茨威格自传 8.2分
读书笔记 Beyond Europe
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Although every minute of his day was always allocated he [Walter Rathenau] was ready to turn from one subject to another without the least effort, for his mind was always on the alert, an instrument of such precision and rapidity as I have never seen in anyone else. He spoke fluently as if he were reading from an invisible page, and yet each individual sentence was so plastically and cearly formed that, had it been taken down in shorthand, his conversation would have been perfect exposition, ready for the press. He spoke French, English, and Italian as well as he did German. His memory never failed him, and he required no special preparation for any subject. In speaking with him, one felt stupid, faultily educated, uncertain and confused in the presence of his calm, deliberate, and clear-thinking objectivity. But there was something in the blinding brilliance, the crystal clarity of his thinking, just as there was something in the choice furniture and the fine pictures in his home, that made one feel uncomfortable. His mind had the effect of an ingeniously contrived apparatus, his home that of a museum. One could never really get warm in his feudal Queen Louise palace in Brandenburg: its order was obvious, its arrangement too studied, its cleanliness too clean. His thinking had the transparency of glass, hence seemed unsubstantial; rarely have I sensed the tragedy of the Jew more strongly than in his personality which, with all of its apparent superiority, was full of a deep unrest and uncertainty. My other friends, for example Verhaeren, Ellen Key, and Bazalgette, were not a tenth as clever, not a hundredth as universal or as worldly wise as he was, but they were secure within themselves. In Rathenau's case I always felt that, in spite of his immeasurable cleverness, his feet were not firmly on the ground. His entire existence was a single conflict of constantly changing contradictions. He had inheririted all imaginable power from his father and yet had no wish to be his heir, he was a merchant but fancied himself an artist; he had millions and toyed with socialistic ideas; he felt himself to be a Jew and flirted with Christ. He thought internationally and worshipped Prussianism, he dreamt of the people's rule and yet was highly honoured every time he was received and consulted by the Emperor, whose weaknesses and vanity he saw through intuitively, without being able to master his own vanity. And so it was, perhaps, that his ceaseless activity was nothing but an opiate to cover up an inner nervousness and to deaden the lonliness that surrounded his inner life. It was only in the hour of responsibility, when in 1919, after the breakdown of the German armies, the most difficult task in history --- that of leading the disorganized Republic from chaos to new life --- fell to him, that the tremendous potential forces within him suddenly became a single force. And in staking his life on a single idea, the salvation of Europe, he attained the greatness which was innate to his genius.
引自 Beyond Europe

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