January 28, 1958
Dear Dr. Federn:
Our daughter in Princeton wrote us a little while ago that you have inquired concerned with my prolonged absence and silence. I believe to have written you in the meantime. A short time after our arival on an (unschedule) visit in Israel, I became ill, and after four weeks of consultations and tests, I submitted myself to a surgery (end of October), and after 12 days in the hospital I enjoyed the unusual warm winter and sunny days at the home of our daughter. All showed me much love and attention. The first month after the surgery was unpardonably lost for work, though it may have been the best time for writing. The second month I spent on bringing my Oedipus into shape; and had with me a draft and most of the material. Presently, it is a short book of only one hundred pages, but adding from the material left in Princeton and supplying the book with pictures (Amenhotep III-Laios, Tiy-Jokaste, Ay-Creon, Akhnaton-Oedipus, Smenkhkare-Polyneikes, Tutenkhamun-Eteokles, etc.) and with more verses from Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus, I believe it has idea, proof, form and appearance.
Schaeffer wrote me from Cyprus that he was going the last two weeks there to dig a tomb with a permanent thought of my scheme. Later he wrote again from Paris and admitted that he would like to talk over with me some conditions he found in the tomb, though there were no Assyrian objects found in it, thus there was no chance to verify my expecting these (Assyrian) objects to be of a younger date than the Egyptian finds in the grave. It would be a vindication of A. S. Murray.
We hope to travel during March through Italy, Switzerland, France (Paris) and possibly Holland (Amsterdam) and to be early in April back home. Then I shall take up Ages vol. 2. Actually only yesterday I received a leter dated January 20 written by Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd., my British publisher of Ages. He writes inter alia> “We are inundated with orders for the book and the booksellers are getting very restive.” Then I would like to publish “Stargazers and Gravediggers”, because I feel that my status in the States requires this; if I do not fight back all my future books will suffer, my personaly injury—daily— not counted. Simultaneously I would complete “Oedipus and Akhnaton” and deliver it to Doubleday, after you have chance to see it and make your comments. This by itself is a large program, but I have more to do—namely work on “The Orbit”, for which The Geophysical Year and the Sputniks will bring important confirmation; and to try to make a concise rendition of all my books in one volume (“All Roads”). Besides I work on an autobiography. Sounds almost hypomaniac; but the cause of this plethora is procrastination in the years past, ad the slowness in work. Several of my readers supplied me with various details to my different books, and so also for “Ages” vol. 2. I do not remember whether I have already drawn your attention to:
Frankfort, The Art and Architect. of Ancient Orient (1954), T. B. Webster on Homer and the Mycen. Tablets (Anitquity no. 113, 1955), Albright in the volume dedicated to H. Goldman.
There will be only a short time and the six hundred years (“dark ages”) will disappear from Greek, then from other histories.
I have formally informed Doubleday (before my surgery) that the royalties for the German translation of Ages, when such a translation should appear, belong to you as long as you life. Upon my return to the States, I shall see to it that “Ages” should have a Swiss (German) publisher.
With good wishes from myself and my wife,