Thursday, December 29, 2016

"The times are gloomy. Fortunately it is not my job to brighten them." -- Freud

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Vienna XIX, Strassergasse 47
May 2, 1935

Dear Arnold Zweig

I am sitting in my lovely room in Grinzing, before me the beautiful garden with fresh green and reddish brown young foliage (copper beech) and state that the snowstorm with which May introduced itself has ceased (for the time being!), and that a cold sun is dominating the climate. Needless to say, my idea of enjoying spring with you on Mount Carmel was a mere phantasy. Even supported by my faithful Anna-Antigone I could not embark on a journey; in fact, I have recently had to undergo another cauterization in the oral cavity.

I am worried about your poor eyes. The intelligent oculist whom we consulted refuses to give a definite opinion without a detailed report of the condition. Why the symptoms should appear just now, he can't say. On the other hand, according to him there is no doubt that an improvement could be expected from giving the eyes a rest and a general strengthening. I assume your oculist is trustworthy?

I can't say that much is happening in my life. Since I can no longer smoke freely, I no longer want to write-or perhaps I am just using this pretext to veil the unproductiveness of old age. Moses won't let go of my imagination. I visualize myself reading it out to you when you come to Vienna, despite my defective speech. In a report on Tell-el Amarna, which still hasn't been fully excavated, I read a remark about a certain Prince Thothmes of whom nothing else is known. If I were a millionare, I would finance the continued excavations. This Thothmes could be my Moses and I would be able to boast that I had guessed right.

At the suggestion of the Fischer Verlag, I have composed a brief address for Thomas Mann's birthday (June 6) and in to it slipped a warning which I trust will not go unnoticed. The times are gloomy. Fortunately it is not my job to brighten them.

With kindest regards


Source: Letters of Sigmund Freud

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