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Zweig, A. (1932). Letter from Arnold Zweig to Sigmund Freud, May 1, 1932. The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 84:36-39.

(1932). The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 84:36-39

Letter from Arnold Zweig to Sigmund Freud, May 1, 1932 Book Information Previous Up Next

Arnold Zweig

1 May 32

Dear and honoured man,

We have been home now for three weeks and this is the first quiet hour I have had alone. No children, no wife, neither my sister nor my secretary, just the familiar brown cigar and the pale blue light of a cold spring day outside my window-and at once, instead of reading something as I meant to or working away at my new book, I find my way to you to announce my return. It is strange how I think about you in your big flat among your books and the treasures that have risen from the tombs, whose place of origin I have just been visiting. I could not settle down-apart from the children of course-a new creative idea had developed in me following on the war novels (or rather it is an old idea, dating back to 22 or 24, but suddenly it was there all complete) so that I could not pick up the threads of my work. And between me and some of the people I was looking forward to seeing again lay all the bustle of the wide world in which they had had no part and the tumult of the unbridled, distorted folly, which we had been away from. As I walked round my study the feeling came over me: what a mistake to try to come back here! What remains intact at this moment of the Europe I love and of the Germany to which I in large part belong, the original source of my strength and of my work? Why did I not stay over there in the heroic scenery of Galilee or by the sea at Tel Aviv or at the Dead Sea or in the idyllic landscape of Méadie near Cairo, where there are such wonderful bougainvillaea trees, purple canopies of blossom, as big as a good-sized acacia? Then on my desk I saw your photo, which my secretary has meantime fixed between two sheets of glass on a metal base, and this was such a greeting from the heart of the creative zone, from warmth and goodness of heart and from the great European tradition of Reason, that I turned on my heel with a sigh and a smile and said to myself: Now you must first deal with all the post that has come, then start on your new work and just stay here and not run away.

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