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1879 HALL

February 23, 1976

Dear Dr. Velikovsky:

I’ll put this in writing, but bring it to you with the correspondence you lent me.

Your “Theses” of 1945 I have read with admiration and amazement; the correspondence about the Cornell University Press volume, with distress and frustration. The file you lent me contains most, though not all, of the letters from July 30, 1973, to February 5, 1976.

Few writers in any age have any comprehensive vision—much less one as detailed and vast as yours. I had not known how early you had spelled out these 284 theses, of which many are familiar to me from your still unpublished printer’s proofs. I still feel, as I did fifteen years ago and told you then, that publishing this vision is incomparably more important than giving lectures or responding to your detractors. Most of the scientists who have treated you shabbily will be forgotten soon or remembered chiefly for the roles they played against you.

You have always carried yourself, in every way, with imposing dignity. I only wish that in your mind you could come closer to ignoring all these scientists. It seems right in retrospect that Freud paid little heed to his detrators and continued to spell out his vision. Nietzsche did the same. Your case differs from both—as they do from each other—but what is common to all three is the irrational resistance to what is felt to be threatening.

Punish these men with contempt; outrage them by going your own way, publishing the two volumes of Ages in Chaos that are virtually finished. Do you know Goethe’s poem “Kläfer”? It has eight lines and ends:

Und seines Bellens lauter Schall
Beweist nur, dass wir reiten.
And all his noisy barking proves
No more than that we ride.

About the problem with Cornell I can state my feelings briefly.

Obviously, you have been treated unfairly. That started before the Symposium took place, and the people who arranged it have no mind to treat you fairly now in the forthcoming volume. But I believe Milton Konvitz when he says in his letter of June 6, 1975, that he “can see no chance for any substantial modification of the plan.” The Press evidently did not originate the features of the book that are unfair; but the Press wants to publish this book, preferably with your contributions but, if necessary, without them. And some of the other contributors would never agree to any fairer treatment for you. Your choice has to be made within this framework.

I would find it tempting to tell them to go to hell. But your lecture of February 25, 1974, shows how superbly you can handle even a format beset with absurd restrictions of space or time. Even so, a contribution to this book would not be worth a month of your enormously valuable time. But if you can write a powerful piece of not more than 6,000 words in the next two or three weeks, why not? As the crowds cheering Truman put it: “Give ’em hell” But, if possible, get all this out of your system. Or is that simply impossible?

I see no point in arguing further with Cornell University Press. A few pages more or less don’t really matter in the long run. Nor will this book matter one-tenth as much as another volume of Ages in Chaos.

I understand that, having waited this long, you find it very hard to return to these volumes. But you may not realize how much that is clear in your mind—ever since 19451 or even longer—is unknown to others. Your version of ancient history is strengthened immeasurably by what you have not published yet. Ages in Chaos, volume I, was merely the lion’s paw. Show them the whole majestic animal! Open up your second front! Here the establishment cannot hide behind esoteric calculations. Here your opponents do not have the prestige of astronomy. They are weak and may cave in. You have pulled your punches. You have allowed your enemies to think that you could not make good on what you promised them in volume 1. You scored to be stuck. Show them how wrong that is! Your vision and revision of ancient history should not be kept under wraps!

Alfred de Grazia, Ralph Juergens, and Livio Stecchini have done and can do a splendid job showing up your detractors—but only you can spell out your vision.

It may seem immodest of me to offer advice like this, but you will understand that it is prompted by admiration, friendship, and a concern for what you—and only you—can offer.


Walter Kaufmann

I phoned John Thornton, New American Library, had a long talk with him about your work, & he promised to phone you.

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