Trafika Europe 1 - Northern Idyll

blindness were vast. He wanted me with him in the United States because he didn’t feel he could stand another academic year as an overaged bachelor student. The only way for us both to get visas was for him to marry me. I didn’t have any illusions. He was not troubled by the course of history, not terrified at leaving his mother alone in Czechoslovakia, and he was hardly concerned about our dicey finances. He had his work, his needs as a man, and the rest mattered very little. What were the world’s upheaval or the jeremiads of a woman in comparison with the infinity of mathematics? Kurt always placed himself outside the game. Here and now was an unpleasant point in space-time, an imperative I was assigned to handle so that we might survive. He briefly considered emigrating officially but dismissed it without serious thought. Oskar Morgenstern and Karl Menger, who had been in the United States for several months, wrote that they planned to settle there. They urged him to weigh the possibility of expatriate life. I started to think about it. If he married me, Princeton’s invitation gave us an opportunity to go, leaving everything behind. I made two lists. Here: my family; his mother, who had taken refuge in a defeated Czechoslovakia; his academic career, already on a solid footing, and a university that still believed in him; his brother, who was our only financial guarantor; and a political situation that, while explosive, did not threaten us directly. There: his friends; temporary appointments; the unknown. Could we get a two-person


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