FROM TIME TO TIME by Hannah Tillich


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Our most noted philosophers, it seems, have found it easier to find order in the universe than in their personal lives. According to these memoirs by Tillich's second wife -- the counterpart of his own posthumous My Search for Absolutes (1967) -- the theologian/philosopher/humanist was a very difficult man to live with. The couple met in Weimar Germany when he, ten years older and a professor, was married to another; she fled to Tillich's arms when pregnant with her first husband's child (who later died). She had hated him at first sight and for the most part, the marriage was not a happy one. She was jealous, he a satyr; he left her at home on their wedding night while he caroused, slept with their maids and hid pornographic pictures in places she was sure to find them. In Germany and in America Hannah felt ""shut out and neglected."" A former art student, bohemian and communist who wasn't interested in politics, she had affairs with men and women (for several years the Tillichs were a menage a trois), wrote unpublished verse, painted her schizophrenic visions, finally finding peace in Yoga. Both chaste and chastened, the couple drew close again in their older age. To her, the philosopher was ""a cosmic power,"" ""the man with the golden mouth,"" ""the desperate child of the century""; the major effort in her life was to keep herself from being drowned in him. Interspersed with her (bad) poetry and short-story fragments, these reminiscences are bizarre and intimate, rather than profound.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1973
Publisher: Stein & Day