6 MARCH (1932)
Dear Herr Thomas Mann,
In the last few days my wife has read me your Goethe-Tolstoy book, and once again I have admired not only the clear, precise formulation of your excellent study, but also and perhaps even more, the courage and vigor with which, contrary to all German custom, you are at pains not to attenuate, simplify, and whitewash, but precisely to stress and deepen the tragic problems. As you can imagine, I attached special importance to the Goethe-Schiller antithesis. Here and there I was reminded of an essay written by Kant in his old age [Critique of Judgement] , in which he sings a moving hymn of praise to nature and those endowed with its gifts, and contrasts the “Great Heads” with the “Darlings of Nature.” The only passage in Kant that I have ever loved.
In several places, your Tolstoy figure, typifying nat