Thursday, May 11, 2006

Seinfeld’s nemesis (“Hello, Newman.”) did it, too.

Reading other (preferably famous) peoples’ letters fascinates me no end. There’s something liberating, I find, about letter writing. It sorta lets your guard slip and, for maybe a brief instant, the ‘real’ person can be glimpsed. The last two collections of celebrity letters I read were Graham Greene’s letters to newspapers and Sigmund Freud’s personal correspondence. Freud’s son, Ernst, has selected the letters. (“As a letter writer, my father was unusually prolific and conscientious,” is his fond comment.) Among his world-renowned correspondents were people like Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Havelock Ellis, Stefan Zweig, Maria Montessori, HG Wells, Romain Rolland, Carl G Jung and Otto Rank among others. The Freud who comes across through in his letters is totally unlike the brooding and melancholy persona I had imagined him to be. He’s childlike, poetic, open, full of joie de vivre, tenderness and wonderment, especially when he’s writing to his fiancée, Martha Bernays. Freud’s obit by (Monday, 25 September 1939) can be found at,6000,332994,00.html. P.S.: One of my prized finds is After-Dinner Freud by Joseph Aguayo, Ph.D. It’s a set of one hundred parlour cards with questions and answers on the Father of Psychoanalysis, published by Viking. Fascinating stuff![Related link: Saturday, May 6, 2006. Posted at 8:33 P.M. ‘Pen pal. Who me?‘]

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