I N T R O D U C T I O N T O V O L U M E 7 x x i i i
as at King’s College, where his improvised performance bore little resemblance to
the written text (Doc. 58). In the case of his Princeton lectures of May 1921 (Doc.
71), he did not prepare the published text until months afterward. What Einstein
actually said in his first two Princeton lectures can be inferred from the stenogra-
pher’s transcription reproduced in Appendix C. Einstein’s humorous attempt to
deal with reporters and curiosity seekers in Doc. 61 can best be appreciated after
reading the published interviews reproduced in Appendixes D and E.
The third group of writings, beginning with Doc. 14, comprises texts related to
political and social issues. These he produced only sparingly at first, but starting
with Doc. 27 in December 1919, Einstein began to pen numerous contributions
aimed at promoting international reconciliation, particularly among scientific com-
munities (Docs. 36, 40, 47, 70). Emphasizing the rights of the individual, Einstein
was deeply concerned with the misery of Central Europeans in the grip of starva-
tion and economic collapse, praising those who, like the Quakers, worked to over-
come these conditions (Docs. 29, 41). Most significant is the large subgroup of
writings from1920–1921 (Docs. 34, 35, 37, 57, 59, 60, 62) that addresses different
aspects of the “Jewish Question,” a theme that grew especially close to his heart
during these years. His rejection of assimilation, combined with a fierce defense of
the right of Jews to higher education, led Einstein to support Zionist efforts at estab-
lishing a university in Palestine, which he conceived of as a cultural center for all
These three groups of texts, covering a wide array of themes and topics, reflect
the complex circumstances that shaped this phase of Einstein’s life.
The earlier scientific papers in this volume mark the end of Einstein’s intense
period of research on the theory of general relativity which had begun in 1911.
Indeed, most of the papers on general relativity in this volume, nearly all of which
were completed during the first half of 1918, either grew directly out of previous
work, or are responses to colleagues. Following a period of concentrated work
beginning in November 1915, Einstein did not submit an original paper on the sub-
ject after early February 1917. To a great extent, the papers of 1918 represent his
reaction to colleagues who had, in the meantime, entered the field.
The most substantial of these papers, “On Gravitational Waves” (Einstein 1918a
[Doc. 1]), is essentially a correction, albeit a very important one, of his 1916 paper
on the linearized approximation (Einstein 1916g [Vol. 6, Doc. 32]). In Einstein
1918e (Doc. 4), he gives a new presentation of the foundations of general relativity
that reflects the development of his views since March 1916, when he wrote the