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Freud, S. (1935). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Thomas Mann, June 1935. Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939, 426.

Freud, S. (1935). Letter from Sigmund Freud to Thomas Mann, June 1935. Letters of Sigmund Freud 1873-1939, 426

Letter from Sigmund Freud to Thomas Mann, June 1935 Book Information Previous Up Next

Sigmund Freud

June 1935

For Thomas Mann's Sixtieth Birthday

Dear Thomas Mann

Please accept a heartfelt message of affection on your sixtieth birthday. I am one of your “oldest” readers and admirers; I could wish you a very long and happy life, as is the custom on such occasions. But I shall refrain from doing so; the bestowal of wishes is trivial and seems to me a regression into the era when mankind believed in the magic omnipotence of thought. My most personal experience, moreover, tends to make me consider it a good thing when merciful fate puts a timely end to our span of life.

Nor do I consider it worthy of imitation when, on a festive occasion such as this, affection overrides respect and obliges the hero of the day to listen to speeches which overwhelm him with praise as a human being and analyze as well as criticize him as an artist. I don't want to be guilty of such arrogance. But I will permit myself something else: in the name of countless numbers of your contemporaries I wish to express the confidence that you will never do or say anything—an author's words, after all, are deeds—that is cowardly or base, and that even at a time which blurs judgment you will choose the right way and show it to others.


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