Albert Einstein (1879-1955).

Autograph letter signed ('Albert') to his sister Maja Winteler-Einstein, n.p. [Berlin], n.d. [late April 1924].

1¼ pages, 280 x 220mm; a message from Elsa Einstein is appended under Einstein's signature, reporting on her husband's good health ('Thank heavens, he sleeps and feeds!').

Maja Winteler-Einstein (1881-1951) – her husband Paul Winteler (1882-1952) – Besso family.
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Lot Essay

On his struggles with 'the scientific demon', his dislike of being 'gaped at', and his dutiful reading of Bernard Shaw.

Einstein reports that life is a bit quieter, from the outside at least: 'But in return the scientific demon takes me by the scruff of the neck and makes a fool of me, by making me follow the Fata morgana of a ready solution of my problem, only after a little time to stick his tongue out at me [Dafür aber hat mich der physikalische Teufel am Schlawittich und foppt mich, indem er mir die Fata morgana der nahen Lösung meines Problems vorgaukelt, um mir nach einiger Zeit wieder die Zunge herauszustrecken]'.

Maja is right to complain about Einstein's inadequacy as a correspondent: 'But my bad conscience doesn't tend to be strong enough to turn into good resolutions on the subject'. The same forces were at work in him giving up a planned trip to Naples: he gave health reasons as his official excuse, 'But of much stronger effect was the aversion for official events with many people where I have to allow myself to be gaped at like a sort of Pentecost ox [Pfingstochse]'. He is sorry that as a consequence he couldn't see Maja and Paul, although he is delighted to hear of the idyllic existence they have created for themselves in Florence, 'with garden, sun and chickens'. He himself is heading off in a few days to his 'hermitage' in Kiel, where he will spend several weeks, 'in order to work on technical things for a bit and to – go sailing'. Ilse's new husband is translating George Bernard Shaw, and Einstein has therefore applied himself to reading Shaw himself very conscientiously, 'as if it were my duty and I was a Prussian'.

The letter is dated by his reference to his imminent departure for Kiel, which took place on 1 May.
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