Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Silence, Solitude and Sadness

Author: David Poulson
Published on:July 31, 1998

After the revelation of his father's treachery Zamenhof confronted his parent and asked to be released from his promise. The bargain he had made with his father had not been kept and nothing now was going to prevent Zamenhof from resuming his work on his International Language. Zamenhof senior explained that he had only been trying to do what was best for his son but his words now lacked conviction. Even so, he somehow succeeded in exacting a further promise from his son. A cruel promise! How cruel, neither father nor son could have realised at the time.

Marcus Zamenhof insisted that his son tell no one about his vision of a second language for all mankind. Emphasising the difficulty that Zamenhof would encounter in building up a medical practice (and in this we have to admit that he was right) he insisted that if it became common knowledge that a newly-qualified doctor entertained such extraordinary ideas as this, he would never get any patients. Reluctantly Zamenhof promised that, although he would start his linguistic work all over again, he would not discuss it with a soul.

For the next six years Zamenhof devoted whatever spare time he had to re-creating his International Language, to the laborious task of re-writing all of the material which his father had destroyed. Keeping his word, he told no one about what he was doing and he paid a heavy price for his secrecy. Much later, in a letter, he gave some idea of the extent of his personal sacrifice.

"The concealment tormented me. Compelled as I was to carefully hide my thoughts and my plans, I hardly ever went anywhere. I never took part in any social occasions, and the best time of my life, the student years, passed for me very unhappily. Sometimes I tried to enjoy myself in the company of others but I felt as if I were a stranger. I felt a yearning and would go away again, sometimes to unburden my heart by writing poetry in the language I was working on."

Let's be clear about this: Zamenhof was not a withdrawn, reclusive type, happy with his own company. Although frail and physically unattractive, (see the photographs in the Family Album ), he had, from all accounts, a very attractive personality. At school he was extremely popular; at home his siblings loved him; at university in Moscow he mixed easily with the other students; and, in later life, he made many, many loyal and devoted friends. It is extraordinary to think that he would subject himself to such unhappiness for six years to keep his rash promise to his father. I think of my own social life between the ages of 22 and 28, of how I was blessed with the company of many friends of both sexes during that time, and I am sad to think of what Zamenhof missed. How he must have longed to share his ideals, his aspirations, his enthusiasm, with supportive friends!

A further cause of personal happiness at this time was the realisation that he could never be a doctor. His grief whenever a patient died was too painful to bear and he was forced to choose a profession more suited to his sensitive nature and to resume his studies. Afflicted with very poor eyesight himself, he decided to become what was known in the nineteenth century as an oculist, or what we would now call an ophthalmologist.

There are two sides to every coin. During those six, bitter years of silence Zamenhof continually improved his international language. He tested its capabilities to the limit. first by translating into it major literary works, such as poetry and parts of the Old Testament. Next he decided that he needed to do more than translate other people's works and, as mentioned above, he began himself to write original poetry in Esperanto. Because of his promise to keep his work secret, there was no opportunity for him to listen to misguided but sincere criticism, no incentive for him to rush into premature publication. Patiently and with inflexible purpose he would return home after dealing with his last patient and work well into the night until at last his language was ready to share with the rest of the world.

His decision to become an oculist also had a positive side and he began to practice a profession in which he achieved a modest degree of success and was much happier.

After completing a course in ophthalmology at Vienna, he returned to Warsaw in 1886. And met Klara.

His life was completely transformed!

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PRI RUSA LINGVO
PRI ANGLA LINGVO
PRI ALIAJ NACIAJ LINGVOJ
BATALO DE LINGVOJ
ARTIKOLOJ PRI ESPERANTO
"" PRI "KONKURENTOJ" DE ESPERANTO
LECIONOJ DE ESPERANTO
.KONSULTOJ DE E-INSTRUISTOJ
ESPERANTOLOGIO KAJ INTERLINGVISTIKO
TRADUKO DE MALSIMPLAJ FRAZOJ
TRADUKOJ DE DIVERSAJ VERKOJ
FRAZEOLOGIO DE ESPERANTO
, . VERKOJ DE ZAMENHOF KAJ PRI LI
, PROKSIMAJ MOVADOJ
ELSTARAJ PERSONOJ KAJ ESPERANTO
PRI ELSTARAJ ESPERANTISTOJ
. EL HISTORIO DE RUSIA E-MOVADO
KION ONI SKRIBAS PRI ESPERANTO
ESPERANTO EN LITERATURO
. KIAL E-MOVADO NE PROGRESAS
HUMURO PRI KAJ EN ESPERANTO
- ESPERANTO POR INFANOJ
DIVERSAJHOJ
INTERESAJHOJ
PERSONAJHOJ
/ DEMANDARO / RESPONDARO
UTILAJ LIGILOJ
IN ENGLISHPAGHOJ EN ANGLA LINGVO
PAGHOJ TUTE EN ESPERANTO
NIA BIBLIOTEKO


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