Lot 201: An important archive of unpublished letters from Wittgenstein to one of his closest friends and confidantes, Hermann Hansel, comprised of sixteen ALSs, totaling 24 pages, primarily dated between 1937 and 1951, mostly from the World War II period. The two had met while prisoners of war at Monte Cassino during World War II and kept in close contact throughout the rest of their lives. On April 13, 1938, one month after the 'Anschluss' in which Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany, Wittgenstein writes (translated): "Do not let yourself be confused over religion by its representatives; but do not let the ideals of a religion delude you as to the actual views of its representatives, either. I will probably not be visiting Austria again in the next months. If I did, I might not get out again, and that would be a great misfortune for me…As you see, I am back at Cambridge, and will be teaching again next trimester."
After deploring the "calamity in Kundmanngasse" and mentioning the invocation of God in "very difficult times" in June 1938, Wittgenstein again comments on Hansel's situation in Vienna on December 29, 1938, in part: "Yes, it is hard to stand alone, but not only for the Viennese. And to truly think, and think deeply, and then to follow the drift of one's thought, that too is hard, for it requires a dashed amount of courage (O, if only I had it!). If you truly think: and then do not participate in anything you consider it more decent to not participate in—I feel you'd be capable of it—then you are much to be congratulated." In overall fine condition.
Accompanied by additional correspondence related to Wittgenstein, including several letters by his sister Hermine, a letter from Ludwig Ficker, a letter from Ludwig Hansel, a letter by General Feurstein, and a letter by E. Postl, the Wittgenstein valet. All together an amazing archive suitable for comprehensive study.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 453
Sunday, 17th May 2015
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