The twenty-eighth of January, 2011: a letter to Miss Scheinpflogová

A confluence or coming-together of Clutterbucks past: meteors, Karel Capek and turpe nescire.

And do you know that a whole shower of meteors is falling at the moment, during this month? I sit in front of the house late into the night and watch the sky; it’s simply fabulous. Yesterday I saw a big green meteor flying; it drew a line crossing out the whole sky and it was so wonderful I forgot to make a wish. Anyway, I take a bit of a theoretical interest in astronomy as well; I can see how little I know, and how splendid it is to be getting to know more. From now on I’ll study – piece by piece – everything, all the sciences and theories; I’d like to know the whole world. And then, as an Irish proverb says: ‘The man who knows everything dies.’ Amen. To die of knowledge would be a beautiful death!

Kapek, letter to his lover Olga Scheinpflogová (1902-1968), the fourth of August, 1923 (when Capek was thirty-three).

Others who want to take a bit of a theoretical interest in astronomy could do worse than start here. Or they could just move to Sark.

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