D O C U M E N T S 2 9 0 , 2 9 1 O C T O B E R 1 9 2 8 2 8 5 290. To Constantin Carathéodory [Berlin,] 19 October 1928 Dear Colleague, I am sending you herewith the letter I wrote to Hilbert.[2] It would be best to pay no attention to this whole Brouwer matter. I would never have thought that Hilbert was capable of such outbursts of emotion.— Best regards, your 291. To David Hilbert [Berlin,] 19 October 1928 Dear Colleague, Mr. Brouwer is an involuntary supporter of Lombroso’s theory of the close con- nection between genius and insanity.[1] I cannot comprehend how you can take this man so seriously, who in his own country, along with his reputation as a great math- ematician, also enjoys that of a hopeless malcontent. In the Dutch academy he has already countless times staged the craziest escapades in response to the most pica- yune provocation.[2] A few years ago he had a quite awesome battle with a French colleague who had accepted a position in Holland, in which he also made franco- phobic noises.[3] What kind of performance he may have put on in Bologna I do not know, nor does it interest me. I consider him in spite of all respect for his intel- lectual achievements to be a psychopath, and do not deem it to be justified nor ex- pedient to undertake any actions against him. To you I would say: “Sire, give him the freedom of a fool!” If you are, however, unable to do that, because his behavior has gotten too seriously on your nerves, then do in God’s name what you must. I myself cannot sign such a letter, for the reasons given. Kind regards, your
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