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The Man of the Circular Ruins (planetofstorms.wordpress.com)
65 points by mellosouls 15 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments



Surprising to me to read a story of someone growing in the midst of the second world war, lost his father to Auschwitz; further down the story he's super annoyed that some of his students had a website collecting his writings. To me it almost feels that those two worlds are completely disconnected, yet here we are.


The turmoil of the early to mid 20th century produced many such fascinating stories. People seem as if they lived 2 or 3 lives. Life after I'm sure felt surreal at times for people who lived through it.

Chaos and conflict in the world is still minting such people today. I imagine quite a few such stories will be revealed when we have time to collect them from people who have emigrated due to the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.


Maybe, there is an epistemological common ground: As an anarchist, he may have thought of science as letters sent to humanity, letters telling of insight and discovery. It was important that these writings were respected as letters, sent with an intent and to a specific addressee. (Compare the dispute about the IHES and its sponsoring by the French army.) Later, as these insights become more and more private, these became letters to be never sent, eventually extending to include his former work. (Figuratively speaking, had they been sent in error? Was there an error in the addressee? Anyway, they were not to be republished.) In the light of this, collecting these writings, while ignoring any of the circumstances under which they had been written and how they were intended, is quite the same kind of scandal, as it had been at the IHES. I guess, this is exactly the kind of importance, you can still cultivate and rely on, even, when your very life is at extreme odds.


>Surprising to me to read a story of someone growing in the midst of the second world war, lost his father to Auschwitz; further down the story he's super annoyed that some of his students had a website collecting his writings. To me it almost feels that those two worlds are completely disconnected, yet here we are.

Of course they're disconnected. The latter protest came about after the man was elderly, having spent the remainder of his life in isolation well after he'd gone "completely insane", to borrow the article's phrasing.

Considering the toll life must've taken on him, there's really no surprise there.


Extremely interesting and very clear writing. Excellent blog post. Thank you.


It’s hard to understate how big Grothendieck’s imapact on mathematics was. He was, without any doubt, the most influential mathematician of the 20th Century.

There are mathematicians today who learn french solely to read his works.


Who is more John Galt than John Galt?


Fascinating read, thanks for submitting this.




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