“I had hardly completed my course at the Real Gymnasium when I was prostrated with a dangerous illness or rather, a score of them, and my condition became so desperate that I was given up by physicians. During this period I was permitted to read constantly, obtaining books from the Public Library which had been neglected and entrusted to me for classification of the works and preparation of the catalogues. One day I was handed a few volumes of new literature unlike anything I had ever read before and so captivating as to make me utterly forget my hopeless state. They were the earlier works of Mark Twain and to them might have been due the miraculous recovery which followed. Twenty-five years later, when I met Mr. Clemens and we formed a friendship between us, I told him of the experience and was amazed to see that great man of laughter burst into tears.”
“My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla.” Originally appeared in the Electrical Experimenter Magazine, 1919.
“I have been leading a secluded life,” he said, “one of continuous, concentrated thought and deep meditation. Naturally enough, I have accumulated a great number of ideas. The question is whether my physical powers will be adequate to working them out and giving them to the world. It is as Goethe said:
Der Gott der mir im Busen wohnt
Kann tief mein Innerstes bewegen;
Der ueber allen meinen Kraeften tront,
Er kann nach aussen nichts bewegen.
[‘The God who dwells in my breast can deeply move my innermost;
The one above all my strengths,
He can move nothing outward.’]
He had not read Goethe for forty years, he said, and he quoted it from memory.
“Tesla Seeks to Send Power to Planets.”New York Times, July 11, 1931.