All the Western world is Hamlet!

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Plettenberg, Westphalia

May 31st, 1965


Honorable Sir, my friend and colleague:


I received your letter from the 5th of May. I would like to express my gratitude and satisfaction at entering in direct contact with you. The package with fourteen exemplars of your journal «Atlántida» has arrived very well, but with a few days of delay. I was captivated by the study of its diverse articles, admiring the excellence and the lively modernity of the journal, the respectability of this enterprise and the superior quality of your direction.

It is self-evident that my appreciation for your kindly invitation is profound and I would like to be a collaborator of your journal. There are too many topics that catch my eye and that would encourage me to take up my pen.

The topic that nowadays occupies my thoughts is not Dante Alighieri, but an author who, I am afraid, is disreputable in Spain: Thomas Hobbes. In other countries, such as France, England, the United States of America and Germany, the attention towards him is rising greatly. For more than forty years, I have been able to observe this irresistible rise. I am very interested in writing a note about it, although this issue in itself is not suspicious or even contentious. I am attaching a review article that I published a few weeks ago in the journal «Der Staat».

There is something else: Hamlet as a myth of the West. In 1848, it was said: Germany is Hamlet. In 1918 (at the ending of the World War I), Paul Valéry said: Europe is Hamlet. Nowadays it could be alleged: all the Western world is Hamlet.

And there is a third topic brought about by the article of D. XX (in N° 14), “Political and apolitical interests”. It is regarding the Concept of the Political, a topic about which an outstanding book will soon be released: L’essence du Politique, by Julien Freund (Éditions Sirey, 22 rue Soufflot, Paris V).

The great hurdle is my lack of decisiveness owing to my old age. It would make the choice of the topic much easier if you told me which one of these three topics you would rather have me write on, in the case that you wanted any of them.

I congratulate you on your amazing and new journal and I reassert my gratefulness towards you. I kindly greet you as your good friend.

Carl Schmitt


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from: Jerónimo Molina, Carl Schmitt, prescriptor de Hobbes en España Dos cartas de Carl Schmitt a la Junta de Ampliación de Estudios (1934) y a Florentino Pérez Embid (1965)

Translators: Carlos Eduardo Pérez Crespo, Emil Archambault

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