Jun 16, 2022 - Sale 2609

Sale 2609 - Lot 249

Price Realized: $ 5,200
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
REGARDING THE SEEKING OF SECURITY: "I PREFER TO LOOK THE SPHINX IN THE EYE" MANN, THOMAS. Group of 6 letters, each Signed, to aphorist Hans Margolius, in German, including 3 ALsS and 3 TLsS, expressing appreciation for his aphorisms, agreeing that kindness is the greatest thing on Earth, observing that doubt is better for realizing the good than belief, explaining that he cannot clarify a point in a work of his own because he does not travel with his papers and directing him to a German version published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, granting him permission to publish a sentence, noting that he himself has not written any aphorisms, advising him against extracting short passages from his own works, questioning whether 'security' and 'happiness' are what they seem, and anticipating the anthology of his aphorisms. Together 6 pages, each 4to or smaller, most on personal stationery; generally good condition. Vp, 1944-53

Additional Details

9 May 1952, ALS: ". . . I have read your sayings on ethics with sympathy and am with you completely when you celebrate kindness as the best thing on earth. [Gotthold Ephraim] Lessing said of his 'Nathan' [Nathan the Wise]: 'It will be nothing less than a satirical piece to leave the battlefield with jeers; it's going to be as touching a piece as I've ever done.'--Instead of 'satirical' he could have said 'nihilistic' if the word had already existed, and instead of 'touching': 'good'. He wasn't very religious. But doubt is perhaps even a better breeding ground for goodness than belief."
19 June 1953, ALS: ". . . I have read your maxims on ethics with serious pleasure. I have great faith in devotion, admiration, loyalty, but I put a question mark after 'security and happiness.' The two havens of ideal security today are communism and the Catholic Church. I understand very well that in a yen[?] one looks for the 'fixed place' and the happiness that this gives them. Personally, I prefer to look the Sphinx in the eye without fear."
13 November 1853, TLS: ". . . [T]here really is something fundamentally friendly about the aphorisms you sent me. They are very simple in part, and yet they often speak haunting truths, such as that praise advances us rather than blame, and that a man and his work need a measure of appreciation and goodwill if he is to continue to move forward actively. . . ."