“Dr. Oppenheimer describes Professor Einstein
as a man sadly lacking in ‘background’ (as the English say)
or ‘education’ (as one would say in America).
For a man supposedly lacking education I found
Professor Einstein fluent in German, English, French,
and Italian and with an excellent knowledge of Latin.
I am afraid that his Sanskrit was not too good.”
“Professor Einstein used to spend his evenings
in the company of his sister (when she was alive),
his daughter Margot and his secretary Miss Dukas,
reading aloud his favorite classics, from beginning to end.
It took many months to finish Don Quixote or
Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre.
People with 'background' might not spend
their evenings in such a way.”
– Philippe Halsmann,
printed in The New York Review of Books,
Volume 6, Number 9 · May 26, 1966