A letter today from Hans Schulz, a Marxist colleague at Vanderbilt, in response to a letter I sent him when I learned he is dying of cancer:
. . . It’s been more than six weeks since I got your letter. I am only now coming out of the kind of hermetic self-referentiality which the news of my palpable finality engendered. . . . Your letter has a tone that expresses a lot about a flux of beliefs and the sense of loss that comes with it. Difficult for me to empathize because that is a whole field of beliefs I never entered and have always looked at as an indoor Hollywood landscape. But my own situation seems to subject a lot of things to revision too.
[from Immortal for Quite Some Time]
Alexander von Humboldt invents nature