Letter from Edmund Husserl written 31.12.1936

Freiburg i.B., 3I.XII.1936

Dearest Friend!

            How nice that we did not have to miss you on our silent and serious Christmas Eve. Thank you very much, and we would also like to send you our best wishes from the bottom of our hearts. The hypertrophy of your work, that is the literary and lecture work, worries us, especially as you speak of an elevated temperature. Isn’t your d[ear] wife intervening with an energetic veto? The beautiful Christmas gift has been a pleasure – and a disappointment.85 I would have loved to see a “phen[omenological]” pivot in your problems pertaining to your lit[erary] work of art. After the great and well-deserved success of the first book, you must complement it with this second supplementary work with its parallel (correlative) topic by publishing it in German soon.

            I am (we are) looking back at a very bad year; hopefully, the new year will be better! My son and my son-in-law are already in the United States, and the last letters we received for Christmas were very positive; hence, their families are preparing for their move. Currently, my brave daughter and her children are visiting us to say farewell. My dau[ghter-in-law] will be departing from Southampton today together with her child. We, the old ones, are staying behind alone – we envy the children, though their new beginnings will be modest. The last year, apart from the illness lasting two months and [the] vacation in Rapallo, was one of the hardest working years of my life. Well, I am getting old; I will soon be turning 78. However, many a question has been clarified explicitly, especially the implementation of the idea of ​​universal historicity – as a transcendental one – about which I have been thinking for more than a decade. In about 2-3 weeks, you will be receiving the first art[icle] with advanced preliminary indications; the second one takes up Kant, etc., the problem of the surrounding life world, and then that of philosophy in ph[ilosophy] developing in ph[enomenological] reduction. Then, the third and fourth art[icles] are on the relationship between phen[omenology] and psych[ology], physics, biol[ogy], and human[ities].86 Another year of work! You will find all sorts of things that will surprise you; however, it has been well emphasized that the reader should be guided by the preliminary interpretations of theories of thought, which can only be systematically explicated and become comprehensible in their own specific character, in their apodict[ic] method, once the reader has been adequately prepared. By the way, I only expect about a dozen serious readers to have the necessary perseverance to seriously follow such a difficult and long paper.

            You can imagine that I feel tired with all the philosophical and extra-philosophical stress. For the first time in years, I have not worked during the two weeks of Christmas, instead, I only read all sorts of writings, including the beautiful book by Karel Čapek “Masaryk erzählt sein Leben” (published by Cassirers Verlag, Berlin).

            Now, get some rest (as my wife urges emphatically, too). Once again, we wish you, your wife and your boys all the best. I hope you will soon come to visit, while we are still around. The death of my old teacher and friend Stumpf deeply affected me, although he was 89 years old.

Your old friend, E. Husserl