Thursday, June 5, 2008

Kant Get Enough...

...of Manfred Kueh's Kant: A Biography.

Here are three humorous excerpts.

1. "It was not just the cold that made Scheffner shiver. Nor was it simply the fear of his own death, which might have been awakened in him by the hollow sounds of the frozen clods of earth falling on the almost-empty coffin. The tremor that would reverberate in his head for days and weeks had deeper causes. Kant, the man, was gone forever. The world was cold, and there was no hope -- not for Kant, and perhaps not for any of us." (2)

2. "In fact, one of the only joys remaining to him was observing a bird, a titmouse, that came every spring and sang in his garden. When this bird came late one year, he said: 'It must still be cold in the Apennines,' wishing the bird good weather for its homecoming. In 1803 the bird did not come back. Kant was sad and complained, 'My little birdie is not coming.'" (418)

3. "On February 11, he uttered his last words. Thanking Wasianski for giving him a mixture of wine and water, he said: "Es ist gut," or "it is good." Much has been made of these words -- but "Es ist gut" need not have been the affirmation that this is the best of all possible worlds, it can also mean "it's enough," and it probably meant just that in the context. He had drunk enough -- but he had also had enough of life." (422)