Outwardly His Life Ran Smoothly
Comparative figures: 1784 Kant owned 55 books, Goethe 2300, Herder 7700.
Windows: Kant had one bedroom window, which he kept shut at all times, to
forestall insects. The windows of his study faced the garden, on the the other side of
which was the city jail. In summer loud choral singing of the inmates wafted in.
Kant asked that the singing be done sotto voce
and with windows closed. Kant had
friends at city hall and got his wish.
Tolstoy: Tolstoy thought that if Kant had not smoked so much tobacco TheCritique of Pure Reason
would have been written in language you could under-
stand (in fact he smoked one pipe at 5 AM).
Numbering: Kant never ate dinner alone, it exhausts the spirit. Dinner guests, in
the opinion of the day, should not number more than the Muses nor less than the
Graces. Kant set six places.
Sensualism: Kant's favourite dinner was codfish.
Rule Your Nature: Kant breathed only through his nose.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Decreation by Anne Carson. Copyright © 2005 by Anne Carson. Excerpted by permission of Vintage, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.