Friday, January 06, 2012

Einstein and The Fame Monster

Long before Gaga came into the scene with her fear of the Fame Monster, there was this eccentric guy with really bad hair, bad wardrobe and fashion sense, and he was (is) famous for his remarkable knowledge and ability in his field of expertise, and who was also scared/annoyed by his own fame.

“The Drama of Albert Einstein” is one of the most fascinating biographies I’ve read so far. Antonina Vallentin, the author of the book and a very close friend of the scientist, painted an intimate portrait of an exceptional man who would stupefy anybody with his unique perception of his fame, the unfathomable depth of his profound thoughts, and his passionate quest in the field of science and education.

It’s really strange how in the early and mid 20th century, the smart, virtuous, and noble are being put on the pedestal. Now, in the 21st century, we have the greedy, the stupid, and criminals in the most important institutions of our country, glitter-ass-auto-tuned girls are considered talented, incoherent pretentious beauty queens, and actors/scions/oligarchs are now the venerated philanthropist of our time.

Vallentin started her book by describing Einstein’s perception and attitude towards his own fame. He was, at most, indifferent, and sometimes very annoyed by it. He was respected by men of the streets and also of learned men of important academies, kings and queens, and members of various European courts and governments. It all seemed absurd to him because fame was in fact a monster to his eyes.

The author gives you a first-hand observation of the character and the peculiar habits, and the humor of Einstein, since she is one of the people who are very close to Einstein. It’s a window to his soul as it allows you to look at ideas and thoughts about religion, human race, war and peace, his passion for music- all of these from a very close glance at the incarnation of genius. The book is definitely genuine and unique and to read it is like knowing Albert Einstein personally.

I did a quick research to get some information about the author but there isn’t any available information. Strange.

Well according to the jacket cover of the book, she is the author of brilliant biographies of Streseman, Heinrich Heine (sino daw?), Mirabeau (resort ba ‘yon?), H. G. Wells (ah eto kilala ko), and Leonardo Da Vinci (kalapit bahay ko yan).

It says here that she was called “a biographer of genius”. She was born in Poland. It claims that she was remarkably self-educated.  At 17 she entered the University of Lwow or University of Lviv and specialized in art history of the Italian Renaissance.

After her studies she got a chance for a job on the Berlin staff of Manchester Guardian. Years later, she was one of the first women political journalists to be accredited to the League of Nations in Geneva.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars!

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