin. He was born in 1902 in Lodz. His father was Ignacy Zalszupin, a lawyer, and his mother was a daughter of a factory owner, Julia Freidenberg. He had a sister and a brother. When Henryk turned eight, his father dies and the family leaves for Switzerland. He attended school in Zurich and then studied in Berlin, Strasbourg, Brussels and Lille. He defended his doctorate in the field of humanities. In 1934 he made his debut as a novelist with the book “The Image of the Father in Four Frames”, and two years later his translation of Sigmund Freud’s “Own Image” was published. After returning to Poland, he worked as an editor and translator.
World War II found him in France. In 1941 he moved to the United States, where he worked in the secretariat of the United Nations until 1949. At that time, Tarn not only translated but also wrote dramatic works. After returning to Poland, in the 1952/1953 season he was the director and artistic director of the Teatr Dom Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw, then he was the literary manager of the Powszechny Theatre (1955/1956 season), the Ateneum Theatre (1956-1960) and the Wspolczesny Theatre (1960-1968) ).
In 1956 he became the editor-in-chief of the literary and artistic periodical “Dialog”. At that time, the editorial board consisted of: Halina Auderska, Kazimierz Korcelli, Jerzy Pomianowski, Konstanty Puzyna and Andrzej Stawar. The publisher of “Dialog” was Robotnicza Spoldzielnia Wydawnicza (RSW) “Prasa”, and it published essays, reviews, critical articles, film scripts, texts by Polish playwrights and translations of the latest world literature, incl. Beckett, Ionesco, Eliot, Camus, Sartre. Tarn knew Beckett, Frisch and Dürrenmatt personally. In assessing art, he was guided by his own uncompromising opinion, which won him friends, but also often made enemies. A very large part of the works included in Dialog appeared on Polish stages in the second half of the 1950s, and in the early 1960s, shortly after their publication. In 1967, the anthology “Contemporary American Drama” was published, selected and edited by Tarn.
Mrozek gratefully remembers the beginnings of his acquaintance with Tarn, when, as the editor-in-chief of “Dialog”, he immediately agreed to publish his debut drama “Police”. Mrozek often visited the editorial office of “Dialog” on Aleje Jerozolimskie, where Tarn managed to create a kind of club, a place for semi-official, semi-private meetings, during which culture, politics and, of course, gossip were discussed.
The founder of “Dialog” was removed from the editorial office in 1968 and shared the fate of Mrozek as an emigrant. From the beginning of 1969, he worked as a professor at the University of Calgary, teaching theatre studies. In Canada, he made an attempt to reactivate “Dialog” abroad and created the publishing house “Drama in Calgary”. In 1973, he moved to Ottawa, where he worked as a drama lecturer until 1974. He dies in Switzerland in 1975.
Based on: Magdalena Jarnotowska, The image of the father in four frames. Literary works of Adam Tarn,

Na podstawie: Magdalena Jarnotowska, Obraz ojca w czterech ramach. Literacka twórczość Adama Tarna,