Thomas Mann, Letters

katia pringsheim 1905

TO KATIA

End of August 1904

…Stupid? If you like. You are so utterly enchanting a creature, my Katia, that for all I care you could be ‘a little stupid.’ That you aren’t, you yourself know best. But if by ‘stupid’ you mean the opposite of ‘smart’ (and I suppose that is it), by all means be so. I am the same way and am pleased to be so. For ‘smartness’ is something deeply nasty. The ‘smart’ person confines himself to eating no more than two rolls every day, lives cautiously, loves cautiously, and is too cautious to resolutely bind his life to his love. Everything naive, noble, and devout is ‘stupid,’ all intrepid devotion on this earth. Let us be ‘stupid,’ my Katia!

TO KATIA

Late September 1904

… that you – immortal phrase – showed me your books.

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